Kashmir youth exploring gig economy
Post by Insha Latief Khan on Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Remote working with enhanced income and flexible working hours is turning many youths towards Gig economy. From past few years many people in Kashmir adopted the freelancing mode of earning and entering the gig workforce.
A gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations hire workers for short-term commitments instead of full-time jobs. The word Gig is a slang word for a job that lasts a specified period of time.
Experts said that the lockdown imposed by Covid 19 pandemic, led the companies to cut down the staff, and this moved people towards freelancing. Freelancing or getting hired for a temporary basis is not restricted to any age criteria, rather people irrespective of their age can make their careers in this field.
Musaib Mir from Kanipora, Nowgam has been freelancing for one and a half years and has 4-5 international clients. His job as a part-time freelancer is a graphic designer and application developer.
He was familiar with graphic designing before as well but in 2020, he seriously started learning about graphic designing from YouTube tutorials and started perusing courses online.
He said that he was good at application development and his paid mobile application for wallpapers, Liquify, is garnering good response from people. In the future, he is coming up with more applications.
The work he does continuously gets uploaded on his social media handles which helps him in garnering clients.
He said, “Getting clients is not easy but I make use of social media to showcase my work. I have been very active on twitter and this has helped me in getting clients. Social media can be a very powerful tool if used in a productive manner.”
He believes that the industry of freelancers has been thriving but still many youth are unaware of this. For a beginner, he said that a person should choose a niche and possess a skill set related to the field.
“There are online tools available today to learn various skills. The field has a lot of opportunities to offer so one should have a clear idea about what they want to do and build the skillset accordingly. One can learn 3D animations, motion graphics and web developing etc.,” he said.
He further said that his next target will be Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and he is learning its know-how. He said that many of his friends are into the field of freelancing and more are coming. One of his friends works as a digital marketer and another is a business consultant.
“Unlike conventional jobs, one doesn’t have to provide the certification in order to be hired. The job demands a skill set rather than degrees and grades. There is no age to retire here. People retire from their jobs and switch to freelancing. Students study and simultaneously freelance,” he said.
After pursuing a master’s degree in engineering, Peerzadi Humaira Sadiq explored the field of freelancing on the suggestion of her friend. Having no idea of what to do and where to start from, she researched freelance graphic designing online and came to know about one of the top graphic designers of Srinagar on LinkedIn. She attended online classes and soon got her first project.
“I created a portfolio online that helped me in gaining leads. A Delhi based company approached me for graphic designing and I got selected in the interview. Meanwhile, I also learnt printing and started my own printing business. Currently, my small business of printing products is going well,” she said.
Currently, she is working with a Californian company as a part time graphic designer. She likes the flexibility that her job offers.
“Freelancers work from anywhere. It all requires a laptop, an internet connection and skillset. It’s not a mundane 9-6 job. Here a worker decides his or her own working hours. You can take projects which go with your skillset. If your skill sets are not suitable with the project, you can simply turn down the project,” she added.
She further said that a person with multiple skills can get more opportunities. “A person versatile in content writing and has good graphic designing skills, can get both opportunities and earn more. The more skills you learn, the more opportunities it can offer.”
She has worked with a number of reputed local organizations and based on her number of skills, in future, she wants to start something on her own.
From Kulgam, Rubia having Masters in Education once checked YouTube to look for the sources to earn online and suddenly she came across the concept of freelancing. Earlier, she thought it must be fake but considered giving it a try.
The vast field of graphic designing attracted her attention and she started making her presence on the international platforms to hit the international clients.
“This field provides lots of opportunities if you are interested, consistent and patient. I worked hard and got the results instantly which boosted me. To learn the basics of a skill, it takes three months if you are consistent,” she said.
Belonging to a remote village of the district, she said that her friends and relatives are not acquainted with the booming field of freelancing.
She believes that for a freelancer, communication skills are important in negotiating with international clients. “One has to deal with international clients and most of the freelancers find negotiating with a foreign client difficult which makes them miss opportunities,” she added.
Apart from graphic designing, she is learning web designing and animation. She believes that to thrive in the field, one has to work harder to polish the skills and learn new skills to get more work.
She said the field is very dynamic and it’s important for a freelancer to stay updated with the modern trends.
Rubaitul Azad has been in the field from almost a decade and is one of the top web designers of Kashmir. He said that the interested youth are getting good opportunities but still many are unaware of the job. “For this, I am trying to create awareness by holding sessions and online classes. People who are starting careers in the gig economy have paved the way for themselves to reach a higher wavelength. It is important to be prepared for the fact that with every opportunity comes with an equal number of obstacles and difficult things,” he said.
He further said that it empowers specially abled people and those who live in rural areas. “The gig economy in the coming years will dominate the world. Making a good and friendly reputation among clients is the key to be successful in this field,” he said.