Want to be a freelancer or contractor? Here’s what you need to know.
Approximately 57 million Americans were freelancing in 2019, and if trends continue, more than half of Americans be will freelancing in the future, according to a study conducted by Upwork, a large freelancing platform provider.
Some of these workers are full-time freelancers; others are still holding down a 9-5 job, but doing side hustles in their free time. The proliferation of such part-time and freelance work has people talking about a new kind of labor market: The Gig Economy.
If you are interested in joining the gig economy and earning money outside the context of a full-time job, you’ll have to understand the many advantages and disadvantages of this type of income generation. Taxes will be different for you; you may need some basic accounting skills; and you’ll need to rearrange your lifestyle to accommodate working in this manner.
What Is Freelancing?
A freelancer is a self-employed person who offers services to clients. These services often, though not necessarily, are offered to businesses through the proliferation of sharing economy platforms like TaskRabbit, Mechanical Turk, or Upwork. However, individuals can offer their services directly to clients, without third-party resources that often take a cut of the pay.
Nearly every type of service needed by a business can be provided by a freelancer. Some of the most common freelance opportunities include:
- Graphic Design
- Project Management
- Social Media Manager
- Virtual Assistant
- Web Design/Development
- Writing /Editing
Some freelancers focus in general areas while others focus in specific industries, such as real estate assistants, or in niche skills such as pay-per-click (PPC) copywriters.