Office starts at 9 PM when rest of the world around you goes to sleep, you as web worker working from your home office prepare with tons of caffeine and boot up your system to say hello to client who have just landed in their offices in North America.
Most of the posts that I see on Freelancing blogs are focused to freelancers in US, UK or any other First world country. But as you say offshore freelancers or web workers who are working from countries like India, China, Philippines, Nepal, etc. have quiet different outlook of web working. We have a different working style and timing as compared to that of freelancers in US or UK. Working for a local client might be an option for most web workers in US or UK but for people working from third world countries have to look out for opportunities on Internet only to find any decent project.
I am a web worker working from Nepal a small country situated in between the giants like India and China. Though many of you may know about this country because of Mt. Everest and Buddha but hardly anyone of you might have an experience with a Nepali web worker, that’s because there are only few dozen people from this 25 million strong country working online as a web worker.
Dying infrastructure reduces productivity
Dying infrastructure, problems of network outage, system downtime, and various other issues which might be smaller or negligible for freelancers in a first world becomes a major issue for us and immediately reduces our productivity. Though web worker in third world country might pose technically sophisticated to their clients in west but the fact is that we have to cope each day with our dying infrastructure and slow internet speed to deliver projects on fixed deadline. A 1 MBPS internet connection might be an average speed of internet in US but over here 512 kbps internet speed is quiet a luxury.
Unstable economy and working conditions
Third world countries are not economically stable and technologically advance as the first world countries. We regularly have to face situations where we have to hide our actual condition from our clients to land up the project. Though technologies like VOIP, IM and email enables us to complete with our counter-parts in the western hemisphere but in fact we have to work harder than them to equate the amount they make per month.
Lack of online payment solutions
Online payments are another huge problem with web workers in third world country. Most of the people in this part of the world have no idea of Paypal and having a credit card is considered a luxury. Few countries like India, China, Singapore and Philippines have fully operational Paypal but countries like Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, etc have to find someone in other country where Paypal is accepted to help them accept payment from their clients.
Trust becomes a greater factor for client when it comes to giving out projects to offshore freelancers. Though I have never faced a situation as such but i do hear from people who are talented but can’t get a project landed simply because an overseas client does not trust him or her. Secondly, we cannot quote our clients the same amount as the freelancers in their local place because as an offshore freelancer we are expected to charge a lower rate.
There are few advantages of working from this part of the world though but the disadvantages and the hardships that people over here face outnumbers the advantages. One of the advantage is that we earn in dollars but spend in Rupees so that gives us a huge saving at the end of the day.