A freelancer is a person who is self employed. Freelance work is used in many different professions, but most commonly a freelancer works in the fields of writing and editing, photography, web design, graphic arts, or computer programming. In any given profession, freelancers sell or contract their work to a client rather than being employed by a business.
A freelancer's career commonly begins with a business or agency at which the freelancer gains experience and contacts in a particular field. Often, talented freelance professionals leave their place of employment because their services are in great demand and they can receive better pay as a freelancer. A freelancer can work at home, in the community, or at their client’s place of business.
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Businesses find many advantages in using freelancers. A business that needs particular work done, such as copywriting, can use the services of the writer only as needed. This is ideal when the business requires sporadic work or a one time project. The company is not obligated to provide steady work as it would be for a full time employee. Hiring a freelancer is also economical for a business because the business does not have to provide benefits such as health insurance, personal and sick days, or retirement benefits.
There are also many advantages for a freelancer. A person who is self employed can usually choose their own work schedule. Income may be greater than when working for an employer. A freelancer is his or her own boss and has the freedom to work independently, usually from the comfort of home. Freelancers also have the opportunity to pick and choose which jobs are of interest.
The down side to being a freelancer is that one must keep track of one's own books. This requires a lot of self discipline in order to fulfill tax requirements, time management and health and retirement factors. Another disadvantage is that it may be difficult to maintain a steady stream of work. A freelancer is responsible for finding and winning projects. Sometimes, convincing a client to hire a particular freelancer can be a job in itself.
There are many websites that offer to connect clients with a freelancer. These services often have many freelancers who bid on particular projects that clients post. Other services simply post projects and allow freelancers to submit a resume and samples of previous work. A freelancer often can find projects through word of mouth, from a former employer, or from classified ads in print as well as on the web.