What is Freelancing & What Does it Mean to Freelance? [2021]

by Mr Vilen

What is the reason it’s called freelancing?

The concept “freelance” dates back to the 1800s when the term “free lance” referred to an aristocratic mercenary who would take on the country or individual paid them the most. The word “lance” referred to the long weapon knights riding on horses used to knock off opponents on their horses (think the jousting game).

In time, the word was used to refer to “independent” but left the battlefield to describe political work and then work of all kinds.

What is Freelancing?

You might be thinking, “so what is freelancing?” Freelancing is when you be an independent business instead of being employed by another. Freelancers are self-employed and are often called independent contractors.

Other businesses employ freelancers on a part-time or a short-term basis. However, they don’t get the same benefits as full-time employees, nor do they have the same degree of dedication to any business.

Due to the growing popularity of the gig economy, people are discussing freelancing more than ever. Since there are more freelancers in the present than ever in the past – according to a study conducted in 2019 conducted by Upwork and Freelancers Union shows that 57 % of Americans worked as freelancers in the year 2019.

According to the study, 53% of those between the ages of 18-22 are working as freelancers.

Other terms used for freelance work

Many people do not use the terms “freelance” or “freelancer” about the jobs that freelancers perform. Indeed, many freelancers are “self-employed.”

Some other terms you could wish to know which relate to freelancing are:

  • Work for contract jobs that require you for a short-term, or part-time contract
  • Employment contract Similar to above.
  • Independent contractor It is an IRS classification for a freelancer.
  • 1099 Freelancers get paid through the tax form known as”1099-MISC “1099-MISC” instead of the typical full-time W2. Sometimes, the term “1099” is used to identify the freelancer.
  • Consultant on contract This term refers to a consultant hired under an agreement for 1099 for a brief duration.
  • Contract-to-hire The reality is that sometimes freelancers want full-time work. Contract-to-hire jobs provide a kind of “test period” for freelancers before being hired full-time.

What is the process of freelancing?

Freelancers are paid in exchange for providing a service. The agreement can be temporary or part-time.

For instance, if I contracted a photographer to create new headshots for me, I could hire an independent photographer for the session, and it would be the end of the story.

Sometimes, people pay freelancers to work a certain amount of hours each week or every month. This arrangement is commonly described as”retainer. “retainer.”

A retainer is the time you can retain services or rights to the time of someone else. A large number of lawyers are on retainer. Each month, they charge the client a certain amount of time to the client regardless of whether that whole time is used or not.

It’s one of the most simple and most basic types of business. A freelancer is a person who provides the buyer with a particular service or result that the customer is the one who pays them directly.

Why do people freelance?

The freelance market offers a lot of freedom and control for the freelancer. Many freelancers set their schedules, hours, work they perform, and the clients they work with and might be capable of working remotely.

Freelancing can also be a type of entrepreneurship, meaning that freelancers have complete control over their earning potential. Freelancers don’t have to commit to an income, which means they can earn as much or more than they can bill to their customers.

As a freelancer, you’re your boss.

Freelancing offers lots of possibilities in the types of work that you can take on as well. If you have lots of hobbies and are interested in exploring new ideas, freelancing will allow you to explore different businesses and projects.

It’s not an option that most people take on for the duration of. It is possible to hire employees or freelancers to form a fully operational agency, develop the products themselves to supplement the freelance income, or go back to full-time employment.

It gives you the flexibility individuals want to determine their next career direction.

What is the minimum amount I can get for freelancing?

According to that research from 2019, the median earnings for freelancers range from between $20 and $28 per hour. With so many freelance jobs to choose from, the number of jobs can fluctuate quite in a wide range.

Transcription services can earn between $5 and $10 per hour, whereas software engineering jobs can make you $75 or more per hour.

It’s important to compare the rates of freelancers who have your expertise to get an accurate estimation of what you can earn as a freelancer.

What are the risks associated with doing freelance work?

Freelancing is associated with physical and mental health risks, as well as financial.

In the United States, one of the most significant benefits of full-time employment is access to healthcare and other financial benefits beyond your standard salary. This could include a 401K retirement program or health insurance provided by the company.

Being hired to work as an independent contractor usually means that the company will not offer you similar healthcare or financial benefits.

Therefore, freelancers are left completely on their financial planning and taking advantage of health insurance.

It’s not just that freelancers are in their own right to set these advantages up for themselves, but they’re somewhat at an advantage.

If a company is negotiating the health insurance policy through the help of a broker and broker, they usually can negotiate better rates because they buy in bulk. However, as a self-employed person, you’re purchasing an insurance policy for your family and yourself only.

Unfortunately, this means that your health insurance policy could be more expensive.

It’s easy to establish the retirement account of your choice. However, there won’t be match contributions from your employer.

Finally, freelancers have the responsibility for all the income they earn through the business. If you’re not able or unwilling to market additional projects and attract new clients, the earnings are likely to decrease.

All of these risks are possible to manage, but they’re important to consider before you dive into full-time freelance work.

What sort of job can I get as a freelancer?

Businesses are now more open and willing to hire freelancers to do different kinds of jobs. This has made freelance work more commonplace for a range of jobs.

Admin Support Jobs

Administrative support jobs that are freelance include:

  • Virtual Assistant
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Project Management
  • Order Processing
  • Data Entry
  • Transcription
  • Online Research

Design and Creative Jobs

Design and design jobs that are freelancing and creative include:

  • Brand Identity and Strategy
  • Animation
  • Presentation Design
  • Motion Graphics Design
  • Audio Production
  • Video Production
  • Voice Talent
  • Physical Design
  • Graphic Design
  • UX/UI Design
  • Art and Illustration
  • Photography
  • Videography

Writing Jobs

Writing jobs for freelancers can include:

  • Copywriting
  • Editing
  • Proofreading
  • Content Writing
  • Ghostwriting
  • Grant Writing
  • Writing Tutoring
  • Career Coaching
  • Creative Writing
  • Technical Writing
  • Business Writing

Web, Mobile, and Software Development Jobs

Freelance mobile, web, and software development work include:

  • Ecommerce Website Development
  • Scripting
  • Automation
  • Mobile Development
  • Product Management
  • Game Development
  • Desktop Software Development
  • QA & Testing
  • Web Design
  • Mobile Design
  • Web Development
  • Other Software Development

Accounting and Consulting Jobs

Accounting and consulting jobs that are freelancing include:

  • Business Analysis
  • Instructional Design
  • Recruiting
  • Tax Preparation
  • Accounting
  • Bookkeeping
  • Financial Analysis
  • Financial Modeling
  • Management Consulting
  • HR Administration
  • Training and Development
  • Financial Management
  • Virtual CFO

Legal Jobs

Legal jobs that are freelance include:

  • Business Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Tax Law
  • International Law
  • Securities and Finance Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • General Counsel
  • Labor and Unemployment Law
  • Regulatory Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Paralegal

Data Science and Analytics Jobs

Freelance jobs in data science and analysis include:

  • Data Mining
  • Data Analytics
  • Data Extraction
  • Deep Learning
  • Machine Learning
  • A/B Testing
  • Data Engineering
  • Data Visualization
  • Data Processing
  • Knowledge Representation
  • Experimentation and Testing

Sales and Marketing Jobs

Jobs in marketing and sales that can be found freelance include:

  • Marketing Strategy
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Community Management
  • Display Advertising
  • Telemarketing
  • Lead Generation
  • Public Relations
  • Market Research
  • Email Automation
  • Marketing Automation
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Search Engine Marketing

Customer Service Jobs

Freelance customer service jobs can include:

  • Customer Service
  • Technical Support

IT and Networking Jobs

Jobs in networking and IT that require a freelancer include:

  • Network Security
  • Information Security
  • Solutions Architecture
  • Systems Engineering
  • System Administration
  • Systems Compliance
  • Database Administration
  • DevOps Engineering
  • Systems Architecture
  • Network Administration

Engineering and Architecture Jobs

Jobs in Architecture and engineering that require freelancing include:

  • Civil Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Sourcing and Procurement
  • 3D Modeling
  • CAD
  • Interior Design
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Product Design

Translation Jobs

Translation jobs for free include:

  • Legal Translation
  • Language Tutoring
  • Language Localization
  • Technical Translation
  • Written Translation
  • Medical Translation

How can I get started freelancing?

You can begin your freelancing at any point by accepting payment to do the task for another.

Most freelancers would like to go one step further and formally incorporate their company, establish an account at a bank, and set up an online website for their freelance business.

There are three primary routes to earning cash as a freelancing.

Direct contact with clients

Working client direct is the process of contacting and interacting directly with clients via your channels. It could be via connections, networking, or referrals from word-of-mouth.

This is among the most difficult paths yet is the most profitable as there aren’t any middlemen involved in the transaction.

The direct client model also builds more stable relationships if you intend to freelance in the long term.


Some freelancers do not like the effort of locating and contacting the clients they have chosen to work with. For freelancers who don’t like this, alternatively, they can act as a subcontractor with an agency or a company.

The process is quite easy to follow. In general, agencies sell an enormous project to a client and then break the deal into “subcontracts” to be completed by freelancers or other agencies.

For instance, a website development company could offer complete website development. However, it may subcontract the copywriting work to an independent copywriter who is not part of the company.

Most agencies employ a handful of individuals full-time. They often subcontract specific aspects of their work to freelancers.

This can be great for keeping your plates filled. However, it eliminates the control. If the agencies you contract for are unable to fill their vacancies and you aren’t able to fill the void, then so will you.

Websites for job postings

Another way to find clients is to use an online marketplace for freelancers such as UpworkFiverrFlexJobs, or SolidGigs.

They function as a middleman between freelancers on one side as well as freelancers on the opposite.

This is a great method to find new work. However, they come with certain tradeoffs.

Marketplaces such as Upwork and Fiverr have plenty of competition. It can be difficult to establish an initial profile and receive the money you deserve. They will also retain a small portion of the work as a transaction fee.

However, over time, if you establish a solid reputation, you’ll be able to get work without needing to search too much.

I am a huge fan of FlexJobs and SolidGigs since they offer a less curated selection of vetted freelance opportunities. It is easier to work making proposals, and they generally provide excellent work. If you’re a copywriter, here are the top writing sites for freelance writers. Learn the steps to becoming an independent writer by visiting.

Click here to learn more about:

  • FlexJobs
  • SolidGigs
  • The Freelancing School Talent Directory (it’s completely free!)


The idea of freelance is to be the boss of your own business. It’s your responsibility to figure out how to make money through paid work, be it subcontracting with clients, direct client contact, or via a job marketplace.

There are hundreds of different freelance jobs. More businesses are hiring freelancers than ever before.

Freelancing is a great opportunity to earn money at your own pace. However, there are tradeoffs in terms of health and financial advantages.

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