Freelancing from Algeria: How One Freelancer Made it Big!
We are happy to share our latest interview with Aboubakr Seddik Ouahabi, from Algeria. Enjoy:
How did you come into contact with Payoneer?
Being in a country such as Algeria means that you can do almost nothing to get paid online, or even to send or pay someone or pay for a service. In other words, there is no PayPal, Moneybookers, Skrill, 2CheckOut or any other similar solutions that offer support in Algeria because it is deemed “high risk.”
I should mention that there are also no ATMs that accept Visa/ MasterCard in my local area. The closest one is located 1200Km away. This is a huge challenge to guys like me who want to build a business online targeting European and American clients. Regardless of how skilled you are, your skills will remain useless until you find a way to break through these bureaucratic nightmares and find a solution of your own, which is not dependent on anything local.
How did you cross the hurdles of freelancing from Algeria?
First, I opened a 2Checkout account. It may seem silly to some with much higher income, but I had to pay an entire year worth of setup fees because I am working from Algeria, which was such a burden for me, but it is the bittersweet truth of how things are here. 2Checkout account and Payoneer work together to allow freelancers like me to accept payment (2Checkout) and withdraw payment to a card (Payoneer).
Eventually, I linked Payoneer to my Paypal, which allowed me to verify my account and to start buying some Web-Apps’ Licenses, Hosting Packages, hardware components for my Laptop (upgrade for my RAM from 8GB to a 16GB Corsair Memory) which gave me the power to run Adobe products at full power as well as run my Linux virtualization lab, which is something else I do as a System Administrator.
I was now able to purchase necessary items that were impossible to source locally. Heck, it’s almost impossible to source it internationally as well because of my address but I was able to do similar things that helped me to improve the quality of the services I provide, eased my workflow greatly, and got me on top of the competition.
What other solutions did you find?
Although purchasing online was finally much simpler, I still had problems withdrawing cash because, as I mentioned, the closest ATM is several hours away. I searched for another solution and came across Skrill. I logged in, added my Payoneer card and the signup process went flawlessly. You are probably asking yourself what Skrill has to do with this, aren’t you? I’ll explain…
I got a UK Phone number from Skype, with a subscription to call any land-line number in the UK for free, and that took my business again to another level. I was finally able to interact and communicate with my clients, and they had more confidence and assurance that they could call me on a local number. Unfortunately, Skype didn’t accept credit cards (which meant no Payoneer), but they did allow the use of Skrill as a payment method for Algerian accounts. I was able to fund my Skrill account through my Payoneer card, and things had been moving steadily. All praise and thanks are due to Almighty God, and a great thanks to the service of Payoneer.
Do you utilize only the Payoneer Prepaid MasterCard card?
Unfortunately, I had some clients who only wanted to pay via PayPal; however,PayPal doestn’t allow Algerian accounts to accept payments, unless they are linked either to a US Bank Account, or an Algerian Bank issued Visa Card. Both of these options were not an option for me.
A few months after joining Payoneer I read about the USD Payment Service and immediately applied. It didn’t take long until my application was approved and I was issued a “receiving account” which allowed me to receive payment from US companies directly to Payoneer. I added the receiving account to PayPal, went through the verification process in which they sent 2 small sums to my Payoneer account, which I received in under 3 days. I confirmed my account, and was up and rolling, allowing me to accept my first PayPal payment in the first or maybe the 2nd week of linking the account to PayPal, and it was coming from an ex-client who asked for some fixes and new features on her website.
The USD Payment Service is now linked to my Skrill account as well, allowing me to fund my Payoneer card directly via Skrill, whenever I want to pay for my online Bills, or pay for Payoneer monthly fees, and more.
What are your plans for the future?
After my recent experience with Payoneer, I’m moving my business to a new website, which is under heavy development right now, and I’m developing a whole new range of products using both Open Source solutions, and modules I’ve made myself so that I can provide services and products alike. The new website is still waiting for a new theme, which is on the way to be finished, and the launch will be delayed just a little bit until I’ve finished my new PrestaShop Modules, and 2 Major products to be presented, which are expected to hit the release cycle by the mid of the Q2 of 2013.
The story is just at its beginning, and I pray we’ll be granted full success to advance even more. Thank you very much to the Payoneer team :).
To share your own testimonial you can email community [at] payoneer [dot] com