Solayman Haider is one of the pioneer freelancers in Bangladesh. He started his journey in 2011 when the word freelancing was a new thing among the locals. Though it was hard to find learning resources that time Solayman never stopped and did his best to acquire expertise in his working area.
Blogging was Solayman’s hobby. He used to create his own blogs using free templates. But he wanted his blogs to look its best, and that is the reason he started learning web development. After he started learning, he realized programming is his passion, and he should start his career with programming. In 2011 he got his first web development project. So, If we talk about web development, Solayman Haider started in 2011.
There are hundreds and thousands of occupations out there but Solayman has chosen freelancing! He says, ‘I like programming and I can code 18 hours a day. I realized that, if I need to do a job it must be programming and coding. When I started, I was a teenage boy. That time there weren’t lots of programming jobs available. And most importantly, no company would hire a 16 years old teenager to provide a computer programming job. So, the best option was freelancing. Being a freelancer, it was easy to find projects, I could work from home, and clients do not care who you are and how old you are. After working a few years, I found it better in benefits and more money than regular jobs. So, I did continue freelancing. Freelancing is freedom of work. I don’t have to rely on others and I can live on my own.
During that early period of freelancing it was too challenging for freelancers in Bangladesh. Solayman says, ‘Freelancers who started their career in 2011 or before, trust me the journey was a nightmare. Especially those who lived in small-town or villages like me, we had to struggle every second. We didn’t have good internet speed, we didn’t have easy resources to learn, and we didn’t have continuous electricity. I did lose lots of projects only for electricity blackouts. I couldn’t submit my projects before the deadlines. I had to use 2G mobile internet till 2014. To watch a 10 minutes video, I had to open the video and leave that few hours to buffer. Getting resources to learn was a challenge at that time. Comparing today’s situation those days were the days of hardship.
Behind every successful story there is an inspiration who encourages one to never give up. Solayman says. ‘She is my mother. Credits for all of my success goes to her. I belong to a very poor family. Freelancing is not any kind of traditional or well-known job in her knowledge. But my mother believed in me and bought me a computer. She had to borrow an amount of money from a relative for that computer. Every time I saw her face, I was motivated to work hard. My goal was to make her smile. Thanks to Allah, I am successful. Every time my mother smiles, I count that as an achievement. Without her inspirations I wouldn’t be able to come this far.
Like most of the freelancers in Bangladesh, Solayman also works in Upwork, since it is the biggest freelancing marketplace. But Solayman has spent nearly a decade in this arena. He has established good relations and connections with clients all around the world. He says, ‘Nowadays most of my projects come from non-marketplace connections like my old client’s referrals, Blogs, Stackoverflow etc.
Solayman considers client management as one of the most important components in being a freelancer. He says, ‘You must have to be professional. Your clients are charging for your work, so give them your best. Be responsive. Communication is everything in freelancing. Stay available when the client needs you or you will lose their project opportunities.’ Solayman also emphasizes on delivering projects on time. He says, ‘Delivery timing is very important. Deliver the project before the deadline to ensure client’s trust upon yourself. Stay connected with the client. Keep communication with the client even after the project is done. Answer the client’s questions even after the contract ends. It will help to get more projects from the client’.
Suggesting newbies Solayman says, ‘If you are not skilled enough, you can’t survive here. So, learn a lot before starting working as a freelancer and keep learning the whole time. There is no end to learning. So, keep learning new skills/technology every day’.
Solayman has emphasised the importance of learning skills and acquiring expertise in the freelancing marketplace the most. Nowadays there are a lot of opportunities a freelancer gets which Solayman never had. But that didn’t make him stop. He continued progressing. And now he is today’s Solayman Haider.