Freelance – A Complete Guide to Freelancing. Freelancing is a type of self-employment that allows a freelancer to work as self-employed, delivering their services on a contract or project basis.
Companies of all types and sizes can hire freelancers to complete a project or a task, but freelancers are responsible for paying their own taxes, health insurance, pension and other personal contributions.
Since they work for themselves, freelancers must also cover their own holiday costs and sick pay. At the same time, self-employed professionals can set their own working hours and make working arrangements that fit their lifestyle – either working remotely or from their clients’ offices.
There are many different types of freelancers, but they tend to be knowledge workers who possess a high-level of skills and knowledge in a certain area, such as designers, writers, programmers, translators, project managers and so on.
A freelance job is one where a person works for themselves, rather than for a company. While freelancers do take on contract work for companies and organisations, they are ultimately self-employed.
Who is a freelancer?
A freelancer refers to a person who sells services instead of working on a regular basis with one employer. The freelancer can charge fees per project, per month, per day, or per hour.
This system allows him to have more than one client and he can also diversify his sources of income/work.
Freelancers are responsible for all sorts of things that traditional employees are not, such as setting their work hours, keeping track of time spent on different projects, billing clients, and paying their own employment and business taxes. Freelancers are not considered “employees” by the companies they work for, but rather “contractors.”
When you’re searching for freelance jobs, there are a number of different terms to be aware of. These can help you find freelance job openings, and they’re also useful when describing yourself and the work you do to potential clients.
- Contract work: Jobs where you’re a temporary contract worker, rather than a permanent employee.
- Contract job: Same as contract work.
- Independent contractor: Another common way to say freelancer, but your work terms are specified by a contract with another company or individual.
- 1099: Refers to the IRS form an independent contractor fills out, form 1099-MISC, and is often used to describe the job (“This is a 1099 contract role”).
- Contract consultant: Someone who is hired for temporary consultations for specific issues within a company.
- Contract-to-hire: A job that begins as a freelance, independent contractor position but has the potential to become a regular employee position if things go well.
Most Common Freelance Career Fields
As you can see from the freelance job listings on FlexJobs, a variety of companies, organisations, and government agencies hire freelancers. You’ll find work in almost every career imaginable, and the freelance jobs vary from small, temporary projects to long-term, full-time projects.
Here’s a list of the most common jobs when it comes to freelancing:
- Virtual assistance
- Graphic design
- Video editing
- Online tutoring
- Accounting & Finance
- Customer Service
- Computer & IT
- Medical & Health
- HR & Recruiting
- Education & Training
Freelance work websites
When it comes to writing gigs, ProBlogger offers several options regularly for those who want to land a writing contract. Whether it’s for a blog content writing position or copywriting, there are many options.
Outsourcely is a platform that connects startups and freelancers. Some positions are full-time, so if you only have a certain number of free hours, make sure you apply for the right positions. You can find anything from tech gigs to design and writing.
Fiverr is a marketplace where freelancers advertise their services. You basically create a gig (an offer of your services), including prices and different packages. People will consult your gig, and they can make an order. Once you deliver the work, they will leave you a review, and they will, of course, pay you.
Upwork is a platform that connects companies and freelancers. Basically, the employer post a gig, and freelancers can send their quotes, including salary, hours, and pitch. There’s a lot of competition on Upwork, but it’s a great place to start if you don’t have much experience.
Yes – you read that right – Facebook Groups are a great way to find work online. Some groups list jobs or opportunities to collaborate.
You can take a look at these two posts too to help you develop a network online:
- Build your community online
- Join these female-only Facebook groups
Pros and Cons of Freelancing
Every job has pros and cons, and freelancing is no different. Being aware of the challenges can ensure you’re prepared for them.
Pros of Freelancing
Having control over your workload, the clients you work with, and your income is a significant benefit of freelancing. When you freelance, you’re in the driver’s seat. You determine what jobs to take on, which clients you want to work for, and your pay rate. Depending on your level of expertise, it’s possible to work part-time hours but make full-time pay.
Flexibility and remote work are also a perk. Most of the time, working on freelance projects will involve working at your home office during the hours you choose. You’ll absolutely have deadlines to meet, but you will decide when and where you work.
SEE: Make Money On Amazon
Cons of Freelancing
With the ultimate in control comes additional responsibilities. As a freelancer, you are a business owner, and you need to stay on top of taxes, invoices, payments received, finding your own health insurance, and buying every piece of software and technology you need to complete your work.
Feast or famine syndrome is another real downside to freelancing. Some months you’ll be full to the brim with work, while the next month may be a ghost town. You may be relying on a consistent contract with one client, only to find they suddenly don’t need you anymore. Freelancing requires good money management and constant sourcing of new clients.
Traits and Characteristics Needed as a Freelancer
There are a few qualities you should possess to set yourself up for freelance success. While not an all-encompassing list, these essential characteristics will give you an idea of where to focus.
No boss is watching you out of the corner of their eye and colleagues aren’t there to judge you when you spend an hour online shopping instead of working. Self-discipline is necessary to stay on track.
Persistence is always important, but even more so when you’re just getting started as a freelancer and trying to track down work.
There’s one word you’ll hear more than anything as a freelancer: no. Rejection is the name of the game, and you’re going to need to let it roll off your back.
You’re responsible for a lot of different tasks. It’s up to you to keep track of your income and expenses, promptly reply to client emails, stay on top of your deadlines, keep your files sorted, and make sure your workload is streamlined.
You don’t necessarily need to be outgoing in the traditional sense, but you do need to be a little aggressive to land new clients. If you want to grow your business, you’re going to have to be comfortable networking and approaching strangers, whether you’re doing it in person or digitally.
Being a freelancer involves a lot of communication. You need to be willing to have the hard conversations—like negotiating a higher rate or breaking up with a client—and handle them tactfully and professionally. There’s no boss or other colleague to take care of that dirty work for you.
Here are some simple secrets to becoming a successful freelancer:
- Contact everyone you know.
- Work on your personal brand.
- Write a plan of action.
- Do your research and pay attention to competition.
- Get yourself a mentor—and your first client.
A freelancer can work for multiple clients, but there’s more freedom regarding hours and work. Depending on the situation, a freelancer can work as much as he wants/needs.
Finding freelancing gigs can be done in a few different ways. You can either consult websites that list freelance jobs, be active in Facebook groups, or build a network of people who trusts your services.
Your past customers could also talk about your services to their friends, and you could even offer a referral incentive.