To the residents of Gayabari, a backward village in Dimla upazila of Nilphamari, the duplex house of Nazmul Hossain Raju is an awe-inspiring sight.
The 28-year-old was born in a poverty-stricken family, while his father was a day labourer. But his circumstances did not stop Raju from becoming a millionaire and building a home of their own in the village, reports our Nilphamari correspondent.
In the last five years, Raju has earned Tk 1 crore by working at Upwork.com, a global freelancing platform where businesses and independent professionals connect and collaborate remotely.
Learning basic computer skills at school, he moved to Dhaka after completing his SSC and enrolled at Mirpur Bangla College. He was intrigued when he heard about the platform through word of mouth and newspaper.
In an effort to improve his skills, he took admission in a training institute to learn about Search Engine Optimisation.
“In 2012, I opened an account and created my profile on Elance-oDesk, which was rebranded as Upwork later. But I failed to get work as job providers preferred people with experience, which I lacked then,” said Raju.
Never losing hope, he learnt more about outsourcing using Google and YouTube. Simultaneously, he got an MBA from Dhaka University in 2012 and upgraded his profile on Upwork.
This time, he got lucky as an American citizen Eric Paul gave him a job in Amazon’s ‘virtual assistance’ section. Raju successfully completed the assignment and earned $10.
Since then, Raju has only moved upwards.
There is a wide variety of work available online, like graphics and design, web design, web development, virtual assistance, search engine optimisation, preparing content and so on, Raju told The Daily Star.
He currently works as a sales and marketing expert for Amazon, the world’s largest e-commerce platform where millions of manufacturers and trading companies register to expand their business and engage skilled manpower.
According to Raju’s profile, he has more than 5,000 hours of experience in freelancing. He has been involved in more than 160 projects in the last five years on Upwork.com, earning more than $100,000.
“Raju is among the highest remittance earners in my bank. Foreigners pay him in dollars which is also tax free,” said Md Abu Syed, manager of Pubali Bank, Dimla branch.
Upwork.com evaluates their freelancers from time to time and Raju is among the top performers on the platform.
A piece of advice from Raju to those interested in freelancing is that patience is the key. Good command over English is also a must in order to interact with foreigners. Raju also engages local youth over some projects, following foreign contracts. About 20 youth from his village have helped him out, earning a decent amount themselves.
“Raju is an inspiration for many. State Minister for Information and Mass Communication Junayed Ahmed Palak lauded him a couple of months ago for his achievements as well,” said Dimla Upazila Nirbahi Officer Nazmunnahar.