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What Is Freelancing? A Beginners Guide

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 4 9
Freelancing(84483)

What Is Meant By The Term Freelancing?

Freelance, freelance worker or freelancer are the terms given to someone that is self-employed and thus not contractually committed to an employer for any agreed time frame. There are many different areas in which a freelancer can work such as journalism, acting, photography, event management, computer programming, web design, writing and many more.


How Much And When Do Freelancers Get Paid?

The amount of pay that a freelancer can expect to receive really depends on the type of freelancing they do and of course the companies that they freelance for. The pay structure is normally dictated by the freelancer. Someone working as a freelancer can choose to be paid by the day, hour or maybe even paid on the amount of work that is completed. This is normally referred to as piece work. The greater the output the more they would get paid.


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Advantages of Being A Freelancer
  • In most cases you can start practically straight away without any major financial investment.
  • You can start building up your portfolio, clients, etc without quitting your full time job. This means that in your spare time you can start to test the water and discover if freelancing is something that you think you can do and you want to do full-time.
  • As a freelancer you are the boss, you decide who you work for and the amount of hours you work.

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Disadvantages of Freelancing.
  • Freelancing can be a very rewarding job, however it isn’t always easy. You’ll have times when work is plentiful and times when it’s quiet.
  • Remember if you decide to be a full-time freelancer and quit your job you will be classed as self employed. This means you will be responsible for paying your own taxes.
  • How much annual leave you take and when you take it is entirely up to you. When you are self employed however you must remember that it’s also unpaid!
  • Taking out insurance is also highly recommended. If you are ever unable to work due to illness you will need insurance in order to pay the bills.

How To Get Into Freelancing

One of the ways to successfully break into the freelancing market is to speak to people. Start by joining professional groups for specific areas of interest. There are many writers, artists and photographers groups out there that will offer you a wide range of contacts to get you on your way.

One of the easiest and sometimes overlooked areas of freelancing to break into are the local newspapers, free press papers and regional magazines. To get an idea for the type of work that you should submit to any publication you must first do some research. Buy the papers and magazines that interest you and read them from cover to cover to help give you a better understanding of what type of work is likely to be successful. When it comes to contacting these publications the editors details are usually found on the inside cover or the first few pages of the publication.


No Need To Quit Your Full-Time Job

Working as a freelancer selling your art, writing, photography and other skills is difficult but if done correctly and you are successful at freelancing it can make for a very rewarding full-time job. Many people decide to become a freelancer as it’s an area of self employment that they can get into without having to quit their full-time job straight away, or at all if you don’t want to.


Working For Free, Are You Mad?

You need to make a name for yourself and get noticed. A way to do this is to try submitting your work free of charge at first. Then once you have built up a relationship with some clients you can start charging for your work. No matter how painful working for free may seem, it is often necessary when you first start, but trust me it will help you to build a strong portfolio and make a name for yourself.

Once you've targeted a publication that you think matches your style of work then submit several ideas for stories, photos or illustrations. You never know, if they like your work you may even get given an assignment which can sometimes come with a cash advance. Cash advances mean you get paid before you finish the assignment. You may only get a percentage of the fee to start with and then receive the rest upon completion.


Approaching Companies With Your Work

Editors are very busy people and usually ask for submissions from freelancers to be sent by email or even on CD or DVD. If you do manage to secure an appointment then make sure you create a portfolio of your very best work to take with you.

Sending companies your CV with a covering letter is a good idea. In your letter explain how you can add value to their business by being a freelancer rather than a full time employee.

To be a successful freelancer you must be professional at all times. Use appropriate, detailed business cards and headed paper. Do your best on every project and include a bill with each assigned submission.


Freelancers Residual Income - Earning While You Sleep

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With freelancing there is a great opportunity to earn residual income. Residual income is something that most people are aware of but for those of you that don’t I’ll explain. Earning residual income means that you get paid time and time gain for work that you have completed in the past. The best example of this is when a pop star releases a single they get paid for it. But each time it’s played on the radio or used in advertising they also get paid royalties. As a freelancer you will own your work therefore if you license it correctly you'll get paid each time it’s used! How good is that? You can even earn whilst you sleep.
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Comments

Feb 11, 2012 8:27pm
anointedtoday
Great information.
Feb 12, 2012 5:49am
MrKnowItAll54321
Thank you for reading.
Feb 12, 2012 8:35am
Ddraig
I think this is a beautiful article on Freelancing. I would like to add that whilst yes, earning whilst you are asleep is a great plus to residual income, the reality is that you have to work so hard for the first 2 or 3 years that you forget what a good nights sleep actually is.
Mar 9, 2012 5:22pm
darren-w-gray
A great article, but something to remember is that in many countries, even if you have an "employed" job and a "self-employed" second job (like freelancing) then you still have to declare as self-employed to the authoritah!
Mar 9, 2012 8:56pm
judeerallos
Thank you for this article. It's very informative for a freelancing newbie like me!
Mar 11, 2012 1:43am
WebAddict
Been a freelancer for almost a year now and loving every second of it. :)
Apr 7, 2012 6:48am
infogenerator
Freelancing is indeed a great money making opportunity. As a living proof of it, I have already earned about $400 within 5 months since my membership in Odesk.com. I started out with one Aussie employer in October 2011 then found another one from U.S. on Feb 2012. Another Aussie employer hired me on March 2012. Most of my work involves writing for these employers. The hourly pay was not that huge because I still consider myself as a beginner, but with perseverance to earn and satisfy my needs, I was able to generate such amount in a few months. Not only that, my U.S. employer even gave me a little bonus as her birthday treat.
Apr 16, 2012 2:52pm
KevinInTx
Good info. I've done a little freelance work but this gave me some new ideas.
Thanks.
Sep 16, 2012 4:41pm
Pindar
Great article, with some important and clearly written information.
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