What is a Freelancer? (And Why You Should Become One)

In 2020, the crowning year of working from home, becoming a freelancer is the most versatile solution to keeping up with our changing world. 

Whether you’re simply looking to pad your wallet or you’re looking to escape the 9-5 hamster wheel for good, this article will give you the rundown on everything you need to know before you dive into your freelance career.

And if you’re wondering whether or not now is a good time to transition to freelance work… see our previous post on it here. (Spoiler: it’s more profitable and accessible than ever before)

So, what is a freelancer? 

A freelancer can best be defined as a self-employed individual that works on a per-job basis for multiple clients. The major distinction to make here is that unlike a salaried/hourly employee – a freelancer sets the terms for the work provided and the method of providing it. 

What do freelancers do?

The scope of work for freelancing is nearly unlimited. Just about any service provide a business or individual can be offered on a freelance basis. 

What are some of the most in-demand freelancing skills to have in 2020? 

  • Graphic Design
  • Sales
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Writing/Editing
  • Website Development

But that doesn’t mean you have to stick to them. There are a ton of freelance jobs that many wouldn’t expect:

  • Product Photography
  • Voice Overs 
  • Ghostwriting
  • Matchmaking
  • Yoga Instructor

What are the benefits of freelancing? 

The main benefit of freelancing is that you are the curator of your schedule. You get to decide the workload you want to take on, the type of work you do, the clients you want to work with, how you accomplish each project, and your professional standards for revising/editing. 

Being a freelancer also means being able to work anywhere you have a computer/smartphone and an internet connection. With the tools and applications on any modern device, you can become a completely mobile workplace in no time. 

Not to mention, you get to set your own prices. This means that any added skill you learn is potentially an added decimal in your bank account. 

Additionally, the market for freelance work is only growing. No matter your skillset, there is a place on the great wide web that you can market and sell it. 

So what’s the catch? 

What are the downsides of freelancing?

While there are many reasons to jump into freelance work, there are a couple of hard truths. 

For one, when you are employed by a company there are generally things in place: what they do, how they do it, how it pays, and how you fit into it. 

Being a freelancer means you are your own business. And while you can (and should) copy other people’s paths to success, you still have to put in the very real work of starting a business from scratch. 

That means: setting and adhering to your “business hours,” marketing your services, reaching out to prospects, following up on leads and jobs, managing your business financials, and nearly every other aspect to running a functioning business. 

Is it a lot of responsibility? Absolutely! 

But does it pay off? 

In 2019 the Economic Policy Institute found that “the real value of the federal minimum wage has dropped 17% since 2009 and 31% since 1968.” Not only has minimum wage been stagnant for over 10 years, but the value of each dollar earned has dramatically dropped. 

Conversely, according to ZipRecruiter the average annual salary for freelance writers in the United States was $63,488 in 2019. If we applied the traditional 40 hour workweek to this salary (even though freelancers work much less on average) it would be a little over $30 an hour.

Across the board for freelance skills, freelancers on average make more than their hourly counterparts, with 31% of freelancers reporting making more than $75,000 a year

Conclusion

The freelance world is one that is ripe with opportunity and rewards those who truly take on the challenge of being the boss. 

With more control and flexibility than any other job, it’s a no-brainer career path for the highly motivated individual looking to market and profit off of their skills. 

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