The Inspirational Journey of Mohsin Muzaffar – Country Manager Payoneer
We take a lot of pride in being home for inspirational people like Mohsin Muzaffar – who is the Country Manager – Payoneer Pakistan.
Our team recently sat with him to learn why and how he landed at this position that he seems to enjoy a lot.
We know you were a successful freelancer before you joined Payoneer. How did all of this start?
My professional journey is connected to my personal journey. Being the only son of my parents, I was working in Sharjah back in 2008.
I had to come back in 2009 for family responsibilities. I started looking for jobs here, applied in multiple companies but luckily no one offered me a job.
Around the same time, one day while having dinner with friends one of my friends told me that he is getting work through Upwork.
I came back home that night, set up a profile on Upwork – then oDesk – and applied for a few gigs.
Luckily again, when I woke up the next morning I saw an email about proposal acceptance/interview.
The job was at 1.5 USD/hour.
The same client offered a different coding job a few days later for which I had to develop some skills. That was at 4-5 USD/hour. I learned those skills and won that job.
I continued upgrading my skills. Skills that I learned at college were not being used in life. As far as college was concerned, there were two main takeaways: friends and some soft skills.
My journey continued and the portfolio developed with time and I got a top rated freelancer badge in Asia.
Why did you leave your freelancing career after building a decent clientele?
Once I achieved some success in my freelancing career, I started making training videos for other freelancers who were trying their luck with this career path.
Someone from the upwork team saw those videos and they reached out to me.
They asked me what my purpose was with these videos and I told them I knew how hard it is to start so I wanted to help others who are coming from similar backgrounds.
The Upwork marketing team later offered me a job for doing the same thing for them that I was already doing. I joined them and we started organizing training sessions for freelancers at the universities.
The plan was that upwork will reach out to bigger clients and recommend those freelancers who have passed through our training programs. That program was a roaring success in Pakistan and got replicated in six (6) other Upwork markets.
How did you end up at Payoneer?
Payments were a big issue in the freelancing ecosystem at that time. So, I thought I have a chance to do stuff that impacts the lives of hundreds and thousands of freelancers since in the payments ecosystem, you get a chance to closely work with regulators and the government.
I joined Transpay after Upwork and worked with them for 3 years. I Wanted to bring some fundamental changes but did not get any major successes there.
After Transpay, I moved to Payoneer.
I Joined as head of business development and later got to lead the team here.
Pakistan is a very important market for Payoneer and soon after joining I started raising the problems of local freelancers. Some of the big issues included the acknowledgement of freelancing as a career, banking sectors’ treatment of freelancers and the issues they faced while getting an account opened.
So far, we have made great headway towards solving these issues.
Going forward, what is your focus with Payoneer?
Going forward Payoneer is focusing not just on payments; it is instead aiming to be a platform. And platform is an ecosystem that takes a 360degree approach towards solving the issues of the community it serves.
Some special products for the seller community in Pakistan are also in the pipeline.
What is the role Kickstart can play towards your mission?
We see great synergies with Kickstart. We see kickstart as a long-term partner that can play an important role in the journey of the freelancing community by offering critical services like office space, legal, and marketing services.
Both Payoneer and Kickstart also have great potential to serve as customer acquisition channels for each other while working together to solve the issues our customers face at different stages of their careers.
What is something you take deep pride in?
I take pride in the work-life balance that I was able to achieve after coming back to Pakistan in my freelancing life and remote jobs. I am living with my parents and doing things in professional life that I love.