What does freelance mean?

A freelancer is a self-employed person who is free to work with whichever clients they choose. It’s very different to working as an employee for a company.

When you freelance, you set your own rates for the services you provide. You don’t get a salary as an employee would, you earn your money from the services you provide to your clients. You are also responsible for carrying out a year-end and paying your own tax and National Insurance (applicable in the UK).

Freelancers generally (and are recommended to) use contracts when working with clients. A contract will detail what service the freelancer will be providing, what is expected of the client, what the payment terms and deadlines are, and any other details necessary to protect both the freelancer and client from disputes that may arise.

Usually, a freelancer will set their own working hours and can choose where they will work from. A freelancer will also need to provide their own equipment setup as well as pay for any required software.

A freelancer will also be responsible for setting up their own private pension. It is up to the freelancer what holidays they give themself. Watch out for sickness though as you’ll no longer get sick pay.

It’s a very flexible and (at times) rewarding way to work. There are, of course, pros and cons to freelancing that need to be considered.

Types of freelance work

A large number of jobs can be worked freelance. Popular freelance jobs include:

  • writing
  • web design
  • web development
  • social media management
  • virtual assistant
  • digital marketing
  • life coaching
  • photography
  • graphic design
  • proofreading and editing
  • bookkeeping

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