Freelance work: What you need to know

Thinking of going freelance?

Whether you’re looking for a job with flexible working hours, you want something with more variety, or you’re just really interested in pursuing a passion you haven’t been able to utilise in your current role – freelancing is a great way to break out of the 9-5 and go it alone.

To give you and insight of what freelancing is all about, here are a few things you should know:

 

What is freelance work?

Freelance work is a type of self-employment that is carried out on a flexible basis, and provided to a variety of different businesses.

Freelancers could work on big or small projects, both short-term and long-term – depending on what suits their skills, availability, and the employer’s needs.

Typical tasks could include anything from building a website or designing a logo, to writing a weekly blog post or shooting and editing a video.

 

How does freelancing work?

Usually, employers will get the ball rolling by posting a job or project on a freelance website.

This allows freelancers to contact them, explaining the reasons their skills and abilities make them suitable for this particular role – also stating how much they’d charge.

The employer is then able to choose from a number of proposals to find the best fit, discuss next steps, and come to a mutual agreement on how and when the work will be done. After it’s completed to the required standard, payment will be made.

 

What jobs can I do freelance?

Almost every service an employer needs can be outsourced to a freelancer.

However, there are certain fields and industries where freelance work is particularly common. These include:

  • Graphic design
  • Marketing, media & PR
  • Financial support (e.g. bookkeeping)
  • Writing, editing & proofreading
  • Fashion
  • Photography
  • Videography
  • Data entry
  • Programming

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What are the benefits of working freelance?

There are many benefits of becoming a freelancer. These include:

  • It’s quick and easy to get started
  • You can choose the work you want to do
  • You can choose when you want to work
  • It’s affordable
  • The work is varied

Because of these perks, it’s a particularly common choice amongst students or recent graduates, those who have lost their jobs, working parents, or people trying to pursue a particular passion or career path that they can’t easily find in regular role.

Is self-employment right for me?

 

How much do freelancers get paid?

Freelancers are typically paid hourly, or at a fixed rate.

They’ll usually set their rates themselves – which will depend on the type of service they’re offering, the value of the product, how qualified/experienced they are, and how long the project will take to complete.

Pay can often be negotiated if necessary, and will vary from job to job.

 

What do I need to become a freelancer?

Although freelance work has many perks, it’s not for everyone.

Aside from a high level of self-motivation (see also: objectivity), you’ll also need to be extremely adaptable, personable, and a great communicator. Specific skills and knowledge within the industry you’re offering work in is also vital – as most freelancers are up against a high level of competition.

Employers looking to hire freelancers will usually expect to see examples of their work, meaning an extensive portfolio that shows off your expertise and skills is essential.

Qualifications may be preferred, but this will depend entirely on your line of work, and the employer’s needs.

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Where can I find freelance work?

Freelance work can be found on a range of job sites, including reed.co.uk.

However, there are also a number of websites dedicated solely to freelancers and the businesses and individuals looking to hire them.

Upwork, Freelancer, and Peopleperhour are just a few sites you could choose from.

 

How to start freelancing

Here are some of our top tips to help you get started as a freelancer:

  • Choose a craft that’s in demand. Not only should you find something you enjoy (and are good at), you should also do your research to make sure your skill is marketable.
  • Build a reputable brand. Even though you’re going it alone, you still have to sell yourself as a brand – meaning an impressive online presence (e.g. through blogs and social media) is key.
  • Put together a portfolio. Employers are primarily concerned with your previous experience – so choose your jobs wisely to gain the best reputation, even if it means working for free when you first start out.
  • Pitch properly. Similar to job applications, employers don’t like it when you don’t tailor your proposal to their job. Focus on how your skills could meet their needs, and you’re far more likely to impress.

 

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