“Freelancing suits me particularly well because I have more control and flexibility”
Hello! My name is Aran and I am a freelancer from Singapore! I take on mostly market research and data entry jobs on Workshift for Japanese companies wanting to know about doing business in Singapore. Currently I am working in a French café and boulangerie in a suburban neighbourhood within Singapore. There is quite a sizeable expatriate community in this neighbourhood, and most of them are from France.
Wall art in front of a cafe
-- Can you describe what an average work day for you is like?
Every morning when I go to work, I open the cafe with the help of another staff. The two of us rush to get the breads and pastries ready on display, prepare the coffee machines, and make sure the floor is clean and shiny before opening time. Most of the time I’m the barista on duty, so I would be making all sorts of drinks for the customers. It is fun because after one year of doing lattes and such, I can finally start to see much improvement in my coffee and latte art skills! I would be embarrassed if a customer praises my coffee, but deep down I am proud of it. After all, it’s always nice to make someone’s day!
I’m a barista at a cafe
- What kinds of hobbies do you have?
I am very passionate about music! I didn’t come from a musical family, nor did I receive any formal education, but I took it upon myself anyway to learn how to play the drums. When I was young I thought it was cool so I bought a pair of drumsticks to play with, even if it’s just “air-drumming”. I didn’t get a chance to test out my skills on a real drum set after all that “practice” until I was invited by a friend to join him for a jamming session. Needless to say I was impressed at myself for being able to play without actually joining any lessons. After that, I also started learning violin, piano, and now, guitar.
Enchanted with guitar music
-- How about your social life?
When I’m not freelancing or working a full-time job, sometimes I will hang out with my friends for dinner and drinks, or a few rounds of karaoke. Sometimes maybe even both! Other than that I will mostly take the time to rest up as I always have a hectic schedule, juggling between jobs and play.
Having a beer with friends
-- What draws you to do freelance work?
I think freelancing suits me particularly well because I have more control and flexibility when it comes to doing a particular job, which I do not have when working in a conventional organization. Since it is usually a direct relationship between the freelancer and the client, I feel that it is much easier and much more efficient to provide continuous feedback to one another. I can start working on the project again without waiting for the message to be passed down through so many people. Also, I have more leeway in deciding my schedule, as it is not fixed. I am not subjected to sit in an office just to finish my work, as I can do it whenever I have time, as long as I have a laptop with me wherever I go. This means that I can have more time to catch up with friends, and do more of the things that I like, such as playing music!
My favourite place to work
-- How did you hear about Workshift?
I found Workshift as I was going through my Facebook feed. Seeing that I liked a lot of things about Japan and Japanese culture, as well as articles about start-ups and business, Facebook tried to recommend to me something relevant that I might be interested in. Indeed, discovering Workshift made me happy because I’ve always liked working with the Japanese and also to continue to do freelancing more. I’ve dabbled doing freelance work in the past, mostly during my days back in school. I always thought that there were other more experienced freelancers who are much better than me at web design, developing dynamic web applications, and doing all manner of cool stuff. Therefore I wasn’t so sure that I would ever get a gig as a professional freelancer. However, I was proven wrong when I decided to apply for a market research job. The job was brought to my attention by an email from Workshift as they were looking for surveyors in Singapore.
Guitar practice during my idle time
-- What types of freelance jobs do you like?
One thing I like to do most is market research for companies and brands, as I would pretend that I am a spy on a mission to collect intelligence data. Before setting out on my own on Workshift, I used to help friends who were doing start-ups or starting an e-commerce business. Basically I will do some research on the competition for them so that they know how and why their products or services are different from the rest, and also suggest some things that they could do to stand out.
Convention Centre in Singapore harbour
-- What parts of Japanese culture appeal to you?
I am also interested in Japanese culture and washoku(和食), as I have experience working for Japanese F&B establishments in Singapore, which grew my interest in the cuisine as well as my taste for sake. Along the way, I have made some Japanese friends from here as well as from Japan, and thus my connection to Japan grows even stronger. Being on Workshift gives me the chance to combine both that love for Japan as well as doing market research by providing ample opportunities to take on freelance jobs, often by Japanese companies looking to know more about Singapore and the opportunities that it presents.
- What aspects of Workshift do you like?
I feel Workshift Solutions is not just the company name, but it really feels like a solution to me, in terms of solving the problem of how to put my idle time to good use, when I’m not working or having fun. It offers a simple platform to bid for jobs and submit your proposals to the client, and an escrow service so that both parties can rest assured that the money is safe. I also like how Workshift brings to my attention the jobs that suit me well through their emails. It is a nice touch as it helps to reduce time in browsing for jobs that you could do.
- Do you have any advice for new freelancers?
Since I am also quite new to the life of a freelancer, I cannot claim to give much good advice. I can however share with you some lessons that I’ve learnt so far. For example, even if you can set your own time and day to work, you’re still not the boss. If a client wants something to be done quickly by a certain date, then that means you have to exercise some flexibility on your part in order to accomplish that. Or you can find another client and another job. Sometimes, however, you don’t really have much of a choice as other jobs are either taken up or are hard to come by. One way for me to deal with that is to expand my skillset so I can do more than just one type of work, which is why I’m learning Python as I think its applications can prove to be useful. I think a good freelancer is someone who loves to take on challenges and tries very hard to solve the problems that were given.