Freelancer stories: Vikramsinh Parmar's journey from rags to riches
Back in 2014, having just been released from a 2-month stint in jail, Vikramsinh Parmar’s financial and emotional life was in shambles. He was in debt, his college education was in jeopardy and he felt desperate to turn his life around.
He got caught up in a scam in which an unscrupulous client claimed to be from a government agency and asked the highly trusting - and perhaps naive - Parmar to build a website on behalf of said agency. With little to no legal knowledge, Parmar got caught in the crosshairs and was charged as part of the scam.
He was finally let out on bail, but not before he spent considerable time in custody, went into debt and nearly lost his opportunity to go back to college.
Luckily a supportive and forgiving network of family and friends helped him overcome his emotional struggles. As for his financial situation? Help came in the form of freelancing opportunities Parmar earned through Freelancer.com.
“My family and friends know that I’m a good human being who made a naive mistake, and they gave me permission to rebuild my life on my own terms. My father was especially understanding, as was my college principal who saw my potential as an IT expert,” Parmar explained.
With a foundation to build upon, starting over was possible for Parmar, yet extremely challenging.
But he didn’t give up.
A small scholarship helped Parmar get back into college and paid for a roof over his head, but without additional income, he went to bed hungry a few too many times.
When his life started to change
The turning point came in 2014, when one of Parmar’s senior classmates named Dhaval Sanghani asked him to help out on a SEO-related project for one of his clients. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, a marketing tactic that helps your online content rank higher in search engines like Google - making it visible to more people who search for keywords you’re targeting.
“I attribute my success to my family and college senior Dhaval. He is one of a brilliant mind who not only gave me this opportunity, but he also taught me how to constantly improve myself - to interact, learn and EARN,” Parmar said.
It didn’t take Parmar long to recognise and seize new earning opportunities.
“This first job turned my financial situation around and I immediately saw how I could turn it into an even bigger opportunity,” Parmar explained.
In fact, it helped so much that Parmar was able to drop out of college and pursue this more lucrative path full-time.
Knowing that future clients would want to see evidence of his work and performance, Parmar turned to Freelancer.com (username: @thesmartvmp), where his good work would be rewarded with high star ratings and positive testimonials from delighted clients.
“I asked that original client to hire me through Freelancer so I could build my profile. He agreed, and that’s where it all started,” Parmar said.
The opportunities on Freelancer kept coming in and after only one year, he had racked up more than 150 completed projects, with a 100% completion rate and a 5-star rating (out of 5). He expanded his skills to include coding and web design, and ultimately molded himself into a “growth hacker” - a role that is much more valuable to clients and involves helping clients achieve rapid growth on a tight budget using tested marketing tactics at scale.
One client, who initially paid him $20 on a project, was impressed enough to end up hiring him on a follow-up project worth $22,000.
A massive step up
Parmar's success on the platform caught the attention of one of Freelancer’s internal recruiters who encouraged him to continue optimising his profile, and who then began farming out even more work to him.
To date, Parmar has completed more than 280 projects on the Freelancer.com platform and many more off-platform. And he still maintains his 100% competition rate and 5-star rating.
All of this allowed him to pay off significant debt within just 6 months of starting his freelancing career and to accumulate significant wealth thereafter.
“The debt was huge and no one believed that I actually pulled it off, but I know how much hard work it took to achieve it. At the beginning, I gave it everything I had. During one stretch, I won 10 projects and remember working 72 hours straight to finish them all. It was worth every second,” Parmar recalled.
Parmar now has a team of around 20 employees who do a lot of the heavy lifting for him. This has allowed him to increase his income exponentially and to dabble in real estate on the side.
Year after year of hard work has paid off. Today, Parmar’s projects bring in nearly $2M USD per year, and growing. To date, he reports that all of his ventures have earned him a net worth of $5M - an accomplishment made possible by the original opportunities afforded him by Freelancer.
“Freelancer.com gave me an opportunity to become a millionaire and I jumped on that opportunity quickly. I would say Freelancer.com was the impetus behind getting myself out of poverty and living a happy and sucessful life,” Parmar said.
The fruits of his success
A lifetime away from being imprisoned and impoverished, Parmar now enjoys every minute of the freedom he earned. And he’s not shy about helping those people who helped him when he needed it.
“I live like a BOSS now. My clients pay me $50-$70 USD per hour. I built a home in my village for my family to live in, and I live in a nice apartment in Vadodara [in the Indian state of Gujarat],” Parmar said.
“I considered buying myself a Mercedes Benz, but my family values and a business-minded logic told me it wasn’t a wise use of my money. Instead I bought myself a Jeep Compass, the modest luxury car in India at the time. I also bought cars for my parents and siblings,” he continued.
When asked what advice he’d give to novice freelancers, he says to dream big and to trust in the value you can bring to your clients.
“Stay consistent and be persistent. Never give up until you complete your tasks and reach your goals. With clients, negotiation and communication are key. You can charge your clients double what your competitor does as long as you can prove to them that you have the right skills,” Parmar recommended.
“And stay happy, because there are always opportunities around you if you know how to look for them. If it can work for me, a rural dweller, it can work for you.”