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What Is Freelancing?5 min read

by Abu Zar Mishwani
What Is Freelancing? History of Freelancing

What Is Freelancing?

Freelancing refers to work as an independent rather than being employed by somebody else. Freelancers are self-employed and usually called contract workers or independent contractors.

Other businesses recruit freelancers on a part-time or short-term contract. However, they do not get the same pay as full-time workers or have the same degree of commitment to any organization.

Nowadays, people are discussing freelance work more than ever before. And that’s because there are now more freelancers than there have ever been in history — a 2019 research by Freelancers Union and Upwork reveals that 57 million people in the U.S. freelanced in 2019.

And according to the same survey, 53 percent of employees between 18-22 are freelancers.

Different Names of Freelancing

Not everyone uses the word “freelancer” or “freelance” to a job that a freelancer may perform. In contrast, most contractors or freelancers call themselves “self-employed.”

However, some words you might want to be familiar with that pertain to freelancing involve:

  • Contract Job: Work where you will be working on completing part-time or short-term contracts
  • 1099: Freelancers are paid using a tax form termed “1099-MISC” as compared to your usual, full-time W2. Often “1099” is used to refer to a freelancer.
  • Contract consultancy: This phrase refers to a consultant coming under a 1099 agreement for a limited amount of time.
  • Contract-to-hire: Often, freelancers are ready for full-time work. Contract-to-hire jobs offer a kind of “trial period” for freelancers before they are employed full time.

Why Is It Termed Freelancing?

The word “freelance” stems back to the 1800s when a “free lance” refers to a medieval mercenary who would fight for whatever country or individual paid them the most. The word “lance” refers to the long weapon knights on horseback used to throw adversaries off their horses (think to joust).

Throughout time, the word continued to mean “independent” but departed the battlefield to be used to politics and ultimately work of any type.

How Freelancing Works?

Freelancers make money in exchange for delivering some kind of service. That contract is usually short-term or part-time.

For example, if I hired a Graphic Designer to design a few posters for me, I will pay the freelancer for one session, which would be the end of the contract.

Often individuals pay freelancers to work a certain number of hours per week or month or pay them hourly. That agreement is commonly referred to as a “retainer.”

A retainer relates to that when you retain the service or right to someone’s time. Several legal experts operate on retainer. Each month, they charge a predetermined amount of time to the client, irrespective of whether that entire time is utilized or not.

It’s one of the simplest and most basic kinds of entrepreneurship: a freelancer offers a particular service or result, and the customer pays them a price immediately.

Why Do People Work as a Freelancer?

Freelancing offers a lot of freedom and control to a person. Many freelancers pick their hours, the job they perform, the customers they deal with, and can work remotely (work from home).

Freelancing is also a type of entrepreneurship, which implies the freelancer has complete control of their potential earnings. Freelancers aren’t tied into a wage, and thus they may make as much as they can charge to their customers.

Being a freelancer, you are your own boss.

Freelancing offers a lot of flexibility in the type of job you can accomplish.  If you are someone with various interests and are attracted to trying something new, freelancing may let you explore all sorts of projects and sectors.

Traditionally, freelancing isn’t something individuals usually do permanently. They either recruit additional freelancers or staff to create a complete agency, design their products to replace their freelancing revenue or go back to full time.

How Much Can You Earn with Freelancing?

According to research in 2019 by Upwork and Freelancing Union, the typical freelance pay is $20-28 per hour. However, with the customers full-time with so much various freelance work available, that number may fluctuate quite a bit.

Translation service may only make $5-10 per hour, whereas software development jobs may earn $75 and even hundreds of dollars an hour.

It’s essential to examine the freelancing rates of your specific skill set to obtain a fair idea of the anticipated income you might make as a freelancer.

What Type of Work Can You Do as a Freelancer?

Businesses have become considerably very receptive to and interested in employing freelancers performing various kinds of jobs. Thus, freelancing has become significantly more acceptable for a broad range of employment.

1.   Administrative Jobs

  • Virtual Assistant
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Project Manager
  • Data Entry
  • Online Research etc.

2.   Designs & Graphics Works

  • Graphic Design
  • UI/UX Design
  • Motion Graphics
  • Photography
  • Animations
  • Video Production
  • Voice Artist
  • Arts & Illustration

3.   Writing Works

  • Content Writing
  • Technical Writing
  • Business Writing
  • Copywriting
  • Editing & Proofreading
  • Creative Writing

4.   App, Software, and Website Development

  • Website Development (eCommerce Development)
  • Game Development
  • Software Development
  • Scripting
  • Mobile App Development and more.

5.   Marketing Jobs

  • Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Content Marketing
  • Market Research
  • Search Engine Marketing

Pros and Cons of Freelancing

Below are a few advantages and disadvantages you should know about before jumping to the freelance world.

Pros of Freelancing

  • Flexible Jobs
  • Command over Jobs and Clients
  • Work anytime You Want
  • You are the Boss

Cons of Freelancing

  • Isolation or Separation from Society
  • Health Issues
  • Your earnings will be unpredictable
  • You’ll not be able to earn while you are sick or on vocation

Scope of Freelancing in Pakistan

Pakistan is currently ranked 4th in the freelancing world. People around the world hire Pakistani freelancers for Designing, IT, and development-related works. The annual income from freelancing in Pakistan is $0.5 Billion. This demonstrates that Pakistani freelancers have much to earn from Freelancing.  Many people have started their careers as Freelancers, and others are planning to do so.

How To Start Freelancing?

You can begin freelancing at any moment by just making payments to accomplish a task for others.

Following are the three main things that you must need to become a freelancer.

  • Skill
  • Portfolio
  • Laptop and Internet

Many freelancers will also want to take a step further and officially register their business, establish a bank account, and develop an internet presence for their freelancing business.

There are three significant ways to generate income as a freelancer:

1.   Direct Contracts with Clients

Working with customers directly refers to locating and interacting directly with clients via your methods. That may be network, established connections, or term recommendations.

It is one of the most challenging routes but has the most significant profits because there are no intermediaries in the deal.

Freelance work client direct also builds better durable connections if you intend to be a freelancer for the long term.

2.   Outsourcing

Many freelancers don’t enjoy the bother of locating and interacting with specific customers. For all those freelancers, one possibility is working as a subcontractor to another business or agency.

The model is fundamental. Usually, an agency sells a big project to a customer, and then they split that agreement into “subcontracts” to be fulfilled by other businesses or freelancers.

For instance, a website development company may offer a complete website project but outsource the writing to a freelancer outside the company.

Many big companies only hire a limited number of employees full-time and often will outsource specialized portions of tasks out to contractors.

This is excellent for maintaining your plate filled, but it also eliminates a degree of control. If the organizations you subcontract for run out of employment, so do you.

3.   Freelancing Platforms or Websites

One common way for obtaining project work is via freelancing marketplaces such as Upwork, Freelancer, Guru, People Per Hour, Fiverr, etc.

These marketplaces act as the intermediary by collecting freelance tasks on one side of the market and freelancing talents on the other.

This can be very efficient for discovering new employment but comes with its drawbacks.

Marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr have a lot more competition, and it may be challenging to establish an initial profile or be paid what you’re worth. And they will retain a tiny portion of each task as a transaction charge.

But over time, if you establish a good reputation, you can dependably get employment without needing to market too hard.

Conclusion

Freelancing means becoming your own boss. It’s on you to find a method to occupy your time with paid employment, whether it’s customer direct, subcontracting, or via a job’s marketplace.

There are dozens and hundreds of various kinds of freelancing employment, and more businesses are employing freelancers than ever before.

Freelancing may be a fantastic way to make a livelihood on your own terms, but there are sacrifices when it comes to financial and health advantages. It’s up to you to determine whether freelancing is suitable for you.

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