Overview of Freelancing: Meaning and How to Get Started as a Freelancer

The rise of freelancing work now has huge impacts on the economy, labor relations, and personal careers. This article will help you understand the concept of freelancing, know what freelancers represent as well as the strengths and weaknesses of this work style.

This comprehensive overview will provide you with sufficient information to help you make smart choices concerning your freelance occupation.

Who is a Freelancer?

Freelancers are people working for contracts at distant places or remote location. Since technological advancements is now coupled with rising demands on work-life balance and creativity; it has given rise to more freelancers than ever before.

The word freelancing, which has become more common lately and it implies a radical modification of the labor environment. Freelancing helps you to offer your skills as service, hence, you don’t belong to any particular employer.

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What is Freelancing?

Freelancing is a contract that involves a freelancer selling their skills or expertise in small packages to individual clients or different agencies. Such an agreement varies with traditional full-time work whereby people serve only one employer alone.

Independent work has become ubiquitous and symbolic of the evolving tech world. Most freelancing work does not follow the formal traditional and structured nine-to-five jobs.

There is inherent flexibility in freelancing, it allows the freelancer to choose what to work on, when to do it, and very often work from any place with a connection to the internet. Autonomy differentiates freelancers from ordinary workers and creates an entire world of opportunities in the job market.

Types of Freelance Work

Although, there are several freelancing works but they generally fall under these three categories:

  1. Creative and Artistic Freelancing

Creative and artistic freelancing include writing, designing and photography. Freelancers design different products for their clients. These products may range from materials to fashion and artwork for different clients. Freelance work appeals to these individuals due to their strong passion for art as well as the creative freedoms they offer.

  1. Professional and Technical Freelancing

Professional and technical freelancing include programming, consulting, and accountancy. This freelancing work requires specialized experts who have technical skills and knowledge in that particular profession. The high proficiency of these freelancers in solving complex and providing professional advice makes them worthy in this instance.

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  1. Gig Economy Freelancing

The gig economy is a segment of freelancing that features people who engage in small, short-term tasks or jobs usually facilitated by gig platforms like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash.

For example, workers in the gig economy may comprise drivers who offer ride sharing services, couriers, or temporary contractors. Such illustrates the broad scope of freelancing jobs starting with very specialized professions to simple tasks positions.

Characteristics of Freelance Work

  1. Independence

A significant characteristic of being a freelance is freedom. Freelancers are self-employed people who control their work, schedule, and customers. This independence ensures that they can take on projects that suit their expertise and mold their career paths.

  1. Flexible Schedule

The advantage of freelancing lies in flexibility in working time. The flexibility of such working arrangements is an attracting factor for those trying to achieve family/work-life balance, taking care of their kids, or other engagements. Freelancers can fit their schedules to their work time in this way.

  1. Project-Based

Freelancing mostly entails assignment-based engagement of individuals where they serve a particular period. After the completion of the project, the relationship between them may or may not continue.

Therefore, this approach enables freelancers to work on several different projects and thus interact with numerous customers and industries. Freelancers can set up an escrow account to receive the funds from various projects that they handled.

Common Freelancing Position

  1. Writers and Content Creators

There is not only a huge segment, but also people who earn their living through writing and content creation. They write articles, blogs, marketing materials, and other digital content for different client industries. Their words take on shapes of narratives, convey information, and engage audiences.

Read Also: Content Writing: A Simple Guide for Beginners

  1. Graphic Designers and Artists

Visual artists and graphic designers help companies to create logos, graphics, illustrations, and designs used by various media including business firms, publishing houses, and marketing bodies. They are integral in building brands and creating brand language messages.

  1. Programmers and Developers

The programmers and developers build and manage websites, and software applications, as well as create a technology solution. They have the skills like coding and debugging of software.

  1. Consultants and Coaches

Consultant and coaches provide specialized knowledge and guidance in areas like management, career counseling, personal growth coaching, and corporate strategy. Clients gain useful suggestions about how they can achieve their specific targets.

  1. Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants perform administrative tasks and organize activities remotely. These activities include managing schedules, meetings and e-mailing lists which are critical support activities for businesses and organizations.

Read Also: Top 10 Platforms for Content Writing Jobs

Reasons to Consider Freelancing

  1. Passion

If you are a passionate creative professional, you can be a freelancer, work your passion and make good income. It doesn’t matter what you do, once you are willing to give it a try, you can enjoy both your passion and income from freelancing.

  1. Entrepreneurship

Most freelancers have an entrepreneurial spirit. They create professional directions, and find open and clear options for themselves in the freelancing world. The independent method gives them several hints on what to do to succeed.

  1. Side Income

Having another income source is another way in which freelancing has proven beneficial. Some people do freelance jobs together with typical work to supplement their income and clear loans.

As a freelancer, you are at liberty to select the number of projects to handle hence scaling up or down on your workload in conformity with the amount of money you desire.

  1. Control Over Work

As a freelancer, you have control over your work. You are independent in picking up projects, fixing rates, and deciding on your career paths. Control allows you to focus on projects you are passionate about or have the expertise for.

You have the possibility of developing their schedules and matching them to other family obligations. Specifically, this liberty to match with working times proves quite attractive for people desiring of improved work-life balance.

Getting Started as a Freelancer

  1. Identify Core Competencies and Specialty

If you are interested in freelancing, you should assess your capabilities, develop your soft skills and decide your areas of expertise. Freelance businesses will stand on your abilities and professional experience. Knowing what you are good at and what exactly excites you will assist you in identifying your niche in a competitive environment.

Read Also: Top 10 Remote Marketing Jobs in Africa

  1. Legal Considerations

It is important to consider the legal aspects of setting up a freelance business. Location and kind of work done will also depend, especially if you decide to be a freelance agency. Therefore, you might need to register your business, get appropriate licenses or permits, and decide on your business structure like sole proprietor versus LLC. In this case, consulting a trained lawyer and/or a tax expert may be helpful.

  1. Create a Portfolio

Once you decide on what you can do and its legal implication, the next thing to consider is having a professional portfolio. A portfolio is a sample of your previous work to tell clients about what you have done and why you might be the right fit for the job they want to do. A good portfolio can be very important in terms of attracting new clients.

  1. Marketing and Branding

Because of increasing market competition, effective marketing and branding are important if you will land a good client. Branding may involve developing a professional website, and using social media to market your services. Hence, reaching for more clients depends on creating a solid web outreach.

Finding Freelance Opportunities

  1. Freelance Platforms

Using online freelance platforms such as Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr is a good way of locating freelancing opportunities. These platforms link a freelancer to clients. On these platforms, you can make profiles, indicate your potential, and place bids for jobs consistent with your abilities.

  1. Networking

Networking is an effective way of obtaining freelance work. Seek and attend industry-specific events, get involved in professional associations, and network with potential customers. Having adequate personal connection and recommendations mean job offers with great paychecks.

  1. Cold Pitching

You can also use cold-pitching to approach certain potential clients or businesses that may need your services. However, you must develop convincing proposals that showcase ways in which your expertise can meet their requirements. Cold pitching is not an easy task especially when you want it to end up in long-term client relations but with perseverance you can get there.

Read Also: Crafting a Winning Business Pitch

Dealing With Client in Your Freelance Work

Practices for Managing Client Expectations

The followings are what to do to manage your client expectations;

  1. Set clear goals which can involve having a shared vision, setting objectives and creating outcome measures.
  2. Create project plan that is agreed upon by everyone.
  3. Prioritize communication and rapport building
  4. Introduce the task process to the team so that they can get familiarized with the set-up and operational procedure right at start.
  5. Promise less, deliver more since building trust and fostering confidence comes as a result of over-delivering more than what the client expected.

The Need for Written Freelance Agreement

Freelance agreements that effectively communicate the core aspects of a relationship in line with the understanding between clients and freelancers. These are base contracts that define the scope of work/timeframe for work and payment terms. These are essential for preventing misconceptions and enabling transparency on both sides.

If there are changes during execution of the project, then the points referred to will serve as the standards for comparison.

The role of written agreements in freelancer-client relationships is that they define what happens during a project or service. Here’s why they’re important:

  1. Defining Scope of Work

    Written agreements define the extent of work. This document reduces ambiguity and possible scope which occurs when performing the project to ensure the alignment of both parties involved.

  2. Setting Deadlines

    Formal contracts stipulate time frames for key stages within a project. It helps in determining the need, purpose and when the projects should be undertaken thus permits planning as well as controlling of a project.

  3. Legal Protection

    A written agreement in law may act as a record and a defense mechanism in case of a lawsuit or breach of contract issue. Through such documents, you and the client will abide with the law to honor your commitments

  4. Professionalism and Trust

    Professionalism towards a freelance role can be demonstrated through putting down of an agreement that acts as a witness between the you and the client.

  5. Mitigating Disputes

    Written agreements are documented as proper tools to resolve conflicts and discrepancies that may happen between you and the client.

Managing Client Feedback

Managing client feedback involves soliciting clients’ responses to ensure that a project turns out successful. It involves active listening, empathy, understanding the issues to be addressed, and having the revisions focus on achieving the project’s objective.

If the project will move forward, you should state facts and address them directly to clients, without jeopardizing the integrity involved therein. Successful client’s experiences are determined based on development of cooperative workplace involving candid communication.

Read Also: How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency in Africa

Handling Client’s Revisions

Handling revisions professionally involves;

  1. Active Listening

    Be willing to listen sensitively to the feedback from the client and any concern they may have in order not to defend yourself. Listen, pay attention to what they consider and what they expect from the supervisor.

  2. Clarity in Communication

    Explain the reasons behind the decision made and its importance in achieving the project’s objective. Explain how these limitations and restrictions will affect necessary revision.

  3. Constructive Solutions

    Suggest practical and viable solutions, avoiding distortion of project integrity while addressing clients’ concerns. Strike a perfect balance favorable to the interest of the client, with the aim of achieving the primary objectives of the project.

  4. Transparency

    Ensure that your revising processes are included by explaining when it will be finished, how the changes might affect deadline and cost.

  5. Professionalism

    Always remain professional and polite whilst dealing with other people throughout the entire revision period. The clients want it said in a polite and clear way in order to make an overall improvement of the entire experience with the firm.


Freelancing contradicts the conventional employment framework as it allows you to make career decisions based on talents and desires. Deciding to go into freelancing can be ascribed to situational preference and aspiration for self-actualization.

Therefore, you need to evaluate the pros and cons, and make your own decisions. Also, explore your skills and targets to see whether it matches what you have been planning in your mind about any freelancing position.

Additionally, it is necessary to accept the opportunities as they come. To succeed in freelancing, you need to be committed to personal and professional development. The modern freelance job market is boundless only if you will put in the required effort.


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Olawale Moses Oyewole
Olawale Moses Oyewole
Olawale Moses Oyewole is an adept writer who stays on top of current events and curate informative and engaging articles for his readers. He is a digital strategist who help brands gain online visibility.

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