Nigeria is currently facing an unemployment crisis, with the national unemployment rate hovering around 27% according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. This is a significant challenge for the country’s young and growing population, many of whom are struggling to find stable and well-paying jobs. However, there may be a solution to this crisis in the form of freelancing.
But what is freelancing, and how can it be a solution to the unemployment crisis in Nigeria? Freelancing is a work arrangement in which individuals offer their services on a project-by-project basis, rather than being permanently employed by a company. This can take many forms, including writing, graphic design, web development, marketing, and many other skilled trades.
One of the key benefits of freelancing for unemployed individuals in Nigeria is the flexibility and control it offers over one’s work schedule. Freelancers are their own boss, and they have the ability to choose the projects they work on and the hours they work. This can be especially attractive for those who may have other commitments, such as caring for children or elderly family members.
Freelancers also have the ability to work from anywhere with an internet connection, which can be especially valuable in a country like Nigeria where access to transportation and physical workspace can be limited. This can also open up opportunities for those who live in rural or remote areas, who may not have access to the same job opportunities as those in urban centers.
In terms of earnings, freelancers may have the potential to earn more than they would in traditional employment. This is because freelancers are able to set their own rates and negotiate with clients directly, rather than being limited by a fixed salary. Of course, this does not mean that freelancers will automatically earn more than those in traditional employment, as it depends on a variety of factors such as the demand for their skills and their ability to market themselves effectively.
But the potential for freelancers to earn more is not the only way in which freelancing can create employment opportunities in Nigeria. There are a number of freelancing platforms and marketplaces, such as Upwork and Freelancer.com, which connect freelancers with clients from around the world. These platforms allow freelancers to find work in a variety of industries and fields, and they provide a way for clients to outsource work to talented professionals at a lower cost than hiring a full-time employee.
The demand for online services and remote work is also on the rise globally, and this trend is likely to continue as the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards digital work. This creates even more opportunities for freelancers in Nigeria to find work and earn an income.
Furthermore, freelancers who are successful in their careers may eventually decide to start their own businesses and hire others to work for them. This can help to create employment opportunities for others, and it can contribute to the growth of Nigeria’s economy.
Some the successful freelancers that come to mind are:
Olumide is a freelance writer and editor who has been working in the industry for over five years. After completing a degree in English literature, Olumide struggled to find a traditional job in the field. However, she discovered freelancing as a way to use her skills and earn an income. Through hard work and persistence, Olumide has built a successful career as a freelancer, working with clients from all over the world and earning a higher income than she would have in a traditional job.
Chika is also a freelance web developer who started his career as a hobby while working a full-time job in a different field. Eventually, Chika’s skills and reputation as a freelancer grew to the point where he was able to leave his full-time job and focus on his freelancing career full-time. Today, Chika runs a successful business, providing web development services to clients in Nigeria and abroad.
Another person is Amina who is a graphic designer who has always been passionate about art and design. After completing a degree in graphic design, Amina struggled to find a job in the field. However, she discovered freelancing as a way to use her skills and earn an income. Through networking and marketing her services, Amina has built a successful career as a freelancer, working with clients from a variety of industries and earning a good living.
Of course, starting a freelancing career in Nigeria is not without its challenges. One major barrier is limited access to education and training in freelancing skills. Many individuals in Nigeria may not have the opportunity to learn the skills and techniques needed to succeed as a freelancer, whether due to a lack of resources or a lack of awareness about the potential of freelancing as a career path.
Another challenge is limited access to reliable internet and technology infrastructure. In order to succeed as a freelancer, it is essential to have a stable and fast internet connection, as well as access to the tools and software needed to complete projects. However, internet access is not always reliable or affordable in Nigeria, which can make it difficult for freelancers to consistently deliver high-quality work to their clients.
Additionally, freelancers in Nigeria may face barriers when it comes to accessing payment platforms and financial services. Many freelancers rely on online payment systems such as PayPal or Stripe to receive payments from clients, but these platforms may not be available or may not be easily accessible in Nigeria. This can create difficulties for freelancers when it comes to receiving payment for their work and managing their finances.
Despite these challenges, freelancing represents a real and viable solution to the unemployment crisis in Nigeria. By investing in freelancing education and infrastructure development, the government and private sector can help to create more opportunities for individuals to find work and earn an income.
Freelancing can provide flexibility, control, and the potential for higher earnings for unemployed individuals in Nigeria. It can also create employment opportunities through freelancing platforms and marketplaces, as well as through the growth of small businesses. While there are challenges to starting a freelancing career in Nigeria, with the right support and investment, freelancing can be a powerful tool to combat unemployment and drive economic growth in the country.
Some of the practical ways government and private organizations can solve these problems are:
- Invest in freelancing education and training: One of the major barriers to starting a freelancing career in Nigeria mentioned above is limited access to education and training in freelancing skills. To address this issue, the government and private organizations can invest in initiatives that provide education and training to aspiring freelancers. This could include the development of online courses, workshops, and mentorship programs that teach freelancers the skills and techniques they need to succeed in the industry.
- Improve internet and technology infrastructure: Reliable internet and technology infrastructure is essential for freelancers to be able to complete their work and communicate with clients. However, access to stable and fast internet is not always available in Nigeria. To address this issue, the government and private organizations can invest in infrastructure development, such as the expansion of broadband networks and the installation of Wi-Fi hotspots in underserved areas.
- Increase access to payment platforms and financial services: Another challenge for freelancers in Nigeria is access to payment platforms and financial services. Many freelancers rely on online payment systems such as PayPal or Stripe to receive payments from clients, but these platforms may not be available or may not be easily accessible in Nigeria. To address this issue, the government and private organizations can work to increase access to payment platforms and financial services, such as by partnering with banks and other financial institutions to offer services specifically tailored to freelancers.
- Create a supportive legal framework for freelancers: Freelancers in Nigeria may also face challenges when it comes to legal issues, such as contracts, taxes, and intellectual property rights. To address these issues, the government and private organizations can work to create a supportive legal framework for freelancers. This could include the development of standardized contracts, the implementation of tax policies that take into account the unique needs of freelancers, and the enforcement of intellectual property rights.
- Promote the benefits of freelancing to the broader public: In order to create a more supportive environment for freelancers in Nigeria, it is important to raise awareness about the benefits of freelancing as a career path. The government and private organizations can play a role in this by promoting the benefits of freelancing to the broader public, such as through marketing campaigns, educational initiatives, and networking events. This can help to increase understanding and acceptance of freelancers in Nigeria, and it can encourage more individuals to consider freelancing as a viable career option.
6.Create workspace/workstation options for freelancers: Freelancers in Nigeria may face challenges when it comes to finding a suitable and comfortable place to work. Many may not have access to a dedicated home office, or they may prefer to work in a more professional setting. To address this issue, the government and private organizations can work to create workspace and workstation options for freelancers. This could include the development of coworking spaces, shared office spaces, or other facilities that provide a comfortable and professional environment for freelancers to work.
By creating workspace and workstation options for freelancers, the government and private organizations can help to address the challenge of finding a suitable place to work, and it can create a more supportive and enabling environment for freelancers in Nigeria.
This article is written by Oke Adesoji Damilare,
Founder, Gladtech Technologies.
Gladtech Technologies is a website design and development agency located in Nigeria that serves clients worldwide. Our target audience includes freelancers, small business owners, and coaches with limited budgets. We believe that no one should be denied the benefits of having a website in the digital age due to financial constraints.
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