The total number of freelancers in USA is inexact, as the most recent governmental report on independent contractors was published in by the U. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. At that time, there were approximately The total number of freelancers in UK is also inexact; however, figures from the Office of National Statistics show that people working mainly at or from home rose from 9. Freelancing is a gendered form of work.
Surveys of other specific areas of freelancing have similar trends. Freelancers have a variety of reasons for freelancing, the perceived benefits differ by gender, industry, and lifestyle. For instance, the Freelance Industry Report reported that men and women freelance for different reasons. Female survey respondents indicated that they prefer the scheduling freedom and flexibility that freelancing offers, while male survey respondents indicated they freelance to follow or pursue personal passions.
Freelancing is also taken up by workers who have been laid-off, who cannot find full-time employment,  or for those industries such as journalism which are relying increasingly on contingent labor rather than full-time staff. In interviews, and on blogs about freelancing, freelancers list choice and flexibility as a benefit.
Freelancing, like other forms of casual labor , can be precarious work. Additionally, freelancers do not receive employment benefits such as a pension , sick leave , paid holidays, bonuses or health insurance , which can be a serious hardship for freelancers residing in countries such as the US without universal health care. Freelancers often earn less than their employed counterparts.
While most freelancers have at least ten years of experience prior to working independently,  experienced freelancers do not always earn an income equal to that of full-time employment.
Feedback from members suggests that web portals such as Freelancer. Because most projects require bidding, professionals will not bid because they refuse to work at such rates. This has the effect of reducing the overall quality of the services provided. According to research conducted in by the Professional Writers Association of Canada on Canadian journalists and editors, there is a wage gap between staff and freelance journalists.
The Professional Writers Association of Canada report showed no significant difference between the earnings of male and female freelancers, though part-time freelancers generally earned less than full-time freelancers. Working from home is often cited as an attractive feature of freelancing, yet research suggests working from home introduces new sets of constraints for the process of doing work, particularly for married women with families, who continue to bear the brunt of household chores and child care despite increases in their paid work time.
The Internet has opened up many freelance opportunities, expanded available markets, and has contributed to service sector growth in many economies.
Much computer freelance work is being outsourced to developing countries outside the United States and Europe. Freelance marketplaces provide a marketplace for freelancers and buyers.
Service providers or sellers create a profile where they include a description of the services they offer, examples of their work, and, in some cases, information about their rates. Buyers register and complete a basic profile, and then post projects outlining their requirements. Buyers will then bid for these projects on a fixed price or hourly basis. Freelance marketplaces have globalized competition for some jobs, allowing workers in high- and low-income countries to compete with one another.
These marketplaces, including Fiverr and Lyft , have been criticized as exploiting workers. Many periodicals and newspapers offer the option of ghost signing, when a freelance writer signs with an editor but their name is not listed on the byline of their article s.
This allows the writer to receive benefits while still being classified as a freelancer, and independent of any set organization. In some countries this can lead to taxation issues e.
Ghost signing has little bearing on whether a writer is a freelancer or employee in the US. Freelancers often must handle contracts, legal issues, accounting, marketing, and other business functions by themselves. If they do choose to pay for professional services, they can sometimes turn into significant out-of-pocket expenses. Working hours can extend beyond the standard working day and working week. The European Commission does not define "freelancers" in any legislative text.
However, the European Commission defines a self-employed person as someone: In the exercise of such an activity, the personal element is of special importance and such exercise always involves a large measure of independence in the accomplishment of the professional activities.
The European Forum of Independent Professionals defines freelancers as: Independent professionals work on a flexible basis in a range of creative, managerial, scientific and technical occupations; they are not a homogeneous group and as such, they cannot be considered or investigated as a whole.
They are generally characterised by a large portion of autonomy, a high labour productivity, knowledge intensive performance, social commitment and a large dose of entrepreneurship and specialisation. In Europe , the perceived disadvantages of being freelance have led the European Union to research the area, producing draft papers [ citation needed ] that would, if enforced, make it illegal for companies or organizations to employ freelancers directly, unless the freelancer was entitled to benefits such as pension contributions and holiday pay.
In the UK, where the terms of integration into the EU have and are being hotly debated, this would lead to a significant reshaping of the way freelance work is dealt with and have a major impact on industry; employers would be required either to give freelancers the contractual rights of employees or employ only freelancers already being employed by agencies or other organizations granting them these rights. However, the White Papers that recommend such moves have not yet been adopted in the EU, and the potential impact on UK employment laws is being opposed by key UK organizations lobbying the government to negotiate over the acceptance of EU legislation in such areas.
Government Accountability Office GAO  recommended that the Secretary of Labor have its Wage and Hour Division "focus on misclassification of employees as independent contractors during targeted investigations. At the same time, this increased enforcement is affecting companies whose business models are based on using non-employee workers, as well as independent professionals who have chosen to work as independent contractors.
For example, book publishing companies have traditionally outsourced certain tasks like indexing and proofreading to individuals working as independent contractors. Self-employed accountants and attorneys have traditionally hired out their services to accounting and law firms needing assistance. Internal Revenue Service  offers some guidance on what constitutes self-employment , but states have enacted stricter laws to address how independent contractors should be defined. For example, a Massachusetts law  states that companies can hire independent contractors only to perform work that is "outside the usual course of business of the employer," meaning workers working on the company's core business must be classified as employees.
According to this statute,  a software engineering firm cannot outsource work to a software engineering consultant, without hiring the consultant as an employee. The firm could, however, hire an independent contractor working as an electrician, interior decorator, or painter. This raises questions about the common practice of consulting, because a company would typically hire a management consulting firm or self-employed consultant to address business-specific needs that are not "outside the usual course of business of the employer.
Although it is commonly attributed to Sir Walter Scott — in Ivanhoe to describe a "medieval mercenary warrior" or "free- lance " indicating that the lance is not sworn to any lord's services, not that the lance is available free of charge ,  a previous appearance occurs in Thomas N.
It changed to a figurative noun around the s and was recognized as a verb in by authorities in etymology such as the Oxford English Dictionary. Freelance writing is a huge industry, and you could be everything from a lifestyle blogger to a marketing copy writer.
You need to determine what niche fits your skills and interests best; that will make it much easier for you to locate specific, nitty-gritty advice. I am based out of India. I would like to write short stories. Could anyone guide me as how I should go about it. Please recommend sites where I should register myself. I have registered myself in Freelancer. You can find them here: This article was quite helpful and the comments were too.
I am just about to finish my English MA and I am broke as joke, living at my parents, and finding writing work online is my priority for the time being. Best of luck to everyone trying to survive out there! Thank you for this post. I just recently got into freelance writing and I feel so stupid already. I feel so cheated. Should I even complete the job? Is it possible that the work she is doing for oDesk would at least provide a portfolio for her future use?
I am brand new to the writing game. Love your words of encouragement to stay true to writing and get properly paid for your talent. I love writing and have been caught up in content mills since I decided to write online about a month ago. I must admit the pennies I have received for my time, talent and dedication has been great to encourage me to seek something better.
Are there any books or articles you recommend for beginners looking to earn a living writing online? The Write Life has actually put together a great list of resources to check out. You can find it here: This article was an actual eye opener. Once again a big thank you for now I know what to expect and whom to deny.
Thank you for the tips. I am handicapped and a fairly new mom at 41 to our 9 month old first and only son. Can anyone give me additional tips on the best way I could start a blog aside from wordpress or blogger please?
First of all, congrats on your new baby! Second of all, my thoughts are with you and all your friends and loved ones — are you located in the Philippines yourself? Third, The Write Life has put together a great list of resources you can check out. First off, congrats on your 1st son! Sounds like you come central Visayas too like me, am from Bohol Phils. Yolanda Haiyan and the quake that hit our country — and the economic woes they brought are really challenges we need to hurdle. You see, I am more comfortable in writing articles than blogs.
Also, writing websites that work like a vendo machines like Xoobiz, in , but now seems closed where writers can draw writing jobs from a queue — will also help, as we need not waste time in pitching for jobs. Thank you for the great tips. I also get money writing for Bubblews and I I also write for sendmeglobal where they only give award to a writer each month. I was able to win it once. You have opened my eyes to other relevant targets. There is soooo much info out there and this article has saved me from contentmills, not to mention wasted hours-thanks very, very much!!
I guess you your words of wisdom are meant for US-based writers, knowing how much it costs to live there, this makes sense … well, kinda. If you were writing for a while before delving into the freelance world, i. However, taking those low-paying gigs is what you really need if you got no clue what your niche is, and want to get experience. Since I write for my own amusement and because Jennifer Oh dear Jennifer who gave me my first writing gig! At least for the sake of getting good at your craft before pitching to high-paying clients.
Speaking of High-paying clients, I stumbled upon your post as I was looking for them, but all I could find is advice, and advice only. It just takes time to sort through and separate the wheat from the chaff!
I vehemently disagree with you here. Content mills horribly abuse writers and make it difficult for people who have spent years in this field to get a fair wage due to the expectation that companies can pay less to get more. All around bad news and not recommended for anyone who wants an actual career in writing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Alicia. To each their own opinion — some people, like Talal said, enjoy using sites like oDesk because it works for their needs and goals.
The pay is sustainable and you are able to begin your career well. Being a young, I started on Elance some weeks ago while at the same time trying oDesk. What is your advice for me? I think Elance is good for building some portfolio and acquiring experience, but naturally I want to move on to something bigger and better.
Hi Matteo, thanks for your comment! We actually have a post coming up on what to look out for when using outsourcing sites like Elance and oDesk.
Keep an eye out for that in the next few weeks! Usually to make a change in life its quite scary but your post is so straight forward and well written that it makes anyone feel ready to take on the world! Thanks for this post and some of the other ones as well about freelance writing. Thanks for the kind words, Grace! I hope TWL can help motivate and support you in your career change. I will be graduating with a Professional Writing degree in May. I just signed up to write articles on Hire writers.
I was a technical writer before becoming a s-a-h mom. Whatever you do, when first out of college, it can take a long time to build up your experience. It can be a long, frustrating climb, but do have patience and try not to get frustrated when you keep hearing that you need experience to get the job. So where can you find freelance gigs? Journalism Jobs While most of the postings are you guessed it again!
FlexJobs One of the top job boards for telecommuting, FlexJobs enables you to create a custom job search profile to meet your specific needs. Morning Coffee Newsletter This weekly e-newsletter provides a nice compendium of freelance writing and editing jobs of all shapes and sizes from around the Web with competitive pay rates.
ProBlogger Job Board Created by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger, an authority site on blogging, you know jobs listed here will be from serious employers who have an idea what good writing is really worth. Freelance Writing With exclusive job opportunities as well as posts pulled from sites like Indeed and Craigslist, this board consolidates a variety of gigs for everyone from newbie to seasoned freelancers.
Featured resource Earn More Writing Learn how to find freelance writing jobs that pay and earn the kind of money you deserve. Featured resource Creative Class Move from irregular client work and crappy pay to being a freelance leader in your field. September 23, at 3: September 27, at 8: March 29, at May 11, at 5: December 17, at June 4, at July 15, at 3: October 19, at 7: November 21, at 3: February 7, at 9: August 15, at 9: January 3, at 4: February 9, at 1: April 3, at 9: February 27, at 3: May 30, at 7: October 29, at 9: October 29, at November 4, at 8: December 3, at 2: April 1, at 6: May 1, at June 1, at 4: October 1, at 7: November 17, at 1: November 17, at 9: August 6, at 9: August 12, at 7: October 9, at 8: August 17, at 3: January 18, at 9: January 29, at 2: June 20, at 3: June 16, at 1: May 29, at January 4, at 3: March 11, at 5: August 23, at 7: Shawn Mory McMillion says: May 4, at 5: May 15, at 7: July 10, at 3: February 9, at 8: July 10, at 4: October 4, at 8: September 23, at 4: September 23, at 5: November 17, at 8: March 4, at 1: July 15, at 5: December 9, at 5: January 14, at 6: December 26, at 5: September 24, at 3: September 30, at 2: September 30, at 5: May 27, at November 10, at 8: October 2, at May 13, at 4: February 18, at September 4, at October 13, at December 28, at 8: October 25, at 8: October 26, at 7: October 27, at 1: June 1, at 5: July 5, at December 13, at 3: August 17, at 4: October 28, at October 31, at 3: October 31, at 9: November 1, at 7: November 17, at November 1, at 1: November 10, at November 10, at 1:
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In this same way, a freelance writer is a writer who works for a company or individual on a contractual, or project basis. These "contractual" positions don't even necessarily need to have a formal contract in place (although that's probably in . Freelance practices and compensation. According to the Freelance Industry Report compiled primarily about North America freelancing, nearly half of freelancers do writing work, with 18% of freelancers listing writing as a primary skill, 10% editing/copy-editing, and 10% as copy-writing. 20% of freelancers listed their primary skills as design.