What is freelancing?
Freelancing is a job of a person that works for themselves and offers services, rather than for a company. While freelancers do take on contract work for companies and organizations, they are ultimately self-employed. They are not attached to one company only but many are not necessarily committed to a particular employer in terms of long-partnership, they can be also known to be ‘Contractors’.
Freelancing is basically a different way to work. Rather than being employed by a company in one specific job, freelancers are self-employed and find work via a variety of sources. Clients hire a freelancer to complete a task, project, or service for them. Freelancers often work on a range of projects at any one time for various clients. Freelancers are responsible for paying their own tax, pension, etc, and managing their own time, priorities, and workload.
Freelancers can do many things, such as virtual admin, writing, editing, ICT, consultancy, design, marketing and so on. Often, these tasks are completed online or via a computer, but some are done in-person.
Most Common Freelance Career Fields
1. SEO professional – Search Engine Optimization (SEO), sometimes called Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is an exciting field in the digital world. As one of the more popular freelance jobs, SEO comes with a long list of required technical skills, including an understanding of link building, Google algorithms, keywords, and more.
2. Programmer – you can write computer software and code from anywhere as long as you have a computer and the Internet. The increase in tech companies means there is a lot of work available, and small businesses and individuals are always looking to create their own websites. There’s no shortage of work for experienced programmers.
3. Photographer/Videographer – freelance photographer or video producer, you’ll have to dazzle clients with a solid body of work showcasing polished content production and editing skills. An understanding of digital distribution channels is also a plus, as clients are constantly looking for assets tailored to individual platforms. With a few years’ work experience in this area, the right equipment, and a solid portfolio, it will be much easier to break into this market.
4. Writer or copywriter – writing is still one of the most popular jobs in the gig economy. With content being declared the king of modern marketing, companies have hefty budgets for producing high-quality articles, blogs, guides, press releases and other types of written content.
5. Developer (coder, programmer) – Programming has been, and is currently, one of the most in-demand careers in the world. Since seemingly every business, organization and creative project needs a strong online footprint, there is a need for qualified professionals to build it.
6. Designer – Creative design is a particularly popular field of work that can include graphic design, motion, or web asset creation.
Pro and Cons of Freelancing
There are a lot of benefits that come along with freelancing as well as a lot of pitfalls.
Let’s start with the good stuff:
- You are your own boss. Freelancing allows you to make your own schedule, take on the projects you like and with people you like to work with.
- You have better control of your tax with tax deduction benefits.
- Depending on the clients, you can probably work remotely at the comfort of your home office.
- You help reduce carbon footprint by not having to drive to work.
- The hourly rate is a lot higher than a full time hourly rate. Essentially your hours have a higher market value.
- You get to customize and set up your own hardware and software so you can have the most current bells and whistles.
- Increase productivity with less distraction from the typical office chatter of a full-time job.
- Though tight deadlines are often part of the freelance equation, you don’t have someone constantly hovering your shoulders.
- You get to work with interesting clients in exciting projects from all over the world.
- Your vacation time is entirely up to you. You can take off whenever you want which gives you full control over work/life balance.
Here comes the pitfalls:
- Work can be inconsistent. You may have weeks off between jobs. It can feel scary during the lean months.
- Depending on your monthly burn rate, you probably need some significant savings before leaping into contract work.
- It is difficult to get a mortgage loan as a freelancer.
- No medical, and no bonuses that typically comes with a full time job.
- Hardwares and softwares and anything else are out of pocket costs.
- Juggling and scheduling multiple projects can be challenging and draining should you choose to take on more than one project.
- Working around the hours is typically, sometimes late nights and weekends to meet certain deadlines. Just make sure you charge more for expedite service.
- Can come in randomly with a quick turn around, so you need to be flexible. Or you can always turn it down if you can afford it.
- Part of striving or surviving the freelance life requires extra time devoted to acquiring new clients by marketing, promoting and simply meeting new people.
- Since you are the center of the business, you are responsible for administrative work like invoicing, cashing checks, and keeping track of your taxes.
Traits and Characteristics Needed as a Freelancer
There aren’t any hardbound traits and characteristics that every freelancer should possess. However, if you want to increase the revenue and get clients easily and keep them happy, you should definitely have these few qualities:
Punctuality: See, the clients generally give you a deadline that they want the project to be completed by the specified time. The reason for this is basically that they need the particular project done within that much time, and they are either too busy to finish the project themselves or are not skilled enough to do it. If you are not punctual, it may just defeat the very purpose of hiring you.
Patience: This is another one of the most important qualities, because often the clients may give you projects that might be tougher than the rest, or may give you loads of details about how they want the project done. Sometimes they may ask you to make changes to what you submit, and to handle all this you require patience.
Moral and Forceful Suasion: Yes, I am aware that “forceful suasion” sounds like an oxymoron, because it is one. However there is no better way to explain this. Often due to the client’s own fault, you may be forced to do something that wasn’t agreed upon beforehand. In such cases, you need to persuade them quite forcefully. You have to remain the dominant party. This is also to be used when a client tries to force a project to you, which you do not want to do. The word “moral” has been added because you need to be aware whether the reason for persuading them is right moral or not
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