A freelancer or freelance worker is a term commonly used for a person who is self-employed and is not necessarily committed
to a particular employer long-term. Freelance workers are sometimes represented by a company or a temporary agency that resells
freelance labor to clients; others work independently or use professional associations or websites to get work.
While the term "independent contractor" would be used in a higher register of English to designate the tax and employment
classes of this type of worker, the term freelancing is most common in culture and creative industries and this term specifically
motions to participation therein.
Fields, professions, and industries where freelancing is predominant include: music, writing, acting, computer programming,
web design, translating and illustrating, film and video production, and other forms of piece work which some cultural theorists
consider as central to the cognitive-cultural economy.
Freelance practices and compensation
According to the 2012 Freelance Industry Report compiled primarily about North America freelancing, nearly half of
freelancers do writing work, with 18% of freelancers listing writing as a primary skill, 10% editing/copy-editing, and 10% as
copy-writing. 20% of freelancers listed their primary skills as design. Next on the list was translating (8%), web
development (5.5%), and marketing (4%). Elance, a web platform that connects freelancers with contractors, surveyed its members
and 39% listed writing and editing as their main skill set.
Depending on the industry, freelance work practices vary and have changed over time. In some industries such as consulting,
freelancers may require clients to sign written contracts. While in journalism or writing, freelancers may work for free or do work
"on spec" to build their reputations or a relationship with a publication. Some freelancers may provide written estimates of work
and request deposits from clients.
Payment for freelance work also depends on industry, skills, and experience. Freelancers may charge by the day, hour, a
piece rate, or on a per-project basis. Instead of a flat rate or fee, some freelancers have adopted a value-based pricing method
based on the perceived value of the results to the client. By custom, payment arrangements may be upfront, percentage upfront, or
upon completion. For more complex projects, a contract may set a payment schedule based on milestones or outcomes. One of the
drawbacks of freelancing is that there is no guaranteed payment, and the work can be highly precarious.
In writing and other artistic fields, "freelance" and its derivative terms are often reserved for workers who create works
on their own initiative and then seek a publisher. They typically retain the copyright to their works and sell the rights to
publishers in time-limited contracts. Traditionally, works would be submitted to publishers, where they would become part of the
slushpile, and would either elicit an offer to buy (an "acceptance letter") or a rejection slip.
People who create intellectual property under a work for hire situation (according to the publishers' or other customers'
specifications) are sometimes referred to as "independent contractors" or other similar terms. Creators give up their rights to
their works in a "works made for hire" situation, a category of intellectual property defined in U.S. copyright law Section 101,
Copyright Act of 1976 (17 USC 101). The protection of the intellectual property rights that give the creator of the work are
considered to have been sold into a work for hire agreement. of employees, however in a contractual rather than employment
Impact of the Internet
The Internet has opened up many freelance opportunities, expanded available markets, and has contributed to service sector
growth in many economies. Offshore outsourcing, online outsourcing and crowdsourcing are heavily reliant on the Internet to
provide economical access to remote workers, and frequently leverage technology to manage workflow to and from the employer. Much
computer freelance work is being outsourced to developing countries outside the United States and Europe.
Online freelance marketplaces are websites that match buyers and sellers of services provided via the internet. Buyers bid
on services at a fixed price or at an hourly rate. These marketplaces allow people to sign up remotely for freelance assignments
and get paid through a merchant account.
The Internet also enables many freelancers to be interviewed and hired without actually meeting an employer in person. This
facilitates long distance business relationships all over the world, but can provide a challenge in screening applicants. Hiring
more than one applicant for a short test assignment after the interview is now a common extra step in the hiring process.
Freelance employment has been common in the areas of writing, editing, translation, indexing, software development, website
design, advertising, open innovations, information technology, and business process outsourcing. Freelance journalists, for example,
may find it easier to start their own or shared news blogs, with many blogs growing into highly trafficked and competitive news
sites capable of hiring dedicated staff and other talent.
Changes to the publishing industry since the 1980s have resulted in an increase in copy editing of book and journal
manuscripts and proofreading of typeset manuscripts being outsourced to freelance copy editors and proofreaders.
Online activists, defending different social and political causes, are also referred to as political freelancers or
Over the past few years, the concept of doodling, yes, that same aimless scribbling you did in high school history class
has grown in opularity, and more companies are beginning to employ it.
the practice of doodling is being lauded as a way to better spark creativity, retain information, and to share complex concepts in
an easily understood way.
Infodoodling, a term coined by Austin, Texas-based consultant and author Sunni Brown, helps companies tell their
stories in a more interesting and engaging manner.
And with researchers saying that doodle videos can be 800% more engaging, and can help people retain information 29% better than
they could otherwise, you can expect this industry to see significant growth.
Therefore, if you are creative with images and visual organization, you might consider offering this service.
To become a doodle video creator, you need to learn video animation skills.
Successful freelance creators on sites like Elance and Odesk are fluent in skills such as Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects,
camtasia, Adobe Photoshop, jQuery, whiteboard animation, motion graphics, illustration and graphic design, Flash animation, and
In general, a doodle video that's less than two minutes long can pay up to few hundred dollars, and it can take several hours or
more to produce.
You might frown at anything involving writing, because you probably know plenty of writers out there who are looking for a
On Elance, however, the demand for scriptwriting services grew 43% over the last quarter, and there are now roughly 21,000 posted
jobs in his category.
The demand for scriptwriters may continue to grow, and it has nothing to do with Hollywood.
Here's why: Companies are finding that video is more engaging than text, which means they are producing more video content for
their websites, internal communications, social media, and advertisements.
And for every video, they need a script â€“ which is where scriptwriters come in.
To make yourself marketable, take a course or certificate program in scriptwriting or screenwriting.
Familiarize yourself with the format by reading plays or popular scripts; reading how-to books and studying successful
scriptwriters and their work will also help.
Fundamentally, you will need to have a strong imagination, and be able to convey your ideas (or the business client's strategy) in
a clear, simple, and creative manner sometimes, as in radio ads, using only dialogue and sound effects.
Pay ranges from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars per script, depending on your experience and the complexity and
length of the project.
As the Internet connects more people around the world every day, its a given that language translation skills will be in
demand, since we dont all share the same first language.
So its not surprising to learn that translation services was one of the fastest-growing industries in 2013, with revenues now
topping $3 billion.
Obviously, to offer translation services, you have to be fluent in a second language.
But if you have a knack for languages, it could even be worth your time to learn one of the most sought-after languages, as the
market will only keep growing as long as the Internet exists (or until Google Translate gets more sophisticated and nuanced).
Translators Cafe is a good place to find more information on industry trends and the language combinations that are most in
demand. The site even analyzes supply and demand trends within the industry. Hourly rates average about $25.
Copywriting is another skill that's growing in demand.
On Elance, demand for freelancers with copywriting skills grew by 40% over the last quarter, rising up to 105,000 posted jobs.
Whats driving the growth in demand for copywriting services? As the economy grows, more businesses are expanding or
starting up, especially online, and they constantly need new Web and ad copy to sell their products and services.
When it comes to copywriting, a solid portfolio is everything.
If you have little or no experience writing Web or ad copy, take a class or two in the subject and develop some sample works you
could use as a portfolio. Or, offer to take on some small jobs for free or at a steep discount write all the descriptions for your
cousins new Etsy shop, or compose copy
for the flyers advertising your towns annual fair.
And remember, the key to good copywriting is to make it convincing and concise.
Many consider writing about sports a dream job, and as such its a fairly competitive industry.
But its also another fast-growing area of freelance writing.
Demand for freelancers with sports writing skills grew 19% over the last quarter, a that trend could continue due to the ongoing
shift from print to online-based sports content.
This shift is driving many sports publications to cut their staff writers in favor of less costly freelancers.
If you want to be a sports writer, its helpful if you love and have an in-depth knowledge of a particular sport.
Sports writers may get to cover the sport they're most passionate about, but often they're also required to cover high school games
and other athletic events.
This is another industry where its essential to have some clips, or published works, to show prospective clients.
To get started, offer to write for a local sports blog for free until you have a respectable amount of quality posts to show for
it; the practice will make you a better, faster writer, too.
You could also take a course in sports journalism to help you understand how the profession works and to develop contacts in the
Essentially, voice acting is the art of audio performance, such as recording voice-over narration or performing voices for
in a wide array of works like feature films, corporate training videos, foreign language films, commercials, and so on.
Online video and audio content are bound to continue growing because they foster better audience engagement.
This means the demand for voice talent should grow along with it.
So if you're good or creative with your voice, you might want to consider auditioning as a voice actor.
If you're interested, but you're not sure about your voice, don't worry: This sort of skill can be learned and honed.
Voices.com, a leading marketplace of vocal talent, says that voice actors have earned over $39 million from its platform
alone, averaging about $250 per job.
The company also said in its 2013 industry report that â€œthe average fee per job has increased by 10% in the last two years.
Simply put, transcription is the conversion of speech to a written text document.
The transcription market has seen impressive growth in recent years, and demand for freelancers with transcription skills rose 7%
over the last quarter on Elance.
The opportunity in this industry has always been impressive, but the Internet only magnifies it.
And if you're fluent in other high-demand languages, there's even more demand for your services.
The rise of digital boardrooms, webinars, and video conferencing means the demand for transcriptionists should keep growing.
To be successful in this industry, set up a professional website, adding positive references as you get them, so interested
organizations know you are a professional in the field.
Hourly rates range between $12 and $17, but there are higher paying markets as well.
The almighty Google is the biggest reason for the growth in demand for product description writing services.
You may already know that Google frequently changes its algorithm to reward websites that have good content.
As reported by Wall Street Journal in 2011, online businesses that didn't have what Google considers useful content lost
significant traffic, which led to a decline in sales.
This, in turn, led more retail companies to stop using the standard product descriptions provided by manufacturers and to
hire freelancers to create new, unique product descriptions.
And the growing array of online products and even the companies that sell them, like Wayfair, Woot, and Overstock.com means
that the demand for this service will likely keep growing.
Being a product description writer requires you to be a good researcher, with the ability to convert sometimes dry and
technical specifications into something an average person will want to read.
Press Release Writing
This is another job being helped by the growing economy.
When a company does something it wants people to know about such as opening a new store location, launching a new product, or
putting on an event it sends out a press release in hopes that reporters will write a story about it.
The press release itself is often written like a news story but with an insufferably positive spin peppered with quotes
from the CEO or other company spokespeople.
A background in either journalism or marketing would give you a leg up on the competition, since writing a press release may
require conducting interviews and more or less boils down to a narrative marketing pitch.
The demand for freelancers with press release writing skills grew 17% over the past quarter on Elance.
Social Game Development
According to a 2013 report from IBISWorld, social gaming was the hottest niche in 2013.
The report said the social gaming niche saw explosive growth of over 180% between 2008 and 2013.
And it will keep growing as long as social networks exist, which creates opportunities for game developers.
You'll need to have or learn skills such as computer programming and game design to have a chance in this niche.
But while these skills are in high demand, there are more options than ever when it comes to learning them as developer boot camps
and online programming courses are available everywhere.
Information Technology Security Consulting
Recent high-profile data breaches at major companies like Home Depot and Target have helped spur demand for IT security
IBISWorld ranked it as the fifth hottest business in 2013, estimating that the industry will see a 5-year compound annual growth
rate of 10% as companies invest in more technology and hire more IT professionals to keep those systems secure.
To become a freelance IT security consultant, you'll need to possess a thorough knowledge of networks, databases, and
computer viruses, and know how to evaluate computer systems for weaknesses.
Certifications such as Microsoft (MCSE) and Cisco (CCIE) will also increase your chances of securing a gig.
And as with any freelance or consulting role, a professional website will help establish your credibility and market your brand.
With the spread of computer technology, it’s a fairly good bet that those who have
computer science degrees and information technology degrees will be in demand for a long time to come. Indeed, a computer
technician who is knowledgeable about different systems can usually find a job.
And, these days, you don’t even need to work for the same company for years and years.
Instead, you can actually freelance, providing your services to a variety of companies.
You might even be able to make more money as a freelance computer technician. Our connectedness as a society means that you should be able to find a number of opportunities online. If you are looking for a job as a freelance computer technician, here are 30 great places to start:
Computer and Technology Job Sites
Dice: This is the place to go if you are a technology professional.
From computer jobs to IT jobs to everything in between, you can get access to great job opportunities as a freelancer.
Computer Jobs: Look here for jobs as a computer technician, or as some other type of computer professional. Includes freelance jobs and temporary jobs.
ComputerWork: If you are technically minded and good with computers, this is a great web site for you. Helpful for freelancers as well as those looking for more permanent jobs.
TechCareers: Look for a career in technology with help from this site. Post your resume as a freelance computer technician, and look for openings.
JustTechJobs: Connect with those who could use your skills. Great place for computer technicians to start, freelance or otherwise.
Technology.Jobs: Use this site to kickstart your job as a computer technician.
Pathways to Technology: A variety of different jobs dealing with computers, engineering and technology. A great resource for the freelance computer technician.
Tech Centric: Look for computer jobs on this web site aimed at technology and computers. Freelance jobs and temporary positions are available.
Computer Tech Jobs: No surprise here: These jobs are aimed at computer technicians. Plenty of work for the freelancer.
KForce: Find computer technician jobs all over the country, including jobs for freelancers.
Freelance Job Sites
Guru.com: This freelance marketplace allows you to bid on freelance projects in your area of expertise as a computer technician. A helpful place to start looking.
Sologig: Freelance web site that includes help finding freelance computer technician jobs, as well as IT and engineering jobs. A good place to start your search for a computer or technology related freelance gig.
Flex Jobs: You can find freelance work and part time work using this web site. A great place to look if you are searching for jobs that are a little more flexible.
GoFreelance: Another freelance marketplace that helps you find technology and computer jobs. A number of great freelance opportunities for the thoughtful freelancer.
Elance: Start here to find online freelance jobs for computer technicians and experts. Plenty of work to go around.
iFreelance: Find jobs with the help of this web site. You can freelance from anywhere, and highlight your skills as a computer tech.
Project 4 Hire: Use this web site to look for work as a computer technician. Plenty of tech and computer jobs available.
Freelancer.com: Just what it sounds like — you look for freelance work online. You find employers looking for contract workers in a number of fields, including computer tech.
All Freelance Directory: Not only can you find freelance jobs here, but you can also get access to helpful articles and tips about freelancing. A solid resource for freelance computer technicians.
Odesk: There are a number of freelance jobs available through this web site. You can find a position as a contract computer technician, looking for temporary and freelance positions.
Smashing Jobs: Look for great jobs all over the world. Includes computer jobs, technician jobs and other technology opportunities. A great place to find the right job for you.
Sitepoint Market: Another freelance market place where you can sell your skills as a computer technician. Let others know your qualifications, and look for the right job for you. This is a well known technology site.
FreelanceSwitch: Get paid as a contractor. Look for jobs, and find helpful information on pricing your services to clients. A great resource for the talented freelance computer technician.