The evolving job landscape in India hints a growing orientation towards creative, design and skill based jobs over repetitive, rule based employment opportunities.
This is good news for creative professionals and a call to arms for those employed in core sectors.
The forces responsible for bringing such a transition include globalization, demographic changes, internet and adoption of exponential technologies by Indian industries.
According to a study on ‘Future of Jobs In India’ – a 2022 perspective, undertaken by FICCI and NASSCOM with EY, the workforce mix in the next 5 years would showcase the following scenario:
technology aggregation and e-commerce segments have brought about wide array of opportunities for creative professionals, people in unorganized sector, merchants and artisans respectively.
The Indian government too has been working tirelessly to roll out policies and schemes to support small businesses in India.
If you too are a creative professional who wishes to grab a business opportunity in India, here’s a step by step guide on succeeding in business in India.
1. Your Skills Must Match The Upcoming Demand
India stands third behind US and UK in demand for online work. With the coming of gig economy, job opportunities in freelancing, technology aggregation and e-commerce have been on the rise.
This has kindled newer job roles across sectors such as IT, Business Process Management, Automotive, Retail, Textiles and Apparel and Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI).
These job roles are that of data architects, digital marketers, machine learning specialists, e-textiles specialist, blockchain architects, web and app developers etc.
According to the EY report mentioned above, India has a 24% share of the online labor market .
Hence, if you are a creative professional having specialized skill sets and looking out for opportunities in the aforementioned segments, you’re bound to have an edge over your peers given the changing forces and the ensuing job dynamics.
2. Connect With the Right People
From a photographer to content creator, every creative professional faces a challenge in finding a business opportunity.
Since most of them are on the go workers who take contracts independently, the journey gets all the more tough.
If you are one of them, you probably know how heavily have you been relying on your personal contacts for finding lucrative work opportunities.
Needless to say, a strong and a well maintained professional network would play a crucial role in making you learn about new opportunities, exchanging ideas and reaching out to qualified business professionals for work.
Business networking in India can be undertaken via a host of business associations, groups and clubs that prove really valuable in availing lucrative work opportunities.
BNI holds top position amongst all the local business networks in India. Its an international referral network that allows one to connect with like minded professionals on an annual membership fee.
Meetup Business Networking is another referral networking platform in India providing opportunities to network.
Few others include Women Entrepreneurs India, Her Entrepreneurial Network, Association Of Engineers India, SME Business Club, India Entrepreneurs Club and more.
Lastly, social networking platforms like Linkedin and Facebook too give you the opportunity to connect and be a part of relevant groups in India for your business.
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3. Register On Credible Online Platforms For Business Opportunities
Given the changing work environment, more and more companies in India are looking out for outsourcing work to independent creative professionals to meet their business needs.
Such growing demand has lead to the genesis of online platforms where businesses are hiring professionals for projects that do not require permanent employment. Moreover, as skilled professionals, you can find work easily from any part of the world and get paid.
Whether you are a blockchain specialist or photographer looking out for work, all you have to do is register with these authoritative platforms and get going. These allow you to showcase a detailed work portfolio, chat with employers for getting clarity on scope of work for the project in question.
All this comes against a percentage of commission that you are bound to share with these platforms as a charge for getting business.
You can register with popular Indian platforms like Truelancer, TouchTalent, WorknHire, YouthForWork, Freelance India and High Freelancer for taking independent contracts.
While some of their well known international counterparts include Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, Guru, College Recruiter, CloudPeeps etc.
4. Raise Funds Via Credible Channels
Biggest reason why your business idea fails is its inability to solve a market problem. But if a cursory market research for your skill set authenticates that your idea is not one of them, the second major reason of your failure could be insufficiency of funds to support your business idea.
Hence, figuring out ways of getting sufficient funds according to the nature and type of business is crucial for your idea to stay and do big.
Self funding is a great way to fund your business as pitching to an investor for funds without a proven business idea gets challenging.
If self funding isn’t a choice, crowdfunding is one of the contemporary ways to meet fund needs by raising small amounts of money via large pool of people on the internet.
Crowdfunding India websites like Wishberry, Ketto, Catapooolt, Bitgiving, Milaap, Impact Guru, CrowdEra and FuelADream will help you meet your initial fund needs.
You can also raise money through world crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, CrowdRise, CrowdFunder, RocketHub, GoFundMe etc to support your business idea.
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5. Work In Coworking Spaces
Privileges such as lower costs, excellent infrastructure and networking opportunities offered by coworking places in India is helping creative professionals to collaborate and grow their businesses to maximum potential.
These co-working spaces let you save on huge lease rentals, offer excellent infrastructure, flexible leasing options and provide amazing opportunities to network with people from diverse business backgrounds around you.
With global players like WeWork beginning to make an entry in the Indian market, coworking spaces in India are majorly owned by domestic players.
Major coworking spaces in india include Cowork, BHive, AwFis, Regus, 9 SpringBoard, Ikeva, Mumbai Coworking, IShareSpace etc.
6. Use Tools To Automate Routine Operations
Converting your passion into business is no doubt exciting, but it demands managing wide array of tasks all by yourself or your small team.
With companies increasingly associating with independent professionals to meet their business demands in India, you as a creative professional need to be really efficient to avoid mismanagement, delays and wastage of time on operational tasks.
There are a host of tools that can make tasks like bookkeeping, accounting, invoicing, project management, communication etc extremely easy and make you super productive.
Since you’ve come across our blog, you know that Quickbooks is an online accounting software for small businesses that offers features like cloud accounting, online banking, invoicing, accounting reports, cash flow management, time tracking to help your small business grow.
You can avail a 30 day free trial to understand how seamlessly you can manage your accounts and invoicing needs.
To manage your projects efficiently and effectively, you can use collaboration tools like Asana, Trello and Basecamp.
Other tasks such as online communication can be done effectively through powerful platforms like Yammer and Slack.
7. Know Your Taxes
According to income tax laws in India, any income earned by showcasing your intellectual or manual skills is income from a profession and is taxable as ‘Profits or Gains From Business or Profession’.
As a creative professional working in India, you need to know how to estimate your gross total income or total taxable income and the amount of tax.
In India, Taxable Income is calculated as the sum of Income from :
- House Property
- Business and Profession
- Capital Gains
- Other Sources
There are certain deductions that you can claim from your total income that would bring down your taxable income and hence reduce your tax outgo.
After writing off expenses such as office furniture, payment gateway expenses, electricity charges etc. directly incurred for business purposes and deductions from gross taxable income, what you are left with is net taxable income.
Income Tax rate applicable on this Net Taxable Income to calculate tax liability will depend on the tax slab in which you happen to fall.
Apart from Income Tax, 18% GST would be applied on the services rendered by you as a creative professional, which is further claimed from the clients. To know about GST registration, returns, invoices etc. in detail, read our complete guide on GST Basics.
8. Make Virtual Payroll Easy
Being a creative professional, if you are rendering services or selling goods to clients overseas or within India via online platforms, there are a host of payment solutions that can make your virtual payrolls seamless.
Such payment gateways are highly convenient solutions to invoice your clients sitting in any part of the world. Additionally, these provide for faster payment processing, are extremely secured and trusted sources for online transactions.
Paypal is the leading International payment gateway that allows you to accept payments conveniently both within as well as outside India.
Other international alternatives to Paypal include Payoneer, Transferwise, Stripe and Skrill.
However, there are a few Indian payment gateways like CCAvenue, PayUBiz and PayUMoney, EBS and InstaMojo that have taken the lead in providing secured payment solutions to businesses in India.
9. Charge As A Professional And Not As A Freelancer
It is often observed in India that only a handful of Independent professionals charge a fixed price.
Majority of these professionals either customize their charges based on the project or fix the price taking the type of client into consideration. Still others wait for the clients to send the quote and negotiate accordingly.
Given this scenario, it is one challenging task to fix the project price as there are no set rules or defined models as such, especially in India, where creative professionals are coming and flourishing rapidly.
As a result, they end up charging much less than what they deserve, just to grab a project.
While fixing the price for the project, you must take into account business development expenses, uncertainty attached to working independently and absence of benefits provided by the company.
Do not forget that companies save on expenses like gratuity, PF, training and development etc. As a result, they are even ready to shell out more to avail your services against salaried employees.
Lastly, the most important aspect to keep in mind is choosing a right payment method for yourself.
Since companies generally prefer certainty in pricing projects for independent professionals, they hire them either on a monthly retainer basis, or charge a lump sum for the services rendered. Hence avoid drawing payments on the basis of hourly or daily payment methods.