I financed my dreams by freelancing

2 months ago   •   10 min read

By Zekeriya Mulbay
Table of contents

Hello, I'm Furkan, and I was born in Istanbul in 1995. I received my degree from the sociology department of Marmara University. I've been a freelancer and business owner for my whole professional life; I've never held a regular job.

However, I was a freelancer/entrepreneur who worked in a variety of industries, set up and maintained e-commerce sites, worked as a freelance webmaster, and learned how to use software without receiving any formal corporate training. Since my marriage in 2016, I have had two sons ( in 2021.)


Starting e-commerce

Actually, my entire tale started when I fell in love with Sevin during my first year of college. She is now my wife. Sevin and I only dated for ten days before he proposed to me, so we had to start working to save money for the wedding.

Since it was Sevin's final year of school, I had to continue and complete it, thus this money-making adventure could not have taken the shape of me finding a job and working in such a place. We moved, thought, and made the decision to start an online store at that time. Because we could set our own hours and weren't physically required to be anywhere, even if the location wasn't ideal.

But we had a pretty significant flaw here, we did not have money!


I didn't not know but I can do

People are most creative in situations where they feel truly powerless or unsolvable, and my entire freelance career began with this feeling of helplessness and unsolvability. It was then conceivable to establish a site - at least for us - at a significant cost because there were times when e-commerce sites took off, everyone wanted to get into it, and there weren't enough individuals or companies to finance it.

I added, "I'll fix this!" The motto "I don't know, but I can," which we have used for a very long time and still do today, must have been employed for the first time at this point.

I was researching and attempting to understand for approximately three months, day and night, at school, at home, and in the cafe. Due to the fact that there was not nearly as much Turkish content available at the time as there is now, and because my job would be at least three to four times harder if I did not know English, this is one of the most significant contributions that English has made to my life.

One day, as the day drew to a close, the data I had begun to accumulate, and it seemed as though a button had been pressed, I began to mentally picture every system. We made our site ready in.

We prepared our site in the fastest way, while my wife was producing the products from which we bought the raw materials and was managing our Instagram account.

Everything was going really well as we formed our business and began conducting online business. I asked myself, "Why don't I do this job to others?" as I was motivated by the fact that this task is going well and that a system I had created is working. As soon as I started looking into how to do this, I discovered numerous freelancing sites.


How did I start freelancing?

I generated my advertising after logging in to the most well-known platform in Turkey, Bionluk. Along with creating e-commerce websites, I also began developing corporate websites. I even had a small-scale digital enterprise at the time; it was a content website, and creating material was harder than setting up a system. Even though it was very good for me at the time, I worked extremely hard for extremely low pay when I was going through all of these things. Things started to come in over a thousand dollars.

In these works, my primary concern was not money. At the time, e-commerce was how we made the majority of our income, and it was how we supported ourselves. Naturally, without skipping a beat, I should point out that getting married was our primary goal when we started all of this business, and our mission was successful. Six months after starting RengaLux, I got married Sevin.

When I was working as a freelancer during this time, I was constantly learning something new. It could have been a technical issue, a communication issue with the consumer, or a marketing-related issue.

On the other hand, because we were doing something really unusual at the time, the folks around me started to say things. In the past, vocations that are now commonplace in society, such as working from home or as a freelancer, were not accepted.

However, the way we lived represented uncharted territory for humans. Over time, as the people around us became more aware of what we were doing and desired to try it for themselves, this naturally flowed back to me in the form of freelance work.


Network

Since then, networking has been my main area of concentration as I have begun to realize how crucial the network issue is. If there is no network to present your outstanding work, you might have to work for very little money if you haven't honed your communication abilities to explain it. This is true even if you create excellent work.

Of course, it took me a long to grasp this; I was only 21 at the time, and I was spending my days attempting to understand the rules of a new generation's working style while also learning new things every day and every night in a completely new subject. By the way, I would like to add that the lack of illustrative examples like Zekeriya's work at the time results in things being detected later.


Evolve into an agency

This pattern of fresh experiences was sustained during the years 2016–2017. I stopped working on my individual freelancer account and began working on an agency account.

Looking back now, I believe that I made a slight error because, as a freelancer, your name should always be highlighted. Instead, I chose to draw attention to the SvN Design brand. Maybe the reason behind this was a desire to avoid the stage. By attempting to become an agency, you take on a different role, put yourself in the background, and experience psychological ease.

I would just carry on working under my own name if it were today. In terms of long-term outcomes, I'm certain it will be more beneficial.


The importance of versatility

Our e-commerce company grew throughout 2017 and 2018, and we saw a daily increase in orders. Even trying to catch up before some important days proved impossible. I was required to work in the SEO, Google Ads, and Facebook Ads sectors throughout this time.

Due to the fact that my wife could hardly keep up with the pace of the orders, I was forced to handle the majority of the work, including creating ads and editing videos. My adaptability was further developed throughout this time, and the experiences I had made it simpler for me to know what a consumer wants or expects while I'm speaking with them.

In the same time frame, my brother Erkam and I opened an online book store. For a while, we made a pretty excellent profit, but we eventually decided that this business needed far more cash than the jewellery/accessory industry and turned a profit.


I am an experienced freelancer now

My culture of freelancing was a little more established in 2017. I established it as a rule that, for jobs, I took outside the platform, I would get paid in two installments: half at the start of the job and the rest after it was finished. I never felt uncomfortable asking for money while working in my workplace since I understood how significant and crucial my job was.

I wasn't particularly good at self-promotion at the time; I just saw it as a method to make ends meet. But this was a grave error. Being a freelancer essentially came down to how effective you were at marketing yourself, thus it was important to aggressively use all social media channels to demonstrate to those around you how proficient you were in this area.

Even though a close friend of mine questioned, "What was your job?" I didn't begin doing this until the end of 2018. I felt stunned. Because the issue was pretty serious if even my closest pals didn't understand what I was doing.

I revamped my website, turned my work into a portfolio, and entirely concentrated all of my social media accounts—many of which I didn't use—on this in order to solve this issue. It was a bit awkward at first. Making such posts on social media and writing about work at first seemed a little weird, but as time went on and I saw the findings of these studies, I knew I was on the correct course.


Financial problems

In terms of e-commerce, 2018 experienced both its peak and its trough. We were unknowingly falling in RengaLux, where we acquired the raw materials in Dollars, made the product, and sold it using Turkish lira, as a result of the abrupt changes in the dollar exchange rate.

Even though turnover generates the majority of our sales, we have reached a stage where we are unable to pay for the substantial cost rise. Through this process, I was able to grasp the significance of earning this money effectively and sustainably, as opposed to just for the sake of it.

In addition, I have gained a lot of financial experience such as why it is important to earn with foreign currency and how to protect myself from the negativities that may be experienced in Turkey.


Understanding the importance of software

I made sure that the only task I performed in this erratic process that I thought contributed value was software. I concentrated on honing my web design skills while working as a freelancer, which I have already done.

Kemal and I launched a project at this time to create a social media platform specifically for animals. Using pre-written scripts, we created Patileme.

We quickly increased interaction, but because the software was insufficient, we were unable to achieve the desired changes. We made several attempts to secure various software partners, but nothing worked out. We now understand how crucial it is to advance software throughout both its quick rise and eventual shutdown as a result of the boom.


Professionalism in Software

It gave me a little window of opportunity because RengaLux was doing well at the time, despite the fact that we were losing money. Near the end of my first learning session, I underwent an extremely traumatic incident.

For a month, I worked 16 hours a day to improve my software expertise, understand what I could create from scratch, and learn how to accomplish it by following the course.

I was rushing to comprehend what it meant to create the software from scratch in a targeted way and to turn a profit because I had learned from experience that, at times, this process of change requires a lot of effort.

While doing this, we had lengthy meetings in which we discussed everything I had learned and what I had done with Kemal. We also discussed potential uses for what I had learned in the near future.


Like a waste until finding the practical conclusion

After a month, I had reached a stage where I could somewhat comprehend how a building could be constructed from scratch and how the entire software ecosystem functions. But the practical outcome is always my top goal. To do something that doesn't provide useful results feels wasteful. This is the reason the narrative of another entrepreneurial adventure is told here.

I started to create PetWawa, a website that allows you to book pet motels, using the initial information I learned. We already had a project developed using Kemal, so we knew roughly what we would accomplish and how we would execute it. I had the amazing experience of building something entirely from scratch, and we were thrilled to see our possibilities grow—that we would no longer require anyone else.

Again, with time allotted for eating and sleeping throughout the day and night, I completed the system's coding in around 16 days. Kemal was experimenting as a user while I was coding. We eagerly completed the software portion of the project and started the admission process for pet hotel proprietors.

From my experience in e-commerce, I was familiar with several fundamental technologies, such as keyword analysis, contact/company lists, mail templates, etc. With a variety of vehicles, we began to communicate with individuals.

We made calls to the proprietors of the pet motels and visited them, but at the time we were unable to see that we were acting improperly. Because we could only bring onboard one or two hotels and they refused to make marketing, the idea eventually started to weigh on us.

As far as I could tell from emails, the system was operational until March 2021, however other than the extremely useful knowledge it gave us about the value of marketing, it was limited to being a site in our portfolio.

Although I haven't yet discussed at least three or four such efforts or side projects, I believe it would be best if I avoided discussing them in depth in this piece. While I was going through these events, I was constantly working as a freelancer.

I created corporate websites and e-commerce platforms while working on projects. I was working as a freelancer for some Turkish agencies. But I've always wished I could work in another country for this position.


Serve abroad as a freelancer

We worked with Kemal for the software service for the first time on a $50 UI development gig we found on Fiverr. We had to meet at least four or five times to complete the task, and the money we spent did not equal the money we made. However, because of our normal focus on quality, it was a task that earned us an excellent review. It was also our first job involving the creation of mobile applications.

Following Kemal's decision to give up on a career in academia, we then set out to launch this software agency in Turkey. In fact, we made our first direct sale on the day we produced an insert, knocked on doors, and tried to sell websites to legal firms.

The first coronavirus case in Turkey was discovered after about a week had passed after we accepted the job and the payment, went to a cafe with excitement, finished the crucial aspects of the business, and spoke with Kemal about how we can expand this venture and make it sustainable. We made plans during this time. Kemal and I were working on a project when we learned about the occurrence of that case. (to be continued)

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Muhammed Furkan Y.
Upwork Freelancer Muhammed Furkan Y. is here to help: Flutter Expert | Full-Stack Developer | Software Project Consultant

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