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What is a freelancer?

A freelancer is a person who works as an independent contractor and gets paid on a project-by-project or task-by-task basis, typically for short-term projects. A freelancer is not an employee of a company and is, therefore, free to work on multiple projects simultaneously for different people or businesses unless they have a written contract committing them to do so until a specific task is finished.

Gig workers are another name for freelancers.


A freelancer is an independent contractor who receives payment for each project or activity they complete, usually for a brief period of time.

The opportunity to work from home or a non-traditional workspace, a flexible work schedule, and a better work-life balance are advantages of freelancing.

An independent journalist who reports on stories of their own choosing and then sells them to the highest bidder is an example of a freelancer.

Freelancers typically do not receive benefits from their companies, like health insurance or retirement plans, because they are not considered employees.

The term “freelancer” can also refer to gig workers.

Recognizing freelancers

Generally speaking, freelancers are regarded as independent employees who, depending on their schedule, may work on their contracts full-time or as supplemental full-time jobs. As independent contractors, freelancers often need signed contracts before starting work and agree to a set payment based on the amount of time and effort required to do the assignment. This price could be a fixed rate, a fee determined on the number of hours, days, or projects, or it could take another form.

A freelancer typically works in the creative, skilled, or service industries, such as in media, marketing, music, acting, journalism, video editing and production, illustration, tourism, consulting, website development, computer programming, event planning, photography, language translation, tutoring, catering, and many others.

Taxes and Freelancers

Freelancers are classified as self-employed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Unlike employees of a company, self-employed individuals do not have their taxes deducted by the business they are working with. Therefore, the freelancer is solely responsible for paying income taxes, which must be paid in advance in quarterly payments. A freelancer is liable for the self-employment tax that the IRS mandates in addition to the income tax.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Freelancing

A better work-life balance, the opportunity to work from home or other unusual workspaces, and a flexible work schedule are all advantages of being a freelancer. Workers who have been laid off can profit from freelancing, which lowers the rate of unemployment in an economy as a whole.

Constraints include difficulty finding new employment frequently and anxiety about future financial security. Additionally, there are fewer employer benefits like insurance and retirement plans, as well as lower per-hour pay compared to wage earners who are employed. Freelancers are ineligible for unemployment insurance, with the exception of individuals who met the requirements for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) during the pandemic.

Illustrations of Freelancers

An independent journalist who covers stories of their own choosing and then sells their work to the highest bidder is an example of a freelancer. Another illustration is a web designer or an app developer who only works on a project for a client once before moving on to another.

Additionally, freelancers frequently work in the following settings:

Designing and illustrating graphics

PR, marketing, and media

Financial assistance (e.g. tax preparation)

creation, revision, and editing

videography and photography

input of data

Programming and beta testing for software

Web page layout


Freelancers: Are They Paid?

Yes, freelancers are frequently compensated per task or per project.

The Where and How of Freelance Employment

In addition to being advertised in numerous locations online and in print, freelance jobs can also be found through networking, word of mouth, and recommendations. It’s common to locate freelance work on websites like UpWork, LinkedIn, Craigslist, and Fiverr.

Is Freelancing a Career Option?

While many people use freelancing as a side gig or “gig,” some can make it their full-time job. A freelancer must possess the necessary skills, drive, and resilience to deal with unpredictable income streams.

Do Freelancers Work for Themselves?

Freelancers typically operate as independent contractors. Thus, the money they make is regarded as self-employment income.

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