If it seems as if you’re hearing about freelancers more and more often these days, it’s not your imagination.
The way companies and individuals alike do business these days is evolving, with freelancing becoming an increasingly significant part of the narrative, and it’s a win-win situation for all involved.
Skilled, motivated web developers, graphic designers, content writers, and more get to write their own tickets when it comes to their professional lives.
Brands get the expert services they need without having to create full-time in-house positions to address every task they need to be completed.
But what is a freelancer? What are the pros and cons of becoming one, and how might hiring one help your brand reach its full potential?
Let’s take a look at the answers to those questions and more.
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What Is a Freelancer?
In traditional employment, a professional is hired in a full-time or part-time capacity by one company for whom they perform a specific service.
On the other hand, a freelancer is a self-employed independent contractor who may use their skills and expertise to serve a variety of clients, companies, and brands simultaneously.
The number and type of projects a particular freelancer may take on vary greatly from person to person. Some people choose to freelance on a full-time basis, while others do it on the side to supplement income from a traditional job.
A part of freelancers offers highly specialized services, while others prefer to provide a broader spectrum of options for their clients. Some work entirely out of their homes, while others do not, as well.
The Pros and Cons of Freelancing
Like every big decision in life, the choice to forgo traditional employment in favor of becoming a freelancer has both benefits and drawbacks.
Here’s a closer look at some of the most important ones to consider.
The Pros of Freelancing
Read much of any resource that addresses the question “what is a freelancer,” and you’ll see professional freedom listed among the top benefits of freelancing every time.
Freelancing allows talented professionals to pursue whatever work they please and serve a wide variety of clients and brands. Freelancing also:
- Provides an opportunity to become a respected expert in one’s field, industry, or niche
- Allows professionals to set and manage their own schedules
- Makes it easier to scale one’s income over time as they build experience and skill
- Allows a professional to quickly pivot from one topic or industry to another
The Cons of Freelancing
But, of course, nothing comes without a few cons as part of the mix, and freelancing is no different.
Commonly cited drawbacks to the freelance life include:
- The need to be one’s own marketer, accountant, customer care specialist, etc;
- The need for a plan as to how to deal with slow-paying or non-paying clients;
- Workload inconsistencies — busy months followed by incredibly slow months;
- The need to obtain one’s own insurance, navigate complicated taxes, etc.
So what is a freelancer? A freelancer is someone with access to a variety of incredible opportunities when it comes to their professional future.
But it’s also crucial that aspiring freelancers be aware of the challenges that come with that choice.
Examples of Freelance Jobs
A person can do nearly any type of work on a freelance basis. However, the digital age makes certain kinds of freelance work particularly popular. Here are a few examples.
A way with words is an incredibly beneficial skill to have in your corner if you’re interested in freelance writing.
Freelance writers and editors can specialize in a wide variety of content types, including blog articles, press releases, whitepapers, and more.
Visuals are really just as important as written words when it comes to building a brand and making a splash online these days.
For that reason, freelance gigs in graphic design, web design, logo design, and more are plentiful.
Video content is huge these days, so brands need good go-to professionals who specialize in video production, editing, music composition, and more.
SEO and Marketing Pros
Having a professional to turn to for SEO, marketing, and branding services is crucial for every digital-age brand. It’s also very common for these tasks to be outsourced to third-party agencies or individual freelance professionals.
And these are really just a handful of the many options available to today’s freelancers. Many people also work as freelance translators, accountants, HR managers, personal assistants, and more.
How Can Freelancers Help Brands?
At this point, we’ve covered the possible answers to “what is a freelancer” and touched on some of the reasons a professional may or may not choose to become one.
Now it’s time to take a closer look at how hiring freelancers can help modern brands get ahead in today’s digital landscape.
Freelancers can save your company a fortune
Although there are definitely benefits to hiring full-time employees for many tasks, the costs of doing this for every possible job you need to be done are costly, to say the least.
Not only does a traditional employer need to cover salaries, but they’re responsible for benefits, payroll taxes, paid time off, and more.
And unless a company is hiring for a remote position, they need to provide a space for the person to work in, as well.
Since freelancers are self-employed, the companies they work for aren’t responsible for any of those things.
Instead, clients can pay for work on an as-needed basis, reducing costs without sacrificing a thing regarding work quality.
Freelancers provide excellent work quality
Many freelancers have an incredible degree of varied experience under their collective belts. They also tend to be passionate individuals who do what they do because they genuinely love it.
That adds up to a lot of dedication to providing top-tier work.
Naturally, anyone looking to outsource work to freelancers must thoroughly evaluate candidates to ensure they’re a solid fit for their brand and business goals.
But you’ll find that, overall, outsourcing to freelancers won’t require you to lower your standards even a little.
Freelancers can often complete tasks faster
Most full-time employees ultimately wear many hats and have a long list of responsibilities on their plates at any given time. Adding additional projects to any one person’s to-do list may also mean delays, depending on the person’s current workload.
Since freelancers often accept new projects and clients on a case-by-case basis, they don’t deal with the same scheduling issues full-time employees do.
This allows them to commit to shorter turnaround times and devote more of their attention to each individual project.
The very nature of freelancing also makes it easy to hire fresh talent as needed. You can bring on additional help to assist with work overflow, cover an existing team member’s unexpected absence, get something critical done at the last minute, and more.
Freelancers help brands reduce risk
Hiring a full-time employee is a long-term commitment. That said, it requires a brand to invest in that individual’s future with the company. (Think employee training costs, orientation time, and similar factors.)
If and when that employee ever decides to move on to greener pastures and pursue other opportunities, you lose that investment and must reinvest in someone new.
But anyone who’s done their homework on “what is a freelancer” knows that outsourcing to freelancers doesn’t carry any of these risks.
You still get access to incredible work quality as well as the chance to build an ongoing relationship if you wish.
However, neither of you is required to make a long-term commitment to one another unless you want to, reducing risk for both parties.
Freelancers bring a fresh take to the table
When people work together for the same company in the same space over long periods of time, they begin to think alike.
And while this can be fantastic in some ways, it can lead to creative stagnancy and a lack of access to the fresh perspectives brands need to stay ahead these days.
Adding freelancers to your team gives you instant perpetual access to that freshness, especially if you’re hiring creative professionals.
The right people can introduce you to new solutions to problems, approaches to branding, and ways to connect with your customers – things every brand could use.
Freelancers are easy to hire and onboard
According to a recent report from Upwork, roughly 36 percent of all Americans took on freelance work in one capacity or another in 2021.
That’s over 59 million people in the United States alone – an immense pool of people from which to choose your brand’s next star collaborator.
That said, talented, experienced freelancers are pretty easy to find, especially with access to a couple of go-to freelance platforms in your back pocket.
And the onboarding process is incredibly simple, as well, as you’ll be contracting with the person on a project-by-project basis.
Send Your Brand Soaring into the Future with the Right Freelance Talent
So, what is a freelancer? They’re so much more than just a talented worker who could be an incredible help to you when it comes to staying on task and getting things done. The right person could be the X-factor that helps propel your brand to greatness.
This is especially the case with important brand-building priorities that require fresh perspectives and dedicated talent — like building and maintaining a winning SEO strategy.
Check out our handy guide to outsourcing your SEO campaign to the right freelance professional for more information.
You’ll discover the many benefits of outsourcing various SEO tasks, learn when outsourcing is the best solution, and more!