The freelance economy has experienced enormous growth in talented individuals looking to work on their own time. A freelancer has the freedom to choose how they want to work. I plan to give you an overview of the skills and qualities a freelance should possess in order to make a living as a freelancer. I also plan to discuss marketplaces I have experienced in my years of freelancing in the gig economy and what you can do to increase your chances of being hired as a freelancer while working remotely.Working remotely has become familiar with fewer people working in offices and more from their own homes. With the shift of freelance and remote work occurring in data science and nearly every industry, the question remains… what is the best way to get into freelance or remote gigs?
What Is Freelancing? A Basic Definition
A freelance job entails a person working for themself, rather than a company. Freelancers have the power to take on contract work for companies but the grand definition is being self-employed.Freelancers are generally able to set their own standards and rules; however, it is ultimately up to the agreed contract. Freelancers generally set their own work hours, keep track of time spent on projects, handling billing clients, and assuring tax and documentation are complete. Freelancers are considered contractors rather than employees.
Freelance, Remote, Contract Jobs
When you are seeking freelance jobs, there are many terms in relation to freelance jobs. These will help assure you find the right freelance job opportunities, and they help explain your work and your experiences to future clients. Contract work is a job in which you’re a contract worker for a temporary time period and not a permanent employee. Contract jobs can be described as the same as contract work. Independent contractors are basically freelancers except your work terms are written in contract and specified by a company or individual. 1099 is the IRS form an independent contractor completes, form 1099-MISC describes the job basically expressing that you are specifically a 1099 contract worker. Contract consultants are workers who are hired for temporary consultations for specific jobs and tasks within a company. Contract-to-hire is where a task begins as a freelance gig or independent contractor position in which the freelancer has the opportunity to become a company employee.
How to Find Freelance Work
Focusing on companies that are known to hire freelancers can be a great way to start your search for freelance work. These marketplaces serve as the middleman and typically provide escrow for your tasks.The well-known marketplaces such as UpWork and Fiverr have lots of competition and can often be difficult to find your initial tasks. They also often take percentage fees whether it’s between connections or fees on completed listings. There are new marketplaces that offer zero fees, cryptocurrency support, and more opportunities to connect with recruiters such as Grindez.Grindez — Get The Task Done
grindez.comGrindez is the go-to freelancer marketplace. As the go-to job marketplace hosted with cryptocurrency payments, Grindez connects freelancers and customers through smart contracts, enabling robust protections and efficient escrow payments — wherever the different parties are based. If you’re familiar with any of the big and established freelance platforms then you’ll be pleased by the features they have on their freelancer marketplace.Basically how it works is you sign up for an account then make a listing. Companies also post requests for work to be done.One of my favorite features which Grindez offers is to be paid out in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Grindez offers all the usual payouts similar to other freelancer marketplaces, but to be paid in cryptocurrency for tasks is always nice. These payments are of course subject to the usual Escrow methods to make sure both vendor and purchaser interests are catered for. Next, one of my favorite features is the search alert. Basically, you receive notifications when there are new job requests or listings matching the job criteria on the site.I am pleased that Grindez offers listing statistics in real-time so users can see every-time a new or existing user views listings. One of my other favorite features is Grindez’s affiliate program. Users can earn a commission from the completed work of those they refer to the site. Moreover, Grindez works in real time. The ability to instantly message other freelancers or companies is really convenient to discuss milestones or to handle disputes.
Freelance Career Fields
As you can see from the abundance of freelance task listings throughout the freelance marketplaces, a wide range of companies and organizations hire freelancers based on specific skills. On Grindez, there is work for almost every freelance skill, and if you would like to work on your own terms, choose from temporary projects to full-time jobs to on-demand tasks.These are the fields that typically hire the most freelancers:
- Accounting & Finance
- Administrative Assistance
- Customer Support
- Computer, IT, Software Development
- Medical & Health
- HR & Recruiting
- Education & Training
Pros and Cons of Freelancing
Every career has pros and cons. Being aware of common freelance challenges can assure you are prepared.
Pros of Freelancing
The ability to have control over how much you work is my favorite perk of freelancing. When freelancing, you have near-complete control whether you accept the contract and the number of hours you’d like to work, or you can find a different opportunity. Another great perk is the ability to decide how much the hourly, fixed, and project rates will be for tasks. Once you have mastered these values, working part-time and making full-time wages is possible.
Cons of Freelancing
My favorite perk of freelancing can also be a huge responsibility, managing your personal business operations. As a freelancer, you will need to learn to pay your taxes, create invoices, finding your own health insurance, and buying personal office equipment.Another downside to freelancing is the consistency of work. At times you will feel an abundance of opportunities, often having to decide which project to complete. While having too much work can be overwhelming at times, not having enough work is also a downfall. Freelancing will require you to manage clients and connections, assuring you always have a steady income stream.
Before You Start The Freelance Journey
When you work with clients it’s easy to get wrapped up in your own vision of how the project will look. However, sometimes the work you complete is not up-to-par with your clients. Have an open discussion about your challenges and more than likely will your challenges no longer be difficult.
Choose a Niche
There is always a need for every skill out there. Deciding which skill to focus on can often be difficult so why not just list every skill you have? Then you will surely be hired. Specializing in something really anything enables you to build trust with prospective clients more and you will be easier to approach for people looking for that exact service.In the early days of freelancing, taking any paid work is not out of the normal. But as you become more skilled within branding yourself and your work, you will begin to weed out the cheaper tasks and ultimately find yourself within a comfy position. Specialize in any specific field, and as an expert, you can charge more for specialized services.
When you begin freelancing, it will be helpful to determine which types of work you are happy to complete and which tasks you prefer to not accept.The more you know about your own work, the better at explaining your skills to prospective clients becomes. This will help you brand your company, aka yourself, and it will help you control your brand image. An important aspect of being a freelancer is how your employer perceives you. Are your personal social media channels filled with irrelevant clutter? Thinking about these decisions helps grow your portfolio. Taking on steady work is tempting but if you are completing tasks that are outside of your career field, then you will not see much growth within that industry. Especially if you’d like to become an industry leader, having a brand image in multiple industries becomes confusing.
High-Quality Freelance Portfolio
A high-quality work portfolio will set you apart from other skilled freelancers. If you would like to have a great portfolio, consider showcasing your past experience. You will also want to highlight contact information and links to personal projects.The purpose of your portfolio is to express who you are. This will help assure potential clients that your skills match up with the work they need to be completed. Spending time to build a beautiful portfolio will show that you care about your work. Once you have worked on your portfolio, start including a link to the site on your social profiles, it will help generate traffic.
Establishing credibility is especially helpful in finding freelance tasks. Whether you decide to write an ebook, create helpful content, or collaborate with influencers in your industry, you will need credibility. The more people you can reach with your knowledge, the more likely you are to build connections and ultimately find more work.
Your prospective customers and especially your clients are your source of income. Always communicate clearly and offer honesty and the best customer service you can. If you happen to make a mistake then be honest with the employer. Nobody wants their time wasted so take responsibility for your actions.
If you’re considering a freelancing career, then nice job! Starting your own company and working for yourself is very rewarding and a great way to grow your skills. From the start of my freelance journey, it has been extremely fun to learn how to market myself and be exposed to new opportunities. What you really need to figure out is if freelancing is right for you, which skill you will provide, and where to market yourself. Once you have these figured out, the rest will come with ease. Freelancing means becoming your own boss!Knowledge is Power! Share your knowledge, open-source your projects, participate in a community (any community!), and maybe just maybe publish a blog post about it.Constructive criticism and feedback are welcomed. Nicholas Resendez can be reached on Instagram @nirholas, on LinkedIn, and Twitter @nickresendez for updates on new articles.