My freelancing adventure came naturally through after I finished university and I did not like at all to become a teacher, I did not find a proper translation job, I had more than one of dilettante web designing experience and I went mad about web designing. Here I am now, not even thinking of doing anything else than freelance web designing. I have gone through several web design project by now and during this time I have had more than a couple of nightmares that has made my life as a freelancer more difficult that it really is.
First Nightmare: By this time I had designed several website at the local market and I had been payed in cash. I didn’t find jobs enough to satisfy my needs for money and work; an website in not yet mandatory for being an successful business in my country. I decided to work abroad and I fond it thrilling. I applied. I was accepted. My fist job was a XHTML/CSS layout fix and we agreed upon that I would be payed $20 for that. It took me about two hours to finish that and I was happy to be payed for that for being the firs job abroad.
I finished the job and I sent to my contractor my PayPal account email. And off course I received the money. No, I am joking, I didn’t and I haven’t yet. No, I was not scammed, it was PayPal, it did not provide money receiving service to Albania, my country. This is not the worst news, the worst is the fact that I did not grasp this immediately, but about 1 month later. During this month, I called PayPal and waited in the line for 10 minutes after I could speak the the first human talking-machine of whom I could not understand a word. Then they made me speak with a more moderate English speaking person. They tried to help me a lot and pissed me off a lot too as they told me to click on links and buttons on my PayPal account which did not exist at all there.
Every time I made a change into my Paypal account, I asked my Australian contractor to make a try to send me the $20. More was I interested to make sure that my PayPal account worked, than I was interested in the money itself. And every time he tried, and I thank him a lot for that, he could not do it. This situation went on until one day when I decided to upgrade to Business package at PayPal. I did it and, as always, I asked my contractor to make another try. He did and copy-pasted to me the following code: “Currently PayPal accounts in Albania are only able to send payments. This recipient is not eligible to receive funds.” I sent another email to PayPal with the above statement in it and at last they said to me that I could not receive money in Albania with PayPal. This as a really painful relief for me.
Second Nightmare: During the time I had been fighting to make PayPal work, I was considering other payment methods rather than bank transfer, as it was too slow and to expensive comparing to PayPal. I made several searches and concluded that I would be using MoneyBookers. I registered even there and I really liked the way it worked, but I had to receive a snail mail letter with a code in it in order to fully activate my account. This was a bad news for me as my house has no address, I mean, it is somewhere, but it has no official location because this is how my country is, full of new buildings everywhere and which have no address because they are built privately without having an legal permission in advance.
Being it this situation, I decided to receive the letter at my university’s address where I have received several letters during my studding there. They said that the letter will be arriving within 2-3 days and this was fear enough for me. But the other bad news is that I am now in the second month of waiting and no letter has yet arrived, this is at least what my fellow students say to me, as they check if it has arrived or not regularly. I am still hoping it is on its way …
Third Nightmare: People in my think I am jobless. Well, I keep saying them I do web design, but they keep asking “Who do you work for?” or “Who is your employer?“. They think that having a jobs means being employed by someone or having a shop and stay all day inside it, no matter what you earn. This has been a problem even with my parents, as they expecting me to have a regular job after graduating, but when they saw I earned something, they realized that I was serious about it. Others still do not grasp what I do as the culture of freelancing is completely unknown in Albania, especially the web freelancing because internet is not that widespread yet.
These are my obstacles in my freelance career that many of you do not have or even imagine to have. Let’s say I am a little less fortunate at this point. This was my story, thanks you for reading it.
PS: Please keep in mind that I suffered these problems at the time I began freelancing in web desing and development abroad. Right now I have overcomed most of these problems and things are going fine. 🙂