Local Freelancing is a Pain

When I started out freelancing – illustration freelancing – I had a mix of local and foreign customers. It would not be long before I decided to drop all local customers except one.

Local businesses, it seems to me, disregard freelancing work as non-serious work. One works at home at one’s own time, I suppose, so why would we want take you seriously. If one was serious with work, then one should have studied to become a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer… they probably figure.

The problem here is that whatever the case businesses need freelancers to work for them. But because of they regard freelance work, it would take many phone calls and many weeks to get paid after the job is done. The usual excuse would be because of company procedures and bureaucracy.

So many years have passed since I stopped taking local freelance commissions.

Until now.

And guess what?

THE SAME BLOODY PROBLEM ARISES. Even after more than a decade and four states away.

I wasted weeks working on text for the same amount of payment I could have spent doing art commissions in three days. Which meant I could have had more payment. Which meant I could have paid bills and eat this month without borrowing money from others.

Asking for the payment feels like panhandling, is all I will say about it.

Meanwhile, requests for art commission from overseas – they still pay on time, or in advance. And without me asking.

Malaysian small business practices has a LONG way to go before I stop consider most local business owners hostile to freelancers. In the meantime, no freelance work for local businesses for me, illustration or otherwise.

Posted in Rants and tagged .

Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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