Friday, March 31, 2023

What’s a Freelancer? This is What it Takes to Be One

Until you’ve gotten been residing underneath a rock, you’ve gotten greater than probably heard concerning the rise of unbiased employees, contractors, and new methods of doing enterprise. However are you able to reply the query, “what’s a freelancer?”

An increasing number of employees are opting to freelance than ever earlier than–in accordance with Upwork, two million people joined the freelance motion in 2021 alone. The COVID-19 pandemic solely accelerated a development that had been rising for the reason that beginnings of dwelling web entry.

Some folks have labored this manner for many years, however others are left scratching their heads. What’s a freelancer, and why have they turn out to be so necessary to the financial system?

Maybe you’re looking at options for hiring freelancers, or maybe you have an interest in changing into one your self. Both means, let’s begin by placing a strong definition behind the query that so many are starting to ask: What’s a freelancer?

What’s a freelancer?

Freelancing means various things to totally different folks. Companies might even see freelancers as a means to save cash or get momentary assist. Conventional employees might even see them as a risk to their job stability. Freelancers themselves typically outline their roles in a different way. Is it any marvel some are left questioning, if everybody sees their jobs in a different way, simply what’s a freelancer?

Webster’s dictionary defines freelancer in two methods. First, as a employee who shouldn’t be dedicated to a single employer. Secondly, somebody who shouldn’t be formally affiliated with a company.

The gist of it’s this: a freelancer is a non-traditional employee who chooses their very own tasks, negotiates their very own charges, and has the flexibility to each tackle work or sever ties with shoppers, so long as they aren’t violating a contract.

When most individuals image a freelancer, they see somebody with a laptop computer working from dwelling, or possibly by the pool as they journey, doing odd jobs right here and there.

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The reality is, simply as what conventional workers do differs, freelancers differ of their job descriptions. The place and once they work depends upon a wide range of components.

Not all freelancers work remotely, and never all freelancers have a number of shoppers. What makes a freelancer shouldn’t be WHERE they work, however HOW they work. Relatively than a supervisor or a company, freelancers work for themselves.

The time period freelancer dates again to the center ages, when mercenaries would struggle for the very best bidder, as a substitute of being loyal to a single area or tribe. They’d a “free lance,” so to talk.

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Freelancers may additionally be known as unbiased contractors, 1099 employees, gig employees, or typically solopreneurs. All freelancers are self-employed, however not all self-employed people are freelancers. For instance, a small enterprise proprietor who sells items or companies on to shoppers is certainly self-employed, however wouldn’t be thought-about a freelancer.

So what’s a freelancer? It’s simply somebody who sells their particular person companies to no matter shoppers they select.

What does it take to be a freelancer?

Regardless of the shifting financial system, not everyone seems to be reduce out for the freelancing life. Bear in mind, what’s a freelancer? It’s somebody who works for themselves, typically with none form of assist.

Freelancers must be self-starters, with the proper of motivation as a way to achieve success. Deciding whether freelancing is right for you comes all the way down to each your persona and your expertise. Let’s discuss among the traits which can be useful for freelancers:


Whereas you’re going to get path from shoppers and there are a variety of nice mentors on the market, when it comes all the way down to it, freelancing is a reasonably lonely gig. You want to have the ability to work individually from anybody else, set your personal deadlines, and maintain a continually excessive commonplace of labor with out reminders or somebody trying over your shoulder.


You’ll bear in mind from the “What’s a freelancer?” part that freelancers are self-employed, in order that they don’t have the identical expectations as a full-time worker. Purchasers could ask for tight deadlines, attain out on weekends, or change their minds in the course of a mission. Freelancers want to have the ability to roll with change and pivot rapidly.


Whereas there are freelancers who by no means go away the sofa, if you wish to achieve success within the freelancing world, it’s essential be skilled. This implies answering the cellphone, texts and emails rapidly, not complaining to your shoppers, being on time for conferences, and proofreading communications, simply to call a number of. You additionally want to have the ability to current your self effectively within the enterprise world, whether or not at face-to-face conferences or networking occasions.


You might virtually reply the query “What’s a freelancer?” with one other job title: customer support supervisor. Since freelancers work for themselves, they are managing all aspects of their business, from gross sales and advertising and marketing to gathering cost on the finish of the mission.

Consequently, you’re the one who offers immediately with shoppers. Ask your self for those who can deal with countless questions, negotiation, complaints and conversations about cash, typically with troublesome folks. If the reply is not any, you might be most likely not prepared for freelancing.


Freelancing is each rewarding and troublesome at occasions, however one factor you will have to realize your objectives is a cussed persona. You’ll hear the phrase “no” typically. You’ll probably ship out dozens of chilly pitches for each job you land. You’ll have to revise your work to suit another person’s superb. You’ll should maintain working, maintain grinding, and maintain making an attempt new issues continually as a way to construct your corporation.

These traits assist reply the query on what a freelancer is: an unbiased, versatile, skilled, affected person, persistent particular person promoting companies to different people and organizations.

If this sounds such as you, your subsequent query is likely to be––how do I start?

Good query!

First it’s important to choose a skill you’d wish to promote.

Subsequent, construct up a portfolio of your work. You are able to do this by means of courses, doing work for family and friends, or by yourself. Be certain to solely embrace your finest examples when presenting work to potential shoppers.

Lastly, discover shoppers prepared to pay to your companies. Begin with your personal community. Let your contacts, each private and enterprise, know what you might be providing. You may also discuss to native enterprise house owners, comb freelance job sites, or pitch corporations that you just suppose may gain advantage out of your work.

Most typical kinds of freelance jobs

what is a freelancer

Many alternative jobs may be completed by freelance contractors, however when you concentrate on freelancing, there’s a motive that sure industries come to thoughts. Should you Google the query, “What’s a freelancer?” you’ll probably provide you with pictures of individuals engaged on laptops.

Since freelancers present all of their very own instruments and gear, typically freelance jobs are the sorts of duties that may be completed with simply a pc and an web connection.

In case you are caught for ideas, listed below are 6 of the commonest freelance jobs:

Author. Freelance writers create content material for all kinds of various industries and functions. They could write weblog posts, ghost write a memoir, pen the copy for an advert marketing campaign, write technical manuals and extra. Good writers are onerous to seek out, so a proficient freelance author all the time has loads of work.

Designer. Designers make visible content material for web sites, brochures, enterprise playing cards, packaging, branding, promoting, and extra.

Developer. At present, there’s a huge scarcity of software program builders, so corporations wish to fill the vacancies any means they’ll. Enter freelancers. Should you can code, you will discover freelance jobs.

Finance. It’s changing into more and more widespread for organizations to outsource their bookkeeping and accounting to freelancers. Finance professionals can tackle a number of small enterprise shoppers without delay, so these corporations are primarily splitting the price of a full-time accountant or bookkeeper.

Assistant. The digital assistant trade started within the Nineties, and has grown exponentially since then. Virtual assistants are hired to do all the pieces from scheduling appointments to analysis. Hiring an assistant can really save corporations cash by getting them extra organized, so it’s a well-liked freelance gig.

Social Media. When you’ve got ever written social media content material or responded to feedback on-line, you already know that it may be a full-time job. A contract social media professional would possibly schedule posts, take pictures, design graphics, and work together with different customers to construct a group.

Professionals & cons of freelancing

Now that we’ve answered the query, “What’s a freelancer?” it’s time to determine — is freelancing worth it?

The reply? It relies upon.

Like with any job, freelancing has its execs and cons. Let’s discuss a number of of them, and you can also make the choice.


  • Freedom.  In case your freelance profession solely requires a pc and the web, you may work from wherever. And plenty of freelance gigs even have versatile hours––which means mother and father can work round their youngsters’ schedules, folks in numerous nations can work collectively, and somebody who already has a full time job can squeeze freelance work in on the aspect.
  • Distant. Earlier than the pandemic, for those who needed a job that allowed you to make money working from home, freelancing was your gig. Whereas there at the moment are extra alternatives to work remotely, freelancing is nice as a result of you’ve gotten complete management over your personal state of affairs, whether or not that’s working from dwelling or not.
  • Ardour. Freelancers get to choose and select what they work on, so as a substitute of being assigned mundane duties, you solely tackle the tasks that matter to you.


  • Cash Administration. At a standard job, you’re employed a set variety of hours and obtain a paycheck on set days, virtually like magic. As a freelancer, you might be answerable for the enterprise. You need to determine how a lot cash to pay your self and what to speculate again within the enterprise. You need to handle invoices and gather cost. All of this may be disturbing for those who aren’t used to it.
  • Money Circulate. Freelancers typically get caught in what is called the “feast or famine cycle,” which means you both have an excessive amount of work, or not sufficient. It’s troublesome to plan your life, bills, and enterprise hours when work is inconsistent.
  • Loneliness. For some folks, working independently is nice. Others miss the social ambiance and collaboration of an workplace. It’s necessary to judge if working solo is best for you and your mental health.

The place to seek out freelance jobs

So we’ve answered what a freelancer is, mentioned methods to begin, and even thought by means of among the commonest jobs out there.

The one query left to handle is…the place precisely do you discover freelance jobs?

My recommendation is all the time to start out together with your private community. Phrase of mouth is one of the best software you’ve gotten. Nonetheless, one other nice supply of leads come from the handfuls of freelance job sites out there. A few of the prime ones embrace: SolidGigsFlexJobsVollnaFiverrFreelancer, and Upwork. Every of those have their strengths and weaknesses — SolidGigs finds the roles for you, whereas the opposite 4 you hunt your self.

Each freelance market is fairly saturated and aggressive, so it’s important to discover methods to make your profile stand out!

For extra freelance job web site choices, take a look at more sites like Upwork.

Are you going freelance?

So, what is a freelancer?

In case you are on the lookout for a job the place you might be your personal boss, you’ve gotten an excessive amount of flexibility, you select what you’re employed on, and you’re employed with totally different folks on a regular basis, the the reply to that query is––you!

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Millo Articles by Kylie Burgener

Written by Kylie Burgener

Employees at

Kylie Jackson Burgener is a mom of three and a contract advisor, specializing in public relations, writing and content material advertising and marketing. She is a cofounder of Measured Melodies, a leveled piano sheet music system for piano lecturers and college students. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina together with her household.

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At Millo, we try to publish solely one of the best, most reliable and dependable content material for freelancers. You may study extra by reviewing our editorial policy.

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