What is Freelance Work? Freelancing Tips for Beginners

what is freelance work

The global situation we are in right now makes many people look for alternative ways to make ends meet. With the imposed measures to counter the pandemic, alternative ways to work are in order. While it may sound grim, the situation could not have come at a better time. Fast communication speeds and global coverage is available now. With this, it is possible to work almost anywhere. That is why more people are interested in knowing what is freelance work.

Freelance work is where a self-employed person does contractual work for clients. Contract jobs, freelance gigs, and independent contractors all belong to freelancing. Freelancers differ from traditional employees because of their self-employed nature. 

The pandemic forced companies to turn to freelance and remote work. If you are an aspiring freelancer, you must have a lot of questions about what is freelance work. Take heart, because answers are coming as you continue reading below.

Defining What Is Freelance Work

The basic definition of freelance work is doing a job for a client while being outside of employment. A freelance job is a contractual work. The relationship ends when the work gets done. The freelancer can then move on to other contracts, and the cycle continues.

The differences do not end there because freelancing is not in the same field as a traditional job. Most of the time they are responsible for their own logistics, internet, and power. A traditional employee rarely encounters these things.

A freelancer has the freedom and control over the way they work but it also involves hard work. Getting into the freelance gig economy means taking on more responsibilities. While this may be true, it allows you to work anywhere.

How Does Freelancing Work?

For most people, freelancing is another job done on a different platform. While this is not wrong, if you treat freelancing as a job, it will become that. Yet, freelance work and being an independent contractor has the potential to be so much more than a job. In fact, if you treat freelancing as a business, that is when you will get the most out of it.

Most of the jobs involved in freelancing are contractual in nature. Thus, how your clients see the work you completed for them is of paramount importance. Client satisfaction is a huge factor in a freelancer’s life. By having satisfied clients, your reputation builds itself up and brings more of them in.

This is not an 8-5 daily grind where no matter what you do, you still get paid the same. Here effort begets rewards, especially when done in a strategic manner. Freelancing has limitless opportunities to earn, unlike a regular job. That is why it’s important to really know what is freelance work and how you can make it work for you.

Freelancer vs. Contractor

To differentiate these two, we need to define them in as straightforward a manner as possible. They are quite similar in some aspects, but there are enough differences to separate them. Let us take a closer look at each of them and what makes them different.

Freelancer

Classified under this group are those who usually work on a per-project basis. Usually, they work on short-term projects more often than not. Freelancers work when and wherever they can. They are subject to the deadlines and timeframes specific to each project. It is for this reason why a freelancer is also often called a remote worker. A freelancer gets their pay either before or after project completion. At other times, they get compensation after milestones or after a part of a project gets done. An advantage when you work in a freelance gig is that you can engage as many clients as you can handle.

Contractor

A contractor is a temporary employee by the company or person who hires them. But, the duration of their relationship is usually long-term. While freelancers work on short-term projects, it is the opposite for contractors. When they are on a contract, they are usually to be onsite. With this, they lose the flexibility of the freelancer to work anywhere. Because of this, contractors can handle fewer clients than a freelancer can.

Be it a freelancer or a contractor, both work for employers in a temporary capacity. Because of this, they enjoy a more stable work-life balance than conventional employees. To recap, freelancers have total and complete control over who to work with and where to do it. Freelancers get paid per project and are generally engaged in short-term projects. Contractors have less control over time and work preferences. They work in larger scoped projects and are on board for longer.

The Type of Work Freelancers Do

What is freelance work and what kind of services can you provide? There are individual stereotypical personalities when people are talking about freelancers. That will be that anyone involved in a freelance gig is somehow related to creatives. It is not wrong, but there is so much more than just writing or creating content when it comes to freelancing. Thinking that they may have limited options scares some people in choosing this path. In reality, the opposite is true. Here is a roundup of some of the most common ways to earn money online as a freelancer or independent contractor.

Freelance Photography/Videographer

Creating content via visual platforms is one way to earn. Photography and videography are among the most popular go-to skills for freelancing. Photography is as wide-ranging as life itself and can be quite specific. This is great news because a lot of people already have this skill to varying degrees. Speaking of portfolios, it does not matter if you have one or not because it will be easy to create. It is all about consistency from the first video and photo you showcase to make sure you stand out. Identify your niche and take it from there. Examples start from wildlife, electronics, pets, family, lifestyle, and even stock photography.

Web Developer/Programmer

While this one may be as specific as jobs come, web development and programming are always in demand. Like many others, the skills needed here can be learned in various ways, and you will be glad to know that a large number of programmers are self-taught. By this, we mean you can be one from zero. If you already have the skills and are currently holding on to a corporate job, this year might be the time to make some changes. Start by building your online presence on various platforms. From there begin marketing your programming and web development skills. Like most freelancing jobs, identifying your niche early on is one key to making sure you are noticed.

Graphic Designer

If you are good at drawing stuff, especially digital drawings, now may be a great time to put them to use. Drawing is a learned skill, which means you can study and acquire such skills. Graphic designers are involved in many visual images you see as you surf the world wide web, from logos to infographics and up to ebooks. Graphic designers are pretty much responsible for the colorful designs you see in print both online and in the real world. Creative design is a contract job where you can build a lucrative business for yourself as an independent contractor.

Virtual Assistant (VA)

If you did office work at one point in your professional life, being a virtual assistant may be something you can do. Being virtual, you can perform your tasks in the comfort of your couch or a home office if you have one. A virtual assistant is like being an assistant but from the comfort of wherever place you choose. The tasks are many but each is quite easy to do such as data entry jobs.

Freelance Writer

If ever there is an award for being the classic freelance job, it would be writing. Being a wordsmith, especially this year, saved many from being jobless amid quarantines and lockdowns. Writing became a freelancer skill ever since someone was paid for doing it. Writing overlaps other freelancing jobs, such as SEO campaigns, videography, and blogging. The best part? Most writing gigs need very little to no experience, provided you show even a hint of wordsmithing skill.

Digital Marketer

Is someone who uses digital channels to build awareness for a product. The primary purpose of a digital marketer is to drive traffic towards a product or service. A digital marketer uses content to generate interest that will turn casual visitors into paying customers. They are adept at reading current trends and apply them to their campaigns. Being experts in business analytics, they plan their posting and content to the greatest effectiveness.

How to Make Money with Freelancing?

Knowing what is freelance work and how you can make money with it can bring you to places. A freelancer’s most potent weapon is the will for continuous self-improvement. They work to add even more to a growing stack of skills. If the reward you seek is to earn money, the same answer applies. The more varied your skills are the more services you can offer, and thus more ways of getting paid. Clients can now get your services as an all-in-one solution and along with it are financial gains. Continue investing in new learnings so you can remain relevant in your chosen field.

How to Find Freelance Work?

As many people are becoming interested to know what is freelance work, they are also inclined to knowing where to find one. Finding freelance jobs, especially online or work-from-home jobs, is not as hard as it used to be nowadays. There are no shortages of people looking for skilled remote workers to do various jobs for them. Now, many platforms do an adequate job of matching a contractor to an employer. The best part is that most of these platforms offer their services for free and added benefits for a small fee. For the most part, you can join any of them for free and start looking for work immediately. Take a look at the list below for the top platforms to start your freelancing career in.

Upwork

With over 5 million clients and over 12 million freelancers, this is a solid platform. It is one of the oldest platforms out there with a solid reputation for being fair to both parties. Upwork is usually the first platform that a contractor will come in contact with.

upwork homepage screenshot

Freelancer

This is a platform that uses friendly competitions to showcase its members’ skills. Having a good portfolio might be a good idea before competing with other freelancers on this platform.

freelancer homepage screenshot

Toptal

Caters to top talents and makes them available for their services. Their promise to clients is that they only showcase the top 3% of freelance talent. Because of this, most people here have experience and fetch higher fees. You can try this platform when you have gained enough knowledge in your particular niche.

Toptal homepage screenshot

People Per Hour

The name says it all, and the best site for contractors, who are usually paid by the hour. The site requires employers to make a downpayment before a contractor begins work. This makes it one of the most secure ways to work as a freelancer. All too often, workers get underpaid and even scammed but PPH takes steps to avoid this.

People per hour hom

Fiverr

This is the place for short-term gigs or clients that pay per project. Fiverr is the freelancer’s ideal hunting ground. The platform is excellent for graphic design, video, translation, and even transcription. There are tons more of what you can do on Fiverr, with the bonus of having no sign-up fees.

Fiverr homepage screenshot

Freelancing Pros and Cons

Like everything else, freelance work has two sides to it, and it is best to be aware of what you might face as you start on your freelancing journey. Let us take a look at what is right and what is not in freelancing.

Pros

The most significant benefit of freelancing is control. Control over your time, control over the people you want to work with, and control over where you want to do your work. Through the level of skills and perseverance, you can make good money in a short time. Work and life balance will finally be in your hands.

Cons

By putting yourself in control, you also take on more responsibilities. As an independent contractor or a freelancer, you are a business owner. You inherit the legalities that come with it, such as paying your taxes and such. It will also cost a little more upfront as you will also have to provide your equipment and software. If you want to have a stable income stream, you will need a keener eye for financial management than usual.

What Does it Take To Become a Freelancer?

Knowing what is freelance work and having the right qualities can help you go a long way in freelancing. The qualities you need to be successful in any job are pretty much the same in freelance work. Aside from the usual, a freelancer needs iron discipline. The words ‘be your own boss may sound good, but there may be a challenge when you start to walk the talk. Getting used to not having an authority figure looking over your work may take some getting used to.

Being organized is another trait to master, especially in your home office. You will have no one to blame for lousy internet connectivity or if your equipment freezes up except yourself. Another essential quality of a freelancer is communicating well. Freelancing success involves a lot of saying the right things at the right moment and when to be flexible enough to back off.

How you let others know your intentions is quite important. Communication skill is an indispensable skill in freelancing. You can use this to negotiate rates, extend deadlines, and pretty much in every important aspect of your relationship with a client.

Are You Ready To Become One?

Like everything else that is worth doing, being a freelancer is no easy undertaking. Yet, it is good to know that a great many people have walked this path before and became successful. Many of these successes can be yours, and their lessons apply to your own journey as a freelancer. Hope this helps! Comment down below what actions you are taking to pursue your freelancing career. You can definitely do freelancing even without experience, I recommend you to read our articles that will give you more freelancing guides. Start your journey today!

Angeline Licerio is the blogger behind Dollarmize.com. After working online as a writer and SEO strategist, she decided to start this blog to give advise to people who would like to earn money online. She is also the founder of SEO Tutorials for FREE, a Facebook community that helps aspiring freelancers and SEO specialists to kickstart their work from home journey.

1 thought on “What is Freelance Work? Freelancing Tips for Beginners”

  1. Many freelancers lean towards non-profit organizations when beginning their careers. These types of companies are more willing to accept work from an entry-level freelancer because their budgets are usually smaller than other companies. This way, the nonprofit will get the resources they need while you can use the work to expand your portfolio to show future clients.

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