Photography provided by @K_DougDE
As you may remember, I did a post previously on the problems of being a female freelancer here, but I never really touched on what exactly a freelancer is.
Freelancer – a person who works as a writer, designer, performer, etc. selling work or services by the hour, day, job, etc. rather than working on a traditional salary basis for one employer; self-employed subcontractors who market their art by the job to several buyers; entrepreneurs.
A cartoonist and illustrator by the name of Randy Glasbergen described what freelancing is perfectly. He said, “Freelancing is like Christmas. Will Santa bring me a shiny new assignment today? Will one of Santa’s helpers call me on the phone with a special surprise? What will I find when I unwrap the goodies in the mailbox today? Santa doesn’t come every day, but each day has the potential, and that’s usually enough to keep me excited until the next visit!”
5 Types of Freelancers
- Temporary Workers – $26,000/year
- Independent Contractors – $42,000/year
- Diversified Workers – $70,000/year
- Business Owner – $70,000/year
- Moonlighters – $175,000/year
As you can see from the list above, there are five (5) different types of freelancers.
You have the temporary workers, independent contractors, diversified workers, business owners & moonlighters. Some of these you may recognize, two of the main ones that should pop out at you the most are the contractors & business owners as these are the most common. But lets break each one down below so you’ll have a full understanding of each.
A temporary worker is someone who is hired by a company or a brand to complete a temporary work assignment. These are not your permanent workers. Their assignments could last 2 years, or they could be as short as 2 weeks. Temporary workers are pretty much apart of all job niches and categories as well due to so many companies needing them to fulfill shorter assignments. Temporary Workers are in a high demand right now but they are the lowest paid type of freelancers, only averaging out at about $26,000 per year.
An independent Contractor is a person who works from one job to the next based on a set contract. They take on work project by project. A great example here would be graphic designers and writers. Contractors aren’t paid like traditional jobs, they work around set contracts with buyers directly. Independent Contractors average around $42,000 per year.
A diversified worker is someone who participates in a variety of the freelancing positions. For example, one month they may be an independent contractor and the next month they may be a temporary worker. They don’t place themselves in one box, they like to dip into various forms of freelancing. A diversified worker makes on average about $70,000 per year, around the same amount as a business owner. A great example of a diversified worker is a Graphic Designer at a local marketing firm during the day and a Freelance Writer on off time.
Business owners are the people who take freelancing a step further in the game and turn their freelancing services into an actual business. Some have your traditional brick and mortar stores where you can physically visit them and they have employees, and some prefer setting up shop online for a virtual shop or service provider. A freelance business is the vehicle to exercise your particular talents as your own boss, in your environment of choice, at the hours you choose. (M. Fleishman) A business owner makes around $70,000 per year on average, maybe even more, but this is not the highest paying form of freelancing you may be surprised to find out.
A moonlighter is someone who may have another position during the day, but are freelancing during their evening hours or when they aren’t working their traditional positions. For example, a moonlighter may be an accountant at a bank during the day around 9am to 5pm in the afternoon. But when they get off from work, they have to take care of the responsibilities of running their own online shop from home. Moonlighters make the most when it comes to being a freelancer because they have two different sources of income coming in for them. That traditional job position is the financial cushion or security for every expenses an emergencies, along with self funder for freelancing positions. Perfect combination if you can handle the work load and still get things done effectively. A great example of a moonlighter would be a Creative Director or a Web Developer.
In the very beginning, when it comes to my own personal work experience, I started off with a traditional job as a cashier at my local grocery store. It was part-time and a temporary summer position so this was my first experience as a temporary worker. From there I went into freelancing as a diversified worker. I would create graphics online for small projects, even back during Myspace days. From there I moved on to becoming a moonlighter first by working a traditional 9-5 position along with being a temporary worker with design assignments. Soon after I became a small business owner and began working for myself.
Everyone thinks that freelancing is cool and it is. You get to work at your own pace, set your own schedule and what you would like to be paid. Pretty much every worker’s dream at the end of the day. You have more control over your money than anything. But that does not mean that this is an easy route to go in life. Freelancing isn’t for everyone and I wouldn’t advise just anyone to take this route.
Of course with this line of work it comes with those who don’t believe in it. That comes with anything but for a freelancer, there can be twice as much criticism from outsiders.
Working At Your Own Pace
Yes, with freelancing you can work at you own pace which is a lovely perk, but you have to be able to meet deadlines on a consistent basis. You also have to be dependable. For example, if you’re a designer you can’t design for a couple months and then out of the blue decide you are going to take a break and not design for a month or two and then come back to design again expecting to have those same clients continuously. That is confusing for the public consumer, especially if they’re looking for someone to handle long term projects. Stay consistent no matter what.
Set Your Own Schedule
Yes, you are able to set your own schedule as a freelancer, but again you have to set a realistic schedule and stick with it. Freelancing can get very demanding depending on how many contracts or clients you may have daily, weekly and monthly. You will more than likely end up working way more hours as a freelancer than as you would with a traditional job position. With it being just you, there is no one giving you a set time of when to “clock out” from working. So this means you may be so caught up on a project and have a deadline to meet in a short amount of time that you end up pulling all nighters & working through your entire weekends.
Scheduling is very important for a freelancer. Having planners, calendars, bulletin & dry erase boards can help here. Calendar apps & post scheduler apps are great as well to keep up with deadlines, meetings & assignments. Our affiliate partner Target has been a huge help in providing some great merchandise and supplies to keep everything organized with DE operations. They have over 300 options for planners including the one shown on the left. There’s a huge selection of calendars as well including wall calendars and desktop calendars. Bulletin and dry erase boards come in a large variety including some that are merged together to save space.
Set Your Pay
Yes, you can set your own rates of pay but you will never see a steady paycheck ever again. With freelancing your income comes in bursts or spurts depending on how much work you decide to put in. Of course you’ll have to save more as a freelancer for those unexpected expenses. You’ll have to handle your own insurance versus with a traditional job position the company you work for would take care of that. Taxes are more in your control so you’ll have to take care of those as well. For me the great thing about freelancing are moments when I hit a monthly income goal or a monthly elimination of an unnecessary expense goal. Income Reports and Expense Records are really important as a freelancer. They are pretty much the best way you can really track what you’re spending and what you’re getting paid. These are also important for determining how much you should be getting paid as a freelancer.
Freelancing is NOT Easy
No part of freelancing is easy. Some believe that for freelancers, since we mainly work remotely preferably from home, that it means the money just magically and is easily made. Or they believe you don’t have to put in the work in order for a lot of money to be made. Neither of these are true. Freelancing is a job. Freelancing is a real job. Just like with a traditional job position, you have to put the work in to get the results that you want and need out of it. Nothing comes easy but it is possible to survive and live from being a freelancer but you have to put in the work first. For example, your pay is determined by you. That means there is no one setting your wok schedule for you. You set your work schedule which means if you don’t show up to actually do the work nobody is going to call you to check in and see why. That phrase, if you don’t work, you don’t eat literally comes into light for a full time freelancer.
Freelancing is not For Everyone
Freelancing is not something for everyone and that is alright. Everything is not for everyone. Some may prefer a traditional work position and that is alright. This doesn’t man that the work is too easy nor too hard, it just means it’s not for that particular person. This doesn’t mean that one line of work holds more value or not, it just means that particular person just does not prefer freelancing and that is ok.
Freelancers Receive Criticism
Not everyone will believe in your profession as a freelancer. The main misconception about being a freelancer is that if you work remotely in which most freelancers do, then you’re not really working. Nine times out of ten, a freelancer works remotely from home but this doesn’t mean that work isn’t being done. Many are used to the traditional job positions where you can see a person get up, get in their car and go into work to clock in for their scheduled shift daily. People can’t physically see a freelancer clocking in and working so they tend to not take the profession serious or they’ll criticize a freelancer for choosing that line of work. If you are new to freelancing this can catch you off guard in the beginning and it’s cool. Don’t take it personal, just take the parts of the criticism to better your freelancing and ignore the rest.
Are you a freelancer?
Do you have any tips or advice from your freelancing journey?
Comment below in our comment section.
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5 Types of Freelancers
The Definition of Freelancer is Changing
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