As if COVID-19 and millions of lives this pandemic consumed weren’t enough, we are staring at another formidable challenge – loss of jobs and economic recession.
Anybody who stays updated on recent developments across the globe, or at least in their own country, knows very well how enforced lockdown in many states left businesses and organizations with no other chance but to shut down their operations for an infinite amount of time.
Millions of people lost their source of livelihood as they could not move out of their homes for work. Even though companies and organizations in many countries are now trying to restore normalcy, a large number of people are still struggling financially to make ends meet. In such times, freelance work has become a popular option to earn income amid tough times for mankind.
The term “freelancing”, or freelance work evokes mixed reactions from people. Generally, many people consider freelance work as a means to earn “extra income” in addition to regular income.
This perception is correct to a significant extent, but with an estimated 30 million freelancers in it for the long-term, freelance work should not be considered as “part-time” work anymore.
The world is moving to a gig economy. More and more people are freelancing every year. Never before have we seen so many companies looking for freelancers, especially after remote work and freelancing have become the new norm in the days of COVID-19.
The Internet has brought this world closer, the corporate sector in particular. Freelancers, full-time job seekers, and employers can now easily connect with each other. More about that later in the article.
For beginners, who are yet to fully comprehend freelance work, I have covered all aspects of this type of work for a better understanding of readers. So let’s get into it!
What Is Freelance Work?
I know very well that this question is lurking in the minds of many readers who are considering freelance work but have a vague idea of how to go about it. Even though you can Google and come across hundreds of definitions on this subject, I prefer to use specific words to define freelancing.
In simple words, “A freelance job is one where a self-employed person works as an independent contractor for multiple clients, rather than for any single company or organization. Freelancers set their work hours and choose whom to work for. They are responsible for billing clients and pay their own business and employment taxes.”
Freelancers usually earn money on a per-project or per-job basis. Many freelancers charge hourly or daily rates for their work. While it’s common for freelancers to work on different projects at once, some contracts may restrict freelancers from taking up different jobs until they complete the assigned project.
Is Freelancing For You?
Now, this question is for all those who want to know if they can also explore the opportunities for freelance work. Most of you want to know if they are eligible for this type of work or not.
First, you should determine whether you want to work as a freelancer for the time being (as you search for another job), or if you want to work as one for the long-term.
Your goals should guide your approach. Remember, freelancing isn’t for everyone. It can take six months to a year to get into the swing of things.
So, the main question here is if freelancing is for you. Let’s get it straight – freelance work can be done by any individual who can meet the client’s work requirements and has adequate time to perform and complete work within set deadlines.
However, your availability is not the only thing that makes you eligible to work as a freelancer. There are other important factors to consider, which play a major role in determining whether freelance work is suitable for you and vice versa. These determinants are:
- Your skills and experience in your field of work
- Your financial situation
- Amount of time you can dedicate to freelance work
- Future outlook
- Do you have a backup plan?
- How are you going to get clients?
- Do you have the discipline to be successful as a freelancer?
- Your limitations
Major Pros Of Freelancing
Not too long ago, freelancing was considered a “mid-career escape.” However, working independently has now become the primary choice of millions. The growth of freelancing cannot be ignored.
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Upwork’s “Freelancing in America” survey shows that 56.7 million Americans freelanced in 2018, which is significant progress from 3.7 million in 2014. Given below are some pros of freelance work, which makes millions of pros consider it seriously.
Let’s take a look at them.
- Flexible Schedule – If you’re the one who dislikes early morning wake-ups and the mad rush to reach the office, then freelance work is one for you. Freelancing gives you flexibility like no other job. You make your schedule, work at your own pace, and only work with clients you want to work with. This leaves you with more time to do the things you love. Unsurprisingly, the number 1 reason people freelance is to gain more flexibility.
- Control Of Workload – Another main benefit of freelancing is that you have the option to control your workload. You can work little or more, depending on the type of project you are working on. You can focus on your work sans distractions, which are common in a full-time job. Some in-office distractions that freelancers don’t experience are – meetings, office politics, co-worker distractions, etc.
- Exposure – A freelancing job gives you many opportunities to work on multiple projects and topics. Working for a single company may not give adequate exposure to other industries and career areas. Freelancing work can help you get a variety of work, which makes your job less redundant and boring.
- Tax-deductible Business Expenses – As a freelancer, you can deduct added expenses (business cards, promotional materials, parking, equipment, etc.) on your taxes. The self-employed can write-off such expenses on their income taxes. If you keep careful records of these expenses, you can save a hefty amount of money come tax time.
- Higher Pay Rate – The pay rates in freelance work may be higher than those of regular, in-office employees. The amount of money you can make as a freelancer solely depends on how much work you choose to take on. Even though freelancers have additional expenses like travel, marketing, and off-the-clock preparations, you may sometimes be able to set your pay rates to account for these costs.
Types Of Freelance Jobs
A lot of industries hire freelancers regularly to get the job done. Before you start searching for freelance work, it’s advisable to do some research on the most common freelance jobs and what skills you might need to learn or enhance.
1. Freelance Writer
Freelance writing is a great option for those who love to write and have a strong command of the language. You have the option to choose between creative and technical writing. Different types of freelance writing jobs include:
- Article writing
- Blog writing
- Ad copywriter
- Ghostwriting for ebooks and books
- Website content writing
- Research work and informational products
2. Virtual Assistant
A Virtual Assistant job varies immensely. Virtual assistant freelancers can perform a wide range of jobs, such as administrative support, replying to emails, customer support, managing communications, scheduling meetings for employers, etc. Generally, you can match a virtual assistant’s job with that of a regular office assistant.
Many business owners don’t want to handle bookkeeping as they find it difficult, time-consuming, and cumbersome. Many firms opt for hiring freelance bookkeepers to do the job for them.
You will need to make use of modern bookkeeping and accounting software to find work online. If you’re good at accounting and bookkeeping, you can earn good money while working with your digital partner.
4. Freelance Web Developer or Programmer
This area of work requires experience and expertise, but a great freelancing option. Businesses today are promoting themselves online far more than offline promotions.
The demand for engaging and informative websites is ever-increasing as millions of people use the internet to search for desired products and services. If you’re an experienced freelance web developer then you can jump right on board. Even if you’re a fresher then also there are plenty of resources online for you to get started.
5. Graphic Designer
Being a freelance graphic designer requires you to zero in on your specialty and niche. It’s important to do some research on how other freelance graphic designers are pitching themselves in the market. What type of rates are they charging? What job portals they are using? How can you improve your portfolio? This type of freelance job is less about the degree and more about your skills.
Social Video Marketing ranks at third place on UpWork’s Q2 2019 fastest-growing skills list. This skill is in high demand as the popularity and global outreach of top social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are booming.
If you’re skilled at creating video content, optimizing them for SEO, attracting an audience with new ideas and marketing strategies, you can make a good amount of money using your special talent and creative side.
How To Get Freelance Work
Even if you possess all the required skills, experience, and knowledge, getting your desired freelancing job can be tricky if you don’t know how to get there.
You need to take a different approach than job seekers looking for more traditional positions. The bottom line is freelancing is growing rapidly.
The good news is that there are different ways to get freelance work that you want. Here’s how you can go about your search.
If you are an experienced professional with several years of experience in regular jobs, it’s likely that you have built a strong professional network.
If you’re embarking on a freelance career then your professional network can serve as a strong foundation on which you can build future freelance jobs going forward. Not only your professional network but people from your social network (colleagues, family, friends, neighbors) can also help you in finding the right freelance job.
2. Industry Groups
This one is somewhat similar to building a community of professionals you’ve worked within the past. However, this approach involves making connections with the pros in your targeted industry. Doing this can help you get useful leads.
Joining trade and industry associations can help you meet like-minded people. You can also attend conferences and events sponsored by third-party professional groups in your career field as well.
3. Freelance Platforms
One of the best options for freelancers to find clients is through online freelance platforms. These are online marketplaces where freelancers can showcase their skills, share their portfolio, and outline their rates.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media channels can offer plenty of opportunities to seek freelance work by using social media in your job search. A large number of companies and organizations use social media to find and hire the best talent.
Professional networking sites like LinkedIn can help you connect with pros from the same industry as yours. You can post to your feed about the kinds of jobs you’re seeking to let recruiters find you and allow connections to help you.
5. Cold Pitching
Do you think that a local business could benefit from your expertise? Send them an email! Cold pitching involves emailing or messaging potential clients to offer your specialized services. You need to be selective in whom you choose to contact and adopt a personalized approach in your messaging.
Your clients should not feel that you’re sending bulk emails. Customize your email so they know you have done your research and genuinely care about offering reliable solutions to their problems.
The Final Word
It’s no secret that freelancing is turning out to be a lucrative career opportunity for those seeking more flexibility in work. In this digital age, connecting with recruiters has never been easier and quicker.
All you need to do is smartly use popular social media channels and professional networking sites to your advantage.
Like any other industry, there’s stiff competition here too. Therefore, it pays to have a clear picture of what special skills you have to offer and what type of clients you want to work with. It will only make the whole process easier.
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