How to Become a Freelancer: Pros and Cons

If you have amazing skills to develop a very good application, you can easily earn six figures a year. App developers are currently one of the highest-paid freelancers. The more skills you add to developing an app leads to earning more money.

What Is a Freelancer

Feedback from members suggests that web portals such as tend to attract low-paying clients that, although demanding very high standards, pay ~$10 per hour or less. Low-cost suppliers frequently offer to work at rates as low as $1–$2 per hour. Because most projects require bidding, professionals will not bid because they refuse to work at such rates. This has the effect of reducing the overall quality of the services provided. Payment for freelance work also depends on industry, skills, experience and location. Freelancers may charge by the day, hour, a piece rate, or on a per-project basis.

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For example, book publishing companies have traditionally outsourced certain tasks like indexing and proofreading to individuals working as independent contractors. Self-employed accountants and attorneys have traditionally hired out their services to accounting and law firms needing assistance. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service[38] offers some guidance on what constitutes self-employment, but states have enacted stricter laws to address how independent contractors should be defined. According to this statute,[40] a software engineering firm cannot outsource work to a software engineering consultant, without hiring the consultant as an employee.

What Is a Freelancer

They’re building an audience, and want to find ways to deliver value at scale to this audience. They realize that relationships trump everything, and that the best clients come from direct referrals and their network and not from job boards or freelancer marketplaces like Upwork. Finally, the most successful freelancers are in it for the long haul. This way, if and when what freelancing times get bad and they want to throw in the towel, these freelancers just need to reference their business diary and are able to see that they’re doing something right. Successful freelancers also realize that what their clients want from them isn’t their skill multiplied by some number of hours. Think about what interests you most about the work you do and lean into it.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Being a Freelancer

They tend to favor fixed-rate projects or at least weekly billing. They anchor their costs against the financial upside of a project, and use value-based pricing to determine their fees. For example, weddings are a freelance photographer’s bread and butter. But by specializing in, say, a documentary or reportage style of photography, a freelancer can set themselves apart from the pack and reach a smaller, more concentrated pool of potential clients. Your collective social media presence is your new homepage and a stepping stone to your wider portfolio.

If you register as a partnership or limited company, you’ll have some additional responsibilities, such as choosing and registering a company name. Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.


They do not take many gigs all at once but rather move from one gig to another. When you work independently, you’re able to experience a great deal of freedom and flexibility. Whether you’re a freelancer or a self-employed worker, there are several appealing perks, from broadening your skillsets and professional growth opportunities to creating a work-life balance fully catered to you. But as with any type of job, there are some downsides, including fluctuating workloads and inconsistent earnings. As a freelancer you generally don’t have access to full-time perks such as paid time off, equipment, office space, matched pension contributions, and employer-backed health insurance.

  • This can help create a good impression that you understand your client’s needs.
  • There are many online communities and resources available for freelancers, and connecting with others can help you stay motivated and inspired.
  • As of 2020, according to an Upwork study, there are already about 59 million freelancers in the US alone, and the number is expected to increase further.
  • Another example is a web designer or an app developer who does one-time work for a client and then moves on to another client.
  • A freelancer is a self-employed person who offers services, often working on several jobs for multiple clients at one time.