- PDF eBook: 281 pages
- Author: Jill L. Ferguson
- Published: 2019, First Ed.
What Does It Mean To Do Freelance Jobs?
Freelance Jobs: According to the Merriam-Webster, the first known use of the word “freelance” was in 1819, and it referred to mercenary soldiers especially in the Middle Ages (“Freelance,” 2018). But the way the word currently is used isn’t that different (except for the solider part). Freelance is defined as:
(1) a person who acts independently without being affiliated with or authorized by an organization or
(2) a person who pursues a profession without a long-term commitment to any one employer. When working as a freelancer, one can work for different companies at different times or different companies at the same time.
One can do the same or similar work for all of the places or different types of work depending on what is needed. For example, if you’re a skilled graphic designer and artist, you could be a freelancer working on a branding project for Company A, designing their logo, their website and all of their marketing materials, while in the space of the same day or workweek, working on your own graphic novel that is under contract to a big worldwide publisher, and doing layout on a small catalog of merchandise for a jewelry designer client, too.
Essential to being a freelancer is that your work is done under contract, where you are either paid per hour, per piece (page, word, or widget, for example), or per project, and the contract has a start and an end time (or a deadline). And though you are contracted to the company for the work, you are self-employed (meaning you have different tax status recognition and different paperwork, such as you fill out a W-9 instead of a W-4 and receive a 1099 for the year’s work instead of a W-2, but more on that in Chapter 4). But that isn’t to say you cannot be a freelancer and an employee, too.
Reasons People Freelance Jobs or Participate in the Gig Economy
People freelance, work as contractors, participate in a gig economy, or start their own businesses for a number of reasons. Quartz reports the “splintering of traditional jobs into taking freelance jobs and temporary work” as one of the reasons”. Bloomberg reports that stagnant wages in traditional jobs may push people into freelance work because they can’t get by on a single paycheck, or because upstarts like “Airbnb to Upwork make it easier for people to earn on the side”.
One of the things that has shifted over recent years, according to the survey and “Freelancing in America” report is that “63 percent of freelancers (up from 53 percent in 2014) said they are freelancing by choice, not out of necessity”. People may start a freelance job gig on the side because they want to pursue or transition into another type of work, because they want to launch a business but want the security that comes with a regular paycheck while they start out, or simply because they like the work or the people. (One of my graduate school professors said how much he loved a cab-driving gig he had because he got to meet fascinating people.)
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