The internet has helped launch alternative work solutions, aimed at trying to close the gap between a healthy work-life balance. Freelance work can be done while working the 9-5 or build a full-time business around your skills and experience.
Freelancing is all part of the future of remote work. If you’re interested in being a freelancer, here’s what you need to know.
What is freelance work?
A freelance job is one that a person does for themselves instead of a being employed by company and can involve client work for organisations. A freelancer is essentially self-employed and work comes from all over the employment sector.
This includes a huge variety of companies, ranging from very small to very large. Organisations, non-profits, and even government agencies all often hire contract freelancers. Due to the wide scope of freelancing options, there’s work in essentially every career field and can vary between one-off jobs to long term projects.
Work can also be offered directly to client or can focus on general areas like those listed above or can be dialled in to specific industries that require niche skillsets.
How is freelance work different?
Freelancing is different from traditional employment in a number of ways. First, a freelancer is responsible for setting and maintaining work hours independent of management oversight. This means that you’re going to be the gate keeper when it comes to time spent of projects, billing, and paying your own taxes.
A freelancer worker is not an employee for any organization for whom s/he works, but rather a contractor. Income for work varies greatly depending on the industry, skills, and your experience.
In broad strokes, skills that require more education generally pay more than skills which don’t require as much. Using skills you already have can be a fast and affordable way to begin making the shift from traditional employment.
You’re able to pick you own clients and set your own working hours. As an independent contractor, you have a say in how the work is completed; that is, how you approach a specific project, which gives you a lot of creative license.
The market for freelancers continues to grow, since there’s a high demand across so many industries.
That’s not to say the market isn’t competitive because it’s probably more competitive than the traditional employment sector. But, the need for reliable freelancers is going to continue to grow as employers see the benefits.
Cons of freelance work
Freelancing isn’t for everyone. Those who like a lot of handholding along the way during project completion might feel alienated as a freelancer. If you work best as part of a team, then you might struggle because you spend a lot of time in working alone.
Work as a freelancer isn’t always consistent, and that’s a key difference from traditional employment. Finding clients with larger projects or ongoing work is a way to counteract this, but it’s slow going to start. Getting enough clients to pay the bills can be a challenge too.
It takes a long time to build a base, and even longer to find those clients who can offer consistent work. Careful money management and constantly seeking additional opportunities are keys to being success.
Getting started with freelancing can be as easy as checking out a job search board and applying for open projects.
Being clear on the services you offer and knowing your target market can help you sidestep some of the early challenges and place you one step closer to ditching your traditional employment job.