Freelance work is becoming the preferred way of working for many people around the Globe. According to a survey by Upwork/Freelancers Union: “36% of the US workers (57.3 million) in 2017 are freelancers who work from home. They collectively contribute $1.4 trillion to the economy every year. It’s a 30% increase since 2016.”
In this article you will find out:
- What does freelance mean?
- Who is a freelancer?
- What are the different kinds of freelance careers?
- The best freelance websites
- How to find freelance work
Freelancing basically means working with different clients on a project basis as opposed to working by being employed full-time.
When you freelance, your income is determined either by the nature of the project or by the number of hours you put in and clients you have. Freelancing also means you usually have a lot more freedom in terms of the hours you work, where you work from, and how you want to distribute your workload.
Who Is A Freelancer?
A freelancer is someone with a specific skill(s) that they leverage to work on different projects. They prefer not to be employed full-time and choose to work with a number of clients instead.
Freelancers usually have skills that lend themselves easily to project-type work. For instance, artists, writers, designers, and programmers can all break down their work by working on different projects.
Here’s why many people choose to freelance instead of being employed full-time:
- There’s a lot more control over time.
In most cases, clients focus only on the final deliverable and not on how and when the freelancer is working. This is great for freelancers who require flexibility in terms of when they work.
For instance, many freelancers may have kids they need to be with between say 2 pm and 8 pm. As a result, they may choose not to work in those hours. This kind of flexibility is very hard to achieve if you work full time for someone.
- People are also free to work from wherever they choose to.
Many freelance projects in writing, designing, and programming don’t require the freelancer and client to be in the same location. As a result, many freelancers are “digital nomads”. They travel the world while working on projects remotely.
- Many freelancers also like the independence that comes with not working for just one employer.
Working on different projects also gives them a chance to explore diverse subjects and acquire new skills. Many feel it even gives them more financial security as their eggs are not in one basket.
At the same time, hiring freelancers is increasingly becoming the go-to choice for many employers. Here’s why:
- Many companies have the kind of work that isn’t enough to necessarily hire a full-time employee.
In that case, it makes more economic sense to give the project to a freelancer.
- Sometimes, companies may not have certain skills available in-house.
In such a case, they prefer hiring a qualified freelancer who can temporarily or even permanently fill the skill gap.
Different Categories Of Freelancing
Not every kind of job lends itself well to freelancing. Here are some of the top categories of freelance jobs that have come into their own in the recent past.
In today’s day and age, a lot of marketing happens online. In fact, companies now spend 35% of their marketing budget on digital marketing. When it comes to digital marketing, a lot depends on skills and knowledge.
As a result, many companies hire freelancers who have expertise in a particular niche. These niches include SEO, influencer marketing, content marketing, app store optimization, and so on.
Graphic Design Freelance
As technology advances, people are emphasizing more and more on visuals. From infographics to a stunning website, a good design is key. Graphic design is another field that lends itself very easily to freelance projects.
Designers also enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with freelancing. Many of the most sought-after graphic designers today work as freelancers.
Writing is another talent that lends itself easily to freelancing. Content marketing is the key to getting noticed for many companies and effective content marketing needs talented writers.
From e-books and whitepapers to op-eds, blog posts, and features, there are more than enough freelance writing opportunities out there.
Freelance Web Developer / Freelance Programming
Many non-tech companies would prefer not to have a full-time tech team just to build their app or website. These companies outsource their web development and maintenance to freelance web developers.
Web developers are happy because they get more clients, are paid better, and have access to diverse projects. Employers are happy because they don’t need to invest in full-time resources.
Even tech companies use freelance programmers on many occasions. For instance, they may be working on a one-time project that requires niche blockchain or AI skills.
Training an existing employee or hiring a new one doesn’t make enough financial sense. As a result, they choose to hire a freelance programmer who has those specialized skills.
There are several websites that connect freelancers with clients across the world. Here are some of the most prominent ones.
Upwork is one of the best sites to find genuine freelance work as a writer, coder, designer, etc. It massively reduces the chances of fraud since all payments are processed through it.
Toptal works only in 4 domains – design, programming, finance, and project management. They also have a very thorough vetting process and allow only the top 3% of freelancers on their platform. As a result, freelancers can command high rates and employers are assured quality work.
Guru has been around since 2001. It has an extensive profiling process so that clients and freelancers can both review each other’s profiles. It’s great for freelancers looking for projects in designing, writing, IT, marketing, and administration.
Several websites cater to just one kind of freelance work. Here are some good examples:
How To Find Freelance Work
Here are the things you need to keep in mind to find lucrative and satisfying freelance gigs.
Find Profitable Niches
It’s important to find the right niche as a freelancer. For instance, as a freelance writer, you need to find the niches you are comfortable writing in which also pay well.
The narrower and more profitable your niche is, the more likely you are to find lucrative work. Once you decide your niches you can work toward building your portfolio accordingly.
A critical part of successful freelancing is being open to learning constantly. Use online resources like Udemy, Skillshare, and Treehouse to constantly upgrade your skills or learn a new in-demand skill from scratch.
Marketing is an essential skill that every freelancer needs to cultivate. This ranges from attending conferences and building networks on Linkedin to finding the right online gigs to apply to.
With technology making the world is more connected than ever before, more people are choosing to freelance. Freelancing is as much a lifestyle choice as it is a career decision.
It comes with much greater levels of freedom and flexibility. At the same time, it’s important to market yourself strategically to succeed as a freelancer.
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