What Is Freelancing and What Does It Entail?
“So, what is freelancing?” you might think. Working as a freelancer, rather than being employed by someone else, implies being your own boss. Freelancers are self-employed people who work for themselves. They are also known as independent contractors.
Other organisations use freelancers on a part-time or short-term basis, but they do not earn the same pay or have the same degree of commitment to any one company as full-time workers.
People are talking about freelancing more than ever before, thanks to the advent of the gig economy. That’s because there are more freelancers today than ever before – according to a 2019 research by Upwork and the Freelancers Union, 57 million Americans freelanced in 2019.
According to the same report, 53 percent of employees between the ages of 18 and 22 are self-employed.
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Freelancing is also known by a variety of other terms.
When it comes to labour that a freelancer may accomplish, not everyone uses the terms “freelance” or “freelancer.” Most freelancers, in fact, refer to themselves as “self-employed.”
Other phrases related to freelancing that you should be aware of include:
Contract employment: Jobs that require you to work on a short-term or part-time basis.
Work on a contract basis: same as above.
Contractor who works for himself: A freelancer 1099 is classified as follows by the IRS: In contrast to a full-time W2, freelancers are paid via a tax form called a “1099-MISC.” A freelancer is sometimes referred to as a “1099.”
A contract consultant is someone who works for a client on a 1099 basis for a certain amount of time.
Contract-to-hire: Freelancers may be interested in full-time work at times. Contract-to-hire positions give a freelancer a “trial period” before being hired full-time.
What is the meaning of the term “freelancing”?
The term “freelance” was coined in the 1800s to describe a mediaeval mercenary who would fight for whichever nation or person offered the best pay. The name “lance” referred to a long weapon used by knights on horseback to knock their opponents off their mounts (think jousting).
The first literary reference is from Sir Ivan Scott’s novel, Ivanhoe:
I offered Richard the services of my Free Lances, but he declined—I’ll lead them to Hull, seize on shipping, and set sail for Flanders; a man of action will always find work in these busy times.
Over time, the term came to denote “independent,” but it moved away from the battlefield to include politics and, eventually, any type of work.
What is the process of freelancing?
Freelancers work for a fee in exchange for providing a service. This is usually a part-time or short-term arrangement.
If I hired a photographer to shoot fresh headshots for me, for example, I could pay a freelancer for the session and be done with it.
People sometimes hire freelancers for a specific number of hours per week or month. A “retainer” is a term used to describe this arrangement.
When you retain the services or the right to someone’s time, this is referred to as a retainer. Many legal experts work on a retainer basis. They bill the client for a certain amount of time each month, regardless of whether that time is used entirely.
It’s one of the most basic and pure kinds of entrepreneurship: the freelancer delivers a certain service or result, and the consumer pays them directly.
Why do people work as freelancers?
Individuals with freelancing jobs have a lot of flexibility and control. Most freelancers set their own hours, work on their own projects, and engage with their own clients, and they may even be able to work from home.
Freelancing is also a sort of entrepreneurship, as the freelancer has complete control over their earnings. Because freelancers aren’t bound by a salary, they can charge as much as they like to their clients.
You are also your own boss as a freelancer.
Freelancing also gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of the types of employment you can accomplish. If you have a wide range of interests and enjoy trying new things, freelancing can help you get involved in a variety of projects and industries.
Freelancing isn’t something that most individuals do for the rest of their lives. They either hire additional freelancers or workers to form a full-fledged agency, create their own goods to supplement their freelance income, or return to full-time employment.
Many people like freelancing because it gives them the flexibility they need to decide out their next career step.
How much can I earn as a freelancer?
According to that same 2019 study, the median freelance income is $20-28 per hour. Of course with so many different freelance jobs available, that number can vary quite a bit.
Transcription services may only earn $5-10 per hour, while software engineering roles may earn $75 or even hundreds of dollars per hour.
It’s best to compare the freelance rates of your particular skill set to get a good estimate of the expected income you could earn as a freelancer.
What are the dangers of working for yourself?
Freelancing entails financial as well as health concerns.
One of the most significant advantages of full-time employment in the United States is access to healthcare and other financial perks in addition to your regular wage. This could include a 401(k) retirement plan or health insurance offered by the firm.
Being recruited as an independent contractor usually means that you will not receive the same financial or healthcare advantages as employees.
As a result, freelancers are on their own when it comes to financial planning and health insurance enrollment.
Freelancers are not only on their own when it comes to setting up these benefits, but they are also at a disadvantage.
When a business negotiates a health insurance coverage with a broker, they can frequently get better rates because they are purchasing in volume. However, as a self-employed person, you are just purchasing insurance for yourself and your family.
Unfortunately, this means that your health insurance may be more expensive.
Setting up your own retirement savings account is simple, but your company will not match your contributions.
Finally, freelancers are solely accountable for all revenue generated by the company. Your money will dry up if you are unable or unwilling to sell more projects and gain more clients.
These are all minor hazards, but they’re worth thinking about before diving into full-time freelancing.
What kinds of jobs may I undertake as a freelancer?
Admin Support Positions
Freelance administrative support jobs include:
- Virtual Assistant
- Administrative Assistant
- Project Management
- Order Processing
- Data Entry
- Online Research
Jobs in Design and Creativity
Freelance design and creative jobs include:
- Brand Identity and Strategy
- Presentation Design
- Motion Graphics Design
- Audio Production
- Video Production
- Voice Talent
- Physical Design
- Graphic Design
- UX/UI Design
- Art and Illustration
Freelancing writing jobs include:
- Content Writing
- Grant Writing
- Writing Tutoring
- Career Coaching
- Creative Writing
- Technical Writing
- Business Writing
Job Opportunities in Web, Mobile, and Software Development
Freelance web, mobile, and software development jobs include:
- Ecommerce Website Development
- Mobile Development
- Product Management
- Game Development
- Desktop Software Development
- QA & Testing
- Web Design
- Mobile Design
- Web Development
- Other Software Development
Jobs in Accounting and Consulting
Freelance accounting and consulting jobs include:
- Business Analysis
- Instructional Design
- Tax Preparation
- Financial Analysis
- Financial Modeling
- Management Consulting
- HR Administration
- Training and Development
- Financial Management
- Virtual CFO
Freelance legal jobs include:
- Business Law
- Corporate Law
- Tax Law
- International Law
- Securities and Finance Law
- Intellectual Property Law
- General Counsel
- Labor and Unemployment Law
- Regulatory Law
- Immigration Law
Jobs in Data Science and Analytics
Freelance data science and analytics jobs include:
- Data Mining
- Data Analytics
- Data Extraction
- Deep Learning
- Machine Learning
- A/B Testing
- Data Engineering
- Data Visualization
- Data Processing
- Knowledge Representation
- Experimentation and Testing
Jobs in Sales and Marketing
Freelance sales and marketing jobs include:
- Marketing Strategy
- Social Media Marketing
- Community Management
- Display Advertising
- Lead Generation
- Public Relations
- Market Research
- Email Automation
- Marketing Automation
- Search Engine Optimization
- Search Engine Marketing
Jobs in Customer Service
Freelance customer service jobs include:
- Customer Service
- Technical Support
Jobs in Information Technology and Networking
Freelance IT and networking jobs include:
- Network Security
- Information Security
- Solutions Architecture
- Systems Engineering
- System Administration
- Systems Compliance
- Database Administration
- DevOps Engineering
- Systems Architecture
- Network Administration
Jobs in Engineering and Architecture
Freelance engineering an Architecture jobs include:
- Civil Engineering
- Structural Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Sourcing and Procurement
- 3D Modeling
- Interior Design
- Chemical Engineering
- Product Design
Jobs in Translation
Freelance translation jobs include:
- Legal Translation
- Language Tutoring
- Language Localization
- Technical Translation
- Written Translation
- Medical Translation
How can I get started as a freelancer?
You can begin freelancing at any moment by accepting paid to accomplish a project for another person.
Most freelancers, on the other hand, will want to formalise their firm, open a bank account, and have a web presence for their freelancing business.
As a freelancer, you have three options for earning money:
Direct contact with clients
Working client direct entails locating and connecting with clients using your own resources. Networking, existing partnerships, or word-of-mouth recommendations are all possibilities.
Because there are no middlemen in the transaction, this is one of the most difficult ways to take, but it also offers the largest margins.
If you plan to freelance for a long time, freelancing client direct establishes more durable partnerships.
Finding and engaging with individual clients is a challenge for some freelancers. Another alternative for those freelancers is to work as a subcontractor for another firm or agency.
The model is straightforward. Typically, an agency sells a huge project to a customer, then divides it into “subcontracts” that are handled by other agencies or freelancers.
A web development agency, for example, may sell a complete website project but outsource the copywriting to a freelance copywriter outside the agency.
Many companies only hire a limited number of full-time employees and typically outsource specialised aspects of projects to freelancers.
This is beneficial in terms of keeping your plate full, but it also eliminates some control. If the agencies for which you subcontract run out of work, you run out of job as well.
Websites for job postings
A freelancing marketplace such as Upwork, Fiverr, FlexJobs, or SolidGigs is another popular way to locate client employment.
By pooling freelance tasks on one side of the marketplace and freelance talent on the other, these marketplaces act as a mediator.
This may be a very effective way to discover new job, but it comes with its own set of drawbacks.
Upwork and Fiverr have a lot of competition, so building an initial profile and being paid what you’re worth might be difficult. As a transaction charge, they will take a tiny portion of each task.
However, if you have a great reputation over time, you will be able to locate job without having to prospect too hard.
Being your own boss is what freelancing entails. It’s up to you to discover a means to make money, whether it’s through client work, subcontracting, or using a job board.
There are a plethora of various sorts of freelance employment available, and more businesses are recruiting freelancers than ever before.
Freelancing may be a fantastic way to make a career on your own terms, but there are financial and health costs to consider.