In the US alone, 59 million people did some type of freelance work in 2020. That signifies an increase of two million freelancers from the year before. This 2021, experts project freelancers to be even more in demand than last year. Hiring managers themselves say they’re likely to work with more independent professionals. With that said, it’s best you consider becoming a freelancer if you’re in the market for a job yourself. What exactly is a freelancer, though, and how does freelancing work? What types of jobs are even available to freelancers?
This guide will answer all those questions, so be sure to read on!
What Is a Freelancer?
The term freelance has roots dating back to medieval times. In the 1800s, a “freelance” was a mercenary soldier who accepted jobs from the highest bidder. They were like contract workers, offering their might and skills to those who would pay them the most.
The modern meaning of freelance is pretty much the same, although it now applies to the job itself. A freelance job can be contractual work, while a freelancer is a person who carries out such a job.
Today’s freelancers are independent, self-employed individuals specializing in services-for-fees. They choose the jobs they want to work on, the number of hours they would spend on that job, and how much they want to get paid. They can work on a single job or accept contracts from multiple clients.
How Does Freelancing Work?
Freelancing involves an agreement between a service provider (the freelancer) and a client. The freelancer takes on a job offered by the client in exchange for a specific fee. The job can be part-time, short-term, or ongoing.
Freelancing isn’t an employee-employer contract, though.
For instance, freelancers in the US usually classify as independent contractors. That’s because they don’t get tied to any one job or work with a single client. They also get to choose the terms of each job and where exactly they carry out their work.
What Are the Most Common Types of Freelance Work?
As of January 2021, some 4.66 billion people around the world use the internet. Many of the stuff you find published on the internet involved some form of freelance work. However, many other freelancers work offline, offering their skills in person.
Popular Online Freelance Jobs
Digital content creation, which includes blog writing, is one of the most popular. On the WordPress platform alone, some 70 million new posts get published each month. That’s on top of all the other digital content found on other web publishing platforms.
Graphic and website design and creation are also in-demand online freelance jobs. After all, without websites, there would be no platform to publish digital content on. Thanks to graphic and site designers, the world is now home to over 200 million active websites.
Online marketing and advertising services increase website visibility to reach more people. Freelance marketers and advertisers aim to boost traffic to their clients’ websites. They do this with strategies like search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising (PPC).
In-Demand Offline Freelance Jobs
Ridesharing services are perfect examples of offline freelance jobs. In the US, Uber and Lyft are two of the primary platforms for freelance drivers. Around 24% to 43% of folks in the US reported using these ride-hailing services.
Some infrastructure services have also gone freelance, such as those for plumbing systems. Electrical workers, landscapers, and even architects now also offer freelancing services.
Tips on How to Find Freelance Clients Online
As a beginner freelancer, it might help if you start looking for work via a freelance marketplace. These are websites that serve as a middleman for freelancers and clients that need work done. Upwork, FlexJobs, and Fiverr are a few examples of such platforms.
You can also go with the direct approach if you have existing client relationships. Another way is to ask friends in another line of work to refer you to clients who may need your special skills.
You can also offer your services as a subcontractor to an agency or another company. For example, digital marketing agencies often hire freelancers for content creation. Website creation firms also usually take on freelancers as subcontractors for copywriting tasks.
What Else Do You Need to Start Freelancing?
Ensure you have an up-to-date curriculum vitae (CV) and a list of work you’ve done. You need to back up your CV or profile with a portfolio that illustrates and proves your skills. You can start by creating your own website on a free platform like WordPress.
Next, decide on your service rates and if you’d like to charge your clients on a per-hour or per-project basis. You need to factor in your skillset and experience, but don’t sell yourself short either. You can check out LinkedIn profiles of other professionals to get a grasp of how much they charge.
It’s also vital to consider how many jobs you’d like to take on and if you can manage multiple projects. You can accept as many as you want, so long as you learn how to manage clients as a freelancer. As a beginner, though, it’s likely best to start with one or two part-time jobs and then work your way from there.
Don’t forget to set up a payment gateway where your virtual clients can pay you for your services! Stripe, PayPal, and Amazon Pay are some of the most common platforms used by freelancers.
Enjoy Flexibility and Freedom With Freelancing
There you have it, the ultimate guide that answers the question, “how does freelancing work?” Now, you know that it’s a type of self-employment and that you can get paid either per hour or per project. You can also accept work from as many clients as you want, provided that you can effectively manage all of them.
Either way, freelancing is a great way to earn income, so as early as today, start building your profile.
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