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Freelance work: what is it + tips


The freelance services market is growing at a rapid pace. Companies are increasingly interested in attracting freelance diversified specialists, as it is more profitable for them to pay for a specific service than to recruit a large staff of employees. On the other hand, this approach also has advantages for a freelancer who is not tied to a specific organization and can receive income from various sources. Therefore, we offer a complete guide on what freelancing is, who it is suitable for and how to find it.

Freelance work: what is it + tips

What is freelancing

Freelance (eng. Freelance) – freelance work without registration of labor relations; an activity in which a person works for himself and not for a company, as opposed to employment. This is a simple form of business in which a specialist provides a specific service to a client for a set fee.

Freelance work is a type of self-employment that is carried out on a flexible basis in cooperation with various clients. In most areas of activity, freelance work can be done remotely, that is, at home.

What is a freelancer

A person who works freelance is called a "freelancer". This is a freelance worker; self-employed person offering professional services. His earnings consist of a fixed hourly rate, daily wage or project cost.

The term "freelancer" first occurs in the historical novel Ivanhoe (1819) by Walter Scott as a description of a "medieval mercenary warrior" who was not tied to a particular lord and hired for a specific task. Free lance translates as "free spear", which refers to a long weapon used by knights on horseback to knock opponents off their horses. Over time, the term continued to mean "independent" on the battlefield, then began to be applied in politics and, finally, to any work.

A freelancer is not officially listed as an employee in the staff of the company for which he provides services, and, therefore, can simultaneously work on tasks for individuals, firms, unless he is contractually obligated to work exclusively for one customer until the completion of a specific project.

Freelance work – what is the point

Freelance work: what is it + tips

Freelancers are usually understood as short-term or part-time professionals, but the scope of their work can vary from temporary one-time assignments as part-time work in addition to full-time employment to long-term full-time projects.

Freelancers, like sole proprietorships (IEs), are often categorized as self-employed, although if the sole proprietorship is a separate business unit, then the term "freelancer" does not refer to a specific legal status. Freelancers can register as sole proprietorships or limited liability partnerships.

In European labor legislation, the definition of “freelancer" is not fixed, but there is a concept of a self-employed person as one who is engaged in income-generating activities at his own expense, in accordance with the provisions of national legislation.

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) classifies freelancers as self-employed individuals whose sole obligation is to pay income tax in advance in quarterly installments, as taxes are not withheld from their salaries. In addition to income tax, a registered freelancer is also subject to self-employment tax (if the employee earned more than $400 in the tax year) at a rate of 15.3%, which goes to social security (12.4%) and health insurance (2.9% ).

Freelancers can work as part of freelance companies, agencies that offer services to clients, or independently search for work on special websites. Freelancing is common in technology and creative industries, including computer programming, IT technology, journalism, web design, translation, copywriting, music, cinema, etc.

Ways to find a job for a freelancer

Freelance work: what is it + tips

There are three main ways to make money effectively freelancing online:

Working with clients directly

It includes searching for clients, communicating with them directly through their own channels (social networks, dating, etc.). This is the hardest route to find the right freelancing job, but it offers the highest returns because there are no middlemen in the deal. Direct cooperation with customers creates sustainable relationships, which is especially important in the long term.


For freelancers who don’t like the hassle of finding and communicating with individual clients, the option is to act as an independent subcontractor to another company or agency, providing them with contracted services.

This model is pretty simple. Firms prefer to hire a limited number of full-time employees and often outsource work on specialized parts of projects to freelancers.

A company sells a large project to a client and then breaks that contract into “subcontracts” that are outsourced to other agencies or freelancers. A web development agency sells the complete website project but outsources the copywriting to a freelance copywriter outside the agency itself.

Job Sites

The Internet offers many opportunities for freelancing, the most popular of which is through special online marketplaces with vacancies for freelancers – Upwork, Fiverr, FlexJobs, SolidGigs, Freesy, Freelancer, Peopleperhour.

For Russian-speaking copywriters, there are eTXT, Advego, TEXT.RU content exchanges. Such platforms serve as an intermediary, bringing together freelance project customers with applicants, and usually work according to the following principle. Customers place orders for the implementation of projects with terms of reference, a deadline for the completion of work, at a fixed price or an hourly or daily rate. Orders on these resources are placed by category, which makes it easier to find them. Specialists submit applications for the execution of an order, and the customer selects a suitable contractor among them.

If the client’s requirements are met, he accepts the work and payment is made (the money is credited to the contractor’s account within a few hours). The sites charge a percentage (5%) of the order value as a transaction fee. There is a high level of competition on popular remote job search resources, so a novice freelancer should be ready to take on less attractive jobs with lower pay early on to show the quality of work.

But with the acquisition of skills, experience and a good reputation, you can find a reliable high-paying job without resorting to constant searches. On online services, performers should develop relationships with clients over time and form a portfolio with examples of work. Most resources in user profiles have a section with reviews that affect their reputation.

Methods and payment for services

Freelance work: what is it + tips

The methods, principles of work of freelancers and the design of their relationship with customers differ by industry. In areas such as auditing, consulting (a person hired for temporary advice on specific issues within the company), freelance specialists work under written contracts with agreed conditions. Journalists, writers can work according to "specifications" (technical specifications of the customer with detailed instructions for the implementation of the project).

Freelancers who are interested in permanent work may be hired by the firm to perform services under a civil law contract for a specific period. This serves as a "trial period" for a specialist before being hired full-time.

Freelancing income

Freelancing income is considered as a main or additional income. It depends on the industry, location, skills, experience of the specialist. Freelancers set hourly, daily, or project costs based on the type of service provided, skill level, and time required to complete the project. The settlement procedure usually includes an advance payment (as a percentage of the principal) or full payment upon completion. For complex and large projects, the contract establishes a payment schedule, according to the completed stages or specific results. It is also practiced to perform work on the basis of oral agreements in a trusting relationship.

To ensure that they receive payments, freelancers work through special freelance platforms where customers are held liable in case of non-compliance with the conditions. On the stock exchanges, the performers submit applications for the execution of placed orders, the price of which suits them.

Payment methods for freelance services sometimes differ between performers and customers. Large customers, such as enterprises, comply with internal financial policies. A professional who is used to being paid by the hour may be asked to accept payment for specific work done. Before accepting or rejecting a task, they try to negotiate favorable terms for both parties.

According to a 2019 study, the average freelancer in the US makes $20-$28 an hour. Text translation services bring in $5-10 per hour. Whereas software developers earn $75 and even hundreds of dollars per hour.

Freelance work types

Freelance work: what is it + tips

Freelancers work in various service industries. But the most common freelance jobs are in the creative industries. Journalist, photographer, copywriter, designer, musician, artist, website developer, model.

Companies, organizations, government agencies hire freelancers as independent contractors of various professions. Developing countries outside of Europe and the US are outsourcing much of the computer programming work.

According to the American Freelance Industry Report, the most demanded industries in freelancing are:

  • writing texts, editing, proofreading, copywriting – 38%,
  • design – 20%,
  • transfer – 8%,
  • web development – 6%,
  • marketing – 4%.

According to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute, in the US, 20-30% of the working-age population is engaged in freelancing. But according to forecasts, this figure will grow to 40% in the next 5-7 years.


A freelancer, acting as an independent contractor, automatically receives copyright for them when creating products. You do not need to register to own these rights. But in litigation against publishers for copyright infringement, it may be required. Although usually the dispute will be settled in favor of the authors, regardless of the presence of copyright registration.

According to the rules of content creation marketplaces (content exchanges), articles posted on web resources and printed publications must be signed with the name of the author or not signed at all. Specifying a third party as the author is not allowed and is considered a copyright infringement. In some countries (UK), the attribution of the author confirms the provision of professional services subject to taxation. Copyright does not arise if a freelancer signs a contract indicating "work for hire".

Pros and cons of freelancing

Freelance work: what is it + tips

Freelancing, like any other job, has advantages and disadvantages that are important to weigh for those who are thinking of moving into this field full-time.


Currently, freelancing remains a non-standard job with a number of disadvantages, including:

  1. Less stability than in employment. A freelancer does not have a regular set salary, unlike a salaried employee. His earnings depend on the number of customers, orders and their value. Therefore, he has no job security and less financial stability. Precarious freelancing is known as "feast or hunger syndrome". In one month, you can be busy with work on the edge. And in the next – orders may not arrive. Having a permanent contract with one client is risky. Because at any time he can refuse services. Freelancing requires good money management and a constant search for new clients.
  2. Payment delays. When payment is made on the basis of verbal agreements, customers may make payments late or refuse them altogether.
  3. Lack of social benefits. Freelancers do not receive government benefits (bonuses, sick leave, paid annual leave. As well as pension payments, health insurance in countries without public health care, including the United States).

Additional cons

  1. The income level is lower than that of employees. There is a significant gap in the wages of employees and freelancers. A full-time graduate freelancer typically earns 1.5 to 2 times less than a full-time full-time employee of the same experience and age.
  2. Wide range of responsibilities. A self-employed person acts as the owner of his own business and is fully responsible for the result of his work. And all this in contrast to hired employees responsible for a limited range of job duties. It performs all tasks related to the workflow: setting working hours, closing deals, fulfilling orders, maintaining project records, paying taxes, etc.
  3. It takes time to build a career. Freelancers need to invest in themselves, whether it’s training courses, buying software, or branding. To make a name for yourself and a good reputation, you need to start by doing low-paying jobs. To gain experience, establish relationships with customers, create a portfolio. It takes a lot of time to create a name, and even more time to find regular customers who offer stable work. Careful money management and constant search for new prospects are the keys to success.


Working as a freelancer has many benefits that allow you to create a comfortable work environment with hobbies. Some of them:

  1. Possibility to work at home. A freelancer can work remotely – from anywhere in the world where there is access to the Internet. This allows you to travel without interruption in working mode.
  2. Convenient, flexible working hours. A self-employed person can independently choose when and how many hours a day to work; set your own schedule to combine work with personal matters for the rational use of time. Experienced professionals with a high level of knowledge can work part-time, but with full-time pay.
  3. Availability. Freelancing is quick and easy to get started. It is available to everyone (including students, graduates, working people, those who have lost or cannot find a permanent job), as opposed to employment, which requires experience.
  4. Free choice of clients for cooperation. Self-employed persons independently choose which projects to take on and which clients to work for, not limited to specific market sectors.
  5. Workload management, income. The freelancer is his own boss. He sets goals, chooses the direction of the business, plans the financial future, controls the earning potential. He also personally sets a fixed cost for services, an hourly rate, or decides at what price to take orders for work.
  6. Variety of activities. Freelancing covers different areas, which allows people to develop. Those who have many interests and want to try something new will find a job that matches their interests and hobbies.

Character traits required for a freelancer

Freelance work: what is it + tips

To succeed in freelancing, a person must possess the following basic qualities:

  • Discipline. A freelancer does not have a boss and colleagues who monitor his actions. He himself is responsible for productivity, rational, efficient use of time. Therefore, self-motivation and discipline are necessary in order not to go astray.
  • Perseverance. Persistence is important, especially at the beginning of freelance work, when patience and perseverance in finding orders are needed.
  • Persistence. When searching for orders, performers often hear “no”. But failure is only part of the experience, so it shouldn’t stop you on your way to your goal.
  • Organization. A freelancer is responsible for different tasks. It tracks income and expenses. Or promptly responds to customer emails, meets deadlines. You need to be organized, consistent, to organize files, optimize your workload.
  • Sociability. Freelance work requires a lot of communication. You don’t have to be too open. But to attract new customers, you need sociability to communicate comfortably with strangers in person or online. The specialist must be ready to negotiate with clients. For example, agree on a higher rate, refuse a customer or interrupt a long-term cooperation. And do it tactfully and professionally. There is no manager or colleague here who will take care of this.
  • Adaptability, the desire for development. A freelancer needs to be ready to adapt to new conditions. Constantly develop, expand the knowledge of the industry, as they face a high level of competition. A capacious portfolio with examples of work performed, demonstrating experience and skills, is extremely important.


Freelancing is a job covering different types of activities. Flexible schedule, the ability to work from home at a convenient time and be your own boss. And these are just a couple of the advantages of this way of earning. Whether it is cooperation directly with clients, subcontracting or through the job market. With the help of this guide, you can find the right freelancing job and succeed in it.

Post source: kakzarabotat.net

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