1. What led you to enter the waters of freelancing? What are the challenges at the beginning?
My beginnings in the freelance world happened during my studies. At least at the beginning, I didn’t plan this to be the long-term path that my career will take. But the great opportunity to earn, the opportunity to work on different types of projects. All while learning more and upgrading, made me continue working with clients from all over the world. Even after finishing my studies and during the time I already had full-time job.
In the beginning, there were many challenges I had to face. The one I consider biggest was finding the first job and getting the first positive review.
For me, it was a huge challenge also to manage all the administrative works and find the most appropriate way of being paid.
Fortunately, with the popularization of freelancing and remote work in our country, all these procedures are becoming much easier and simpler.
2. As a graduate architect, unlike others, you have managed to apply the branch for which you studied in freelance. What is the state of the freelance market for architects? Is this industry also experiencing increased demand and growth?
The current job market on freelance platforms offers great variety of jobs and projects for architects. On different platforms as Upwork, Fiver, Peopleperhour and Houzz you can come across all kinds of projects for architects. Starting from 3D visualization, interior design all to urban design and construction.
This wasn’t a case when I was starting to work online. But anyway I somehow managed to be a part of various projects. Even if there was relatively low demand for architectural services. This means I didn’t have the privilege of choosing and rejecting jobs depending on what I wanted to work at the moment, and what not.
The situation now is drastically changed. Not only for me, but for beginners on the freelance platforms as well. That is because the number of clients that are using those platforms to make their life and job easier, has significantly increased.
I think that once you have decided to work on a freelance platform, it is very important to approach with an open mind the application and job selection. At least at the beginning. And until the moment when you are ready to get the job that you want and you consider yourself ready and qualified.
3. What does an ordinary day look like as a freelancer? Can this way of earning be for everyone?
I have often heard that the best thing about being a freelancer is that you can work whenever you want. But I cannot say that I completely agree with that. Working for multiple clients at once, from different countries in different time zones brings with it a serious challenge in organizing the day, and at the same time the need to work not exactly when we want, but when we have to.
But on the other hand, the positive thing is that when you are a freelancer, you choose the number of projects and the amount of work you do. That actually gives you that advantage and space for better organization of your day and the possibility to slow down. And of course, when you are a freelancer you can work from where you want. Which also affects the way you organize your day and even more, affects your motivation for work.
I find that the job offer on freelance platforms is so diverse that this way of earning is absolutely for everyone. From any profession. Being fluent in English, having the basic computer skills, will and motivation are the only things enough for someone to start working online.
4. What are your tips for anyone looking to start a career as a freelancer?
The only advice I can give to someone starting a career as a freelancer is to be persistent and patient. I am aware of how difficult and demotivating the beginning can be. I know that many people give up on that first hurdle, to find the first client.
But I could not say any other recipe for success or a shortcut at the beginning. Other than being consistent in applying for projects, honest in approaching clients, and flexibility to their needs and requirements.
Monika is part of our network of freelance mentors that will guide future freelancers in the Republic of North Macedonia. Through her expertise freelancers will learn many crucial skills, effectively increasing their income and the freelance community. If you want to learn about architecture from Monika and become successful in freelancing, apply to become a mentee on the following LINK.
This activity is supported by the RECONOMY program.
RECONOMY is a regional inclusive and green economic development program of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), implemented by HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation in partnership with Impact Foundation and others in the Eastern Partnership and the Western Balkans.