Tuesday, April 16, 2024

What’s a Freelancer? This is What it Takes to Be One

This put up could include affiliate hyperlinks. See our affiliate disclosure for extra.

Except you could have been dwelling below a rock, you could have greater than seemingly heard concerning the rise of impartial staff, contractors, and new methods of doing enterprise. However are you able to reply the query, “what’s a freelancer?”

An increasing number of staff are opting to freelance than ever earlier than–in line with Upwork, two million folks joined the freelance motion in 2021 alone. The COVID-19 pandemic solely accelerated a development that had been rising because the beginnings of residence web entry.

Some folks have labored this manner for many years, however others are left scratching their heads. What’s a freelancer, and why have they turn into so vital to the economic system?

Maybe you’re looking at choices for hiring freelancers, or maybe you have an interest in changing into one your self. Both approach, let’s begin by placing a stable definition behind the query that so many are starting to ask: What’s a freelancer?

What’s a freelancer?

Freelancing means various things to totally different folks. Companies may even see freelancers as a approach to economize or get non permanent assist. Conventional staff may even see them as a risk to their job stability. Freelancers themselves typically outline their roles in a different way. Is it any marvel some are left questioning, if everybody sees their jobs in a different way, simply what’s a freelancer?

Webster’s dictionary defines freelancer in two methods. First, as a employee who is just not dedicated to a single employer. Secondly, somebody who is just not formally affiliated with a corporation.

The gist of it’s this: a freelancer is a non-traditional employee who chooses their very own initiatives, negotiates their very own charges, and has the flexibility to each tackle work or sever ties with shoppers, so long as they aren’t violating a contract.

When most individuals image a freelancer, they see somebody with a laptop computer working from residence, or perhaps by the pool as they journey, doing odd jobs right here and there.

Featured Image for: What is a Freelancer? Here’s What it Takes to Be One

The reality is, simply as what conventional workers do differs, freelancers differ of their job descriptions. The place and once they work relies on quite a lot of elements.

Not all freelancers work remotely, and never all freelancers have a number of shoppers. What makes a freelancer is just not WHERE they work, however HOW they work. Slightly than a supervisor or a corporation, freelancers work for themselves.

The time period freelancer dates again to the center ages, when mercenaries would battle for the very best bidder, as an alternative of being loyal to a single area or tribe. They’d a “free lance,” so to talk.

Freelancers may be known as impartial contractors, 1099 staff, gig staff, or typically solopreneurs. All freelancers are self-employed, however not all self-employed people are freelancers. For instance, a small enterprise proprietor who sells items or companies on to customers is certainly self-employed, however wouldn’t be thought-about a freelancer.

So what’s a freelancer? It’s simply somebody who sells their particular person companies to no matter shoppers they select.

What does it take to be a freelancer?

Regardless of the shifting economic system, not everyone seems to be lower out for the freelancing life. Keep in mind, what’s a freelancer? It’s somebody who works for themselves, usually with none type of assist.

Freelancers have to be self-starters, with the proper of motivation with a view to achieve success. Deciding whether or not freelancing is best for you comes right down to each your persona and your expertise. Let’s discuss a number of the traits which might be useful for freelancers:


Whereas you’ll get course from shoppers and there are a variety of nice mentors on the market, when it comes right down to it, freelancing is a fairly lonely gig. You want to have the ability to work individually from anybody else, set your individual deadlines, and hold a consistently excessive commonplace of labor with out reminders or somebody wanting over your shoulder.


You’ll bear in mind from the “What’s a freelancer?” part that freelancers are self-employed, in order that they don’t have the identical expectations as a full-time worker. Purchasers could ask for tight deadlines, attain out on weekends, or change their minds in the course of a challenge. Freelancers want to have the ability to roll with change and pivot rapidly.


Whereas there are freelancers who by no means depart the sofa, if you wish to achieve success within the freelancing world, you have to be skilled. This implies answering the telephone, texts and emails rapidly, not complaining to your shoppers, being on time for conferences, and proofreading communications, simply to call just a few. You additionally want to have the ability to current your self nicely within the enterprise world, whether or not at face-to-face conferences or networking occasions.


You might nearly reply the query “What’s a freelancer?” with one other job title: customer support supervisor. Since freelancers work for themselves, they’re managing all features of their enterprise, from gross sales and advertising and marketing to gathering fee on the finish of the challenge.

Consequently, you’re the one who offers straight with shoppers. Ask your self in case you can deal with limitless questions, negotiation, complaints and conversations about cash, usually with troublesome folks. If the reply isn’t any, you’re most likely not prepared for freelancing.


Freelancing is each rewarding and troublesome at occasions, however one factor you will want to realize your objectives is a cussed persona. You’ll hear the phrase “no” usually. You’ll seemingly ship out dozens of chilly pitches for each job you land. You’ll have to revise your work to suit another person’s splendid. You’ll need to hold working, hold grinding, and hold making an attempt new issues consistently with a view to construct your small business.

These traits assist reply the query on what a freelancer is: an impartial, versatile, skilled, affected person, persistent particular person promoting companies to different people and organizations.

If this sounds such as you, your subsequent query is likely to be––how do I begin?

Good query!

First you must select a ability you’d wish to promote.

Subsequent, construct up a portfolio of your work. You are able to do this via courses, doing work for family and friends, or by yourself. Ensure that to solely embody your greatest examples when presenting work to potential shoppers.

Lastly, discover shoppers keen to pay on your companies. Begin with your individual community. Let your contacts, each private and enterprise, know what you’re providing. You may also discuss to native enterprise house owners, comb freelance job websites, or pitch corporations that you just suppose may benefit out of your work.

Most typical varieties of freelance jobs

what is a freelancer

Many various jobs might be accomplished by freelance contractors, however when you concentrate on freelancing, there’s a purpose that sure industries come to thoughts. In case you Google the query, “What’s a freelancer?” you’ll seemingly give you photographs of individuals engaged on laptops.

Since freelancers present all of their very own instruments and tools, usually freelance jobs are the sorts of duties that may be accomplished with simply a pc and an web connection.

If you’re caught for concepts, listed below are 6 of the commonest freelance jobs:

Author. Freelance writers create content material for all kinds of various industries and functions. They could write weblog posts, ghost write a memoir, pen the copy for an advert marketing campaign, write technical manuals and extra. Good writers are exhausting to search out, so a proficient freelance author at all times has loads of work.

Designer. Designers make visible content material for web sites, brochures, enterprise playing cards, packaging, branding, promoting, and extra.

Developer. At the moment, there’s a large scarcity of software program builders, so corporations wish to fill the vacancies any approach they will. Enter freelancers. In case you can code, yow will discover freelance jobs.

Finance. It’s changing into more and more widespread for organizations to outsource their bookkeeping and accounting to freelancers. Finance professionals can tackle a number of small enterprise shoppers directly, so these corporations are primarily splitting the price of a full-time accountant or bookkeeper.

Assistant. The digital assistant trade started within the Nineteen Nineties, and has grown exponentially since then. Digital assistants are employed to do all the things from scheduling appointments to analysis. Hiring an assistant can really save corporations cash by getting them extra organized, so it’s a preferred freelance gig.

Social Media. When you’ve got ever written social media content material or responded to feedback on-line, you understand that it may be a full-time job. A contract social media professional would possibly schedule posts, take pictures, design graphics, and work together with different customers to construct a group.

Professionals & cons of freelancing

Now that we’ve answered the query, “What’s a freelancer?” it’s time to determine — is freelancing price it?

The reply? It relies upon.

Like with any job, freelancing has its execs and cons. Let’s discuss just a few of them, and you may make the choice.


  • Freedom.  In case your freelance profession solely requires a pc and the web, you’ll be able to work from anyplace. And lots of freelance gigs even have versatile hours––that means mother and father can work round their children’ schedules, folks in numerous international locations can work collectively, and somebody who already has a full time job can squeeze freelance work in on the aspect.
  • Distant. Earlier than the pandemic, in case you needed a job that allowed you to do business from home, freelancing was your gig. Whereas there are actually extra alternatives to work remotely, freelancing is nice as a result of you could have complete management over your individual scenario, whether or not that’s working from residence or not.
  • Ardour. Freelancers get to select and select what they work on, so as an alternative of being assigned mundane duties, you solely tackle the initiatives that matter to you.


  • Cash Administration. At a conventional job, you’re employed a set variety of hours and obtain a paycheck on set days, nearly like magic. As a freelancer, you’re answerable for the enterprise. You must determine how a lot cash to pay your self and what to speculate again within the enterprise. You must handle invoices and accumulate fee. All of this may be demanding in case you aren’t used to it.
  • Money Move. Freelancers typically get caught in what is named the “feast or famine cycle,” that means you both have an excessive amount of work, or not sufficient. It’s troublesome to plan your life, bills, and enterprise hours when work is inconsistent.
  • Loneliness. For some folks, working independently is nice. Others miss the social environment and collaboration of an workplace. It’s vital to guage if working solo is best for you and your psychological well being.

The place to search out freelance jobs

So we’ve answered what a freelancer is, mentioned easy methods to begin, and even thought via a number of the most typical jobs out there.

The one query left to deal with is…the place precisely do you discover freelance jobs?

My recommendation is at all times to begin along with your private community. Phrase of mouth is the very best device you could have. Nevertheless, one other nice supply of leads come from the handfuls of freelance job websites out there. A few of the prime ones embody: SolidGigsFlexJobsVollnaFiverrFreelancer, and Upwork. Every of those have their strengths and weaknesses — SolidGigs finds the roles for you, whereas the opposite 4 you hunt your self.

Each freelance market is fairly saturated and aggressive, so you must discover methods to make your profile stand out!

For extra freelance job website choices, try extra websites like Upwork.

Are you going freelance?

So, what is a freelancer?

If you’re on the lookout for a job the place you’re your individual boss, you could have an excessive amount of flexibility, you select what you’re employed on, and you’re employed with totally different folks on a regular basis, the the reply to that query is––you!

Hold the dialog going…

Over 10,000 of us are having every day conversations over in our free Fb group and we might like to see you there. Be part of us!

Profile Image: Kylie Burgener

Written by Kylie Burgener

Workers at Millo.co

Kylie Jackson Burgener is a mom of three and a contract marketing consultant, specializing in public relations, writing and content material advertising and marketing. She is a cofounder of Measured Melodies, a leveled piano sheet music system for piano academics and college students. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina together with her household.

Kylie’s Articles

Reviewed & edited by Adam Wright, at Millo.

At Millo, we try to publish solely the very best, most reliable and dependable content material for freelancers. You may study extra by reviewing our editorial coverage.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles