Freelancing – All You Need To Know

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Freelancing – All You Need To Know

The Gig Economy

Let us begin with a basic introduction about freelancing. Freelance is a job where a person is self-employed and works for himself, rather than a comp

Let us begin with a basic introduction about freelancing. Freelance is a job where a person is self-employed and works for himself, rather than a company. The person is not necessarily committed to a particular employer for the long term. Although they take on contracts from companies, they are ultimately self-employed. Freelancing has given rise to a new form of labor market which is referred to as the Gig Economy.

Freelancing is an attractive option if you want to work independently with full freedom and want to avoid working under someone’s control. Freelancers are not bound by the company’s code of conduct. They have the freedom to choose their working hours, projects to work on, and are responsible for paying their own employment and business taxes. Companies do not refer to freelancers as employees, but contractors. Freelancers are paid on an hourly or daily basis or based on the contract agreed between the company and the freelancer. The term ‘freelancer’ does not refer to any specific legal status, but fits in the broader term ‘self-employed’.

How do you describe the work you do?

There are numerous terms used for describing freelance jobs that can be used to help you find freelance jobs and to explain your work to potential clients. You can use words like: freelance jobs, contract work, contract jobs, or independent contractor. These terms can easily convey the type of work you do and explain how is it done. This terminology can also be used when you are looking for freelance jobs on the web or somewhere around you.

How to find freelance work?

Look for companies that are known to hire freelancers. Some companies act as intermediaries between freelancers and companies who hire such people. The companies usually have their built-up website where they list numerous freelance jobs offered by companies around the world and the freelancers can take a look and fill the bid in whichever project they are interested. Companies look for top websites that can post their freelance openings where a major crowd of freelancers visits in a day.

Career fields in freelancing

Freelancers are not only hired by private companies, but also public companies, organizations, non-profits, and government agencies. One can find freelance jobs in almost every career imaginable. Freelance projects vary from short-term, temporary projects to long-term, full-time projects. Some of the most frequently listed freelance openings listed on top freelancing websites are:

Computer & IT, Accounting & Finance, HR & Recruiting, Editing, Proofreading, Writing, Administrative, Project Management, Data Entry, Analyst, Software Development, and Technical Support.

Some freelancers take up industry-specific projects like real-estate assistants, while some pay prefer specific skill niche projects like writing. The terms freelancing is getting more and more common in culture and creative industries. Some fields, professions, and industries where freelancing is predominant are: writing, music, web design, computer programming, translating, graphic design, and illustrating. Freelancing is not something out of the world. Like all other career fields and work, freelancing also comes with its pros and cons. Before entering into the world of freelancers, one must be aware of the upcoming challenges and must be prepared to deal with reality.

Pros

Freelance jobs come with a flood of advantages for the freelancer. Let us read, how freelancing can benefit a person:

You can control your workload. You can decide your income. When you are a freelancer, you are in the driver’s seat and you can decide which way to turn. So, you have the right to choose your field of work, your income, and your working hours. You are the one who will decide your pay rate. Other added perks are flexibility and remote work. Most of the freelance jobs are work from home. The place and timings of work are all your choice. You can set your own work goals and direction of your business. Another benefit of being a freelancer is there is no need to face the initial startup costs which a businessman faces. Although the market is very competitive, the demand for reliable and skill-loaded freelancers is high. Many companies prefer hiring freelancers than employees because it costs less. A study has concluded that 84% of full-time freelancers get their preferred lifestyle, while only 64% of full-time non-freelancers get their preferred lifestyle.

Cons

Freelancing is like a bed of roses, appears beautiful and soft, but has thorns too.

These days, companies offer numerous additional benefits to their employees, like medical insurance, and some basic allowances like transport and food. As a freelancer, you are a business owner, and you have these additional responsibilities like staying on top of taxes, invoices, payments received, finding your health insurance, and buying all the software and technology you need to complete your work because your client would not pay you for this. Freelancing requires a constant source of clients and good money management. Freelancing does not offer the stability of work and there is less stability of future work than employees.

Characteristics of a good freelancer

Here are some qualities that will you should possess for being a successful freelancer. These are not hard-and-fast rules, but some tips and ideas of the qualities on which you should focus.

Persistence

Persistence is a very important characteristic, especially when you are just getting started as a freelancer. A persistent freelancer has more chances to work successfully earlier than a non-persistent one. Perseverance is very crucial when it comes to freelancing.

Discipline

Self-discipline is necessary for a freelancer. When you know there is no boss to watch over you, you should focus on your work and avoid wasting time. Nobody is there to judge you when you skip your working hours, but you will face consequences later. It is very necessary to stay on track.

Resilience

There is one word which you will hear more than anything as a freelancer: “no”. Rejection is the name of the game, and you are going to need to let it roll off your back, without getting sad. Just learn to move on.

Organization

Learn to organize your work and time. Planning can multiply your efficiency when it comes to organizing tasks as per deadlines. There are many tasks you need to take care of, like your income, expenses, and taxes, keeping a check on emails and responses, and staying on top of deadlines. To keep your workload streamlined, do not forget to organize things.

Communicative

Being a freelancer demands a lot of communication. You need to be ever ready to have the hard conversations—like negotiating a higher rate of breaking up with a client—and handle them tactfully and professionally. There is nobody above or below you to take care of these things, so you need to do them yourself.

Statistics

Source: Wikipedia

According to Statista, it is projected that in 2028, 90.1 million people will be freelancing in the United States and will make up 50.9 percent of the total U.S. workforce. According to the 2012 Freelance Industry Report, researched and compiled primarily about the continent of North America, nearly 50% of the freelancers do writing work, with 18% of freelancers mentioning writing as a primary skill, 10% of them mentioning editing/copy-editing, and 10% as copy-writing. Whereas, 20% of freelancers listed their primary skills as design. The next fields on the list were translating (8%), web development (5.5%), and marketing (4%).

A McKinsey study compiled in 2018 found that up to 162 million people in Europe and the United States engage in some form of independent work. It represents 20 percent to 30 percent of the entire working-age population.

The actual number of freelancers in the country of USA is inexact, however, as of 2013, the most recent governmental report on independent contractors was published in 2005 by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. At that time, there were approximately 10.3 million United States workers, which amounts to 7.4% of the workforce, employed as independent contractors of all sorts. In 2011, Jeffrey Eisenach estimated that number of freelancers had grown by 1 million. In 2012, the Aberdeen Group, which is a private research company, researched and compiled data with which it estimated that 26% of the United States population was a part of the contingent workforce, a category of casual labor that includes freelancing.

In the year 2013, the Freelancers Union estimated that every 1 in 3 workers in the USA was self-employed (approximately 42 million), with more than 4 million (43%) of those self-employed workers belong to the creative industries, a collection of tasks specifically associated with freelance industries, such as knowledge workers, website development, technologists, professional writers, artists, entertainers, and media workers.

In 2016, the Freelancers Union estimated that 35% of the workforce in the United States of America was self-employed. This workforce earned an estimated $1 trillion from freelancing in 2016 that makes a significant share of the U.S. economy. In the year 2017, a study by MBO Partners estimated that there are a total of 40.9 million self-employed Americans aged 21 and above.

The total number of freelancers in the United Kingdom is also inexact, but we can get an estimated number in terms of figures from the Office of National Statistics which show that people working mainly at or from home rose from 9.2% in 2001 to 10.7% in 2011. With this increase, it was estimated that there are approximately 1.7 million freelancers in the UK.

Freelancing is seen as a gendered form of work. The 2012 Freelance Industry Report estimated that more than 71% of freelancers around the world are women between the ages of 30 and 50. Surveys of other specific areas of freelancing showed similar trends. Demographic research on Amazon Mechanical Turk revealed that the majority of North American Mechanical Turk workers are women. A research on journalism as a profession, by Catherine McKercher, has showcased that while media organizations are still male-dominated, the reverse is true for freelance journalists and editors, whose ranks are mainly women.

According to Upwork, citizens of America work an average of 47 hours per week. Freelancers work an average of 11 hours less per week than full-time employed workers. That adds up to about 550 hours per year or 23 whole days. A study shows that in the year 2018, 57 million Americans were freelancers compared to 53 million in 2014. In total, Americans spent 1.07 billion hours on freelance work per week, compared to 998 million hours in 2015. In 2018, found freelancing jobs online, which clearly states that technology supports the gig economy.

Full-time traditional workers spend nearly an additional full month each year behind the keyboard (or wherever they work). Freelancers are contributing approximately $1.4 trillion annually to the economy, an increase of almost 30% since last year.

The United States of America ranks first in the number of freelancers with countries like India and the Philippines following behind.

Find more knowledge and statistics about freelancing here and here.

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