Mamdouh Ezz Samy from Assiut, Egypt, south of Cairo, worked as a pharmacist for eight years before he decided to try out design, a field he was always curious about. He then went back to school to study graphic and Web design, but as the months passed, he became uneasy. The questions "What if I can't find a job as a designer?" or "What if I am just wasting time and resources?" lingered.
Since he had already started, he didn't want to quit halfway through. Mamdouh studied while working part-time. As if his inner struggles were heard, one of his instructors approached him about a job opportunity. "He advised me to try out freelancing because my English communication skills were good and I had already improved somewhat in the field," he said.
He didn't think twice. It was a good opportunity to earn and hone his skills. In 2008, Mamdouh signed up at Scriptlance and completed various graphic and Web design projects. "I enjoyed working with clients from all over the world. Seeing my work online made me proud of what I do." When Scriptlance was acquired by Freelancer.com in 2012, he got worried. "I thought my freelancing career was over, but to my pleasant surprise, I got welcomed warmly and they moved all work history and feedback onto my new profile."
He also found the move beneficial because of Freelancer.com's features. "I get to withdraw my money up to twice weekly instead of once a month, choose several membership options, and bill external clients who aren't on the site. As I continued to work hard, I eventually attained Preferred Freelancer status, which made it easier to gain the trust of clients."
Because of the sheer amount of work he got on the site, Mamdouh left his job as a pharmacist and focused full time on freelancing. In 2014, together with his wife, they set up a career center called Assiut Career Development Center (ACDC) to spread freelancing in their city. "I believe freelancing can help a lot of young people in my country overcome difficult economic situations and start taking charge of their future. Our first course -- "Start Freelancing Today" -- was quite popular, and I managed to get a good number of youth to sign up at Freelancer.com."
In 2015, Mamdouh decided to take this a step further and created his first online course on Udemy.com called "Freelancing in Arabic." The course helps people who are not comfortable in the English language start a freelancing career. He also launched a Facebook group called "ACDC Freelancing Academy" to act a support group to those starting out.
Mamdouh's top three tips for starters:
Never give up; it’s especially difficult at the start but it gets a lot more enjoyable as you go.
Invest in yourself and learn new skills every day.
Familiarize yourself with the way Freelancer.com works by reading the help section. Join a support group to get help when you need it.
With all the trainings he leads and design projects he finishes on Freelancer.com, Mamdouh said he still gets to enjoy a lot of freedom. "When I first started out, I had to work in the pharmacy for 10 hours a day, six days a week to earn a living. I hardly have time for myself or my family. Now, I have a lot of time to take my family to trips and do activities together. As a bonus, I also get to help hundreds of young people in my city shape their careers at an early age."
View Mamdouh's profile here.