Saturday, July 7, 2007

Freelancing In A Fast Changing World

The word "freelance" was first coined by Sir Walter Scott, a renowned Scottish historical novelist and poet, in 1819 when he wrote his novel Ivanhoe, to refer to a medieval mercenary warrior. The term has then shifted into more figurative meanings. In the 1860s, freelance became a figurative noun; in 1903, it was officially recognized as a verb by etymologists like the Oxford English Dictionary.

Today, the word "freelance" has changed into different forms: as a noun, freelance or freelancer; as a verb, a photographer who freelances; and as an adverb, he works freelance.

Freelancing has become a career and lifestyle choice. It has given more people a variety of benefits, and these people feel there is no better option because freelancing offers a lot of flexibility.

Many people choose to leave the security of their day jobs and engage in freelance work due mainly to the following factors:

Variety of jobs. More people are drawn to freelancing for this reason alone. Freelance work offers a greater variety of assignments compared to regular employment. And with the Internet offering more and more opportunities, freelancing becomes a goldmine for those who seek good opportunities and better projects, not to mention higher paying jobs. A freelancer can also take on different jobs at one time. He/she can write feature articles while designing a website.

Fast turnaround of projects. Most freelance jobs are time bound. Freelancers can do these jobs fast and move on to new projects as soon as they finish the job.

More freedom, more flexibility. Freelancing can give you the freedom to choose the place, date and manner in which to do work. Though some freelancing schemes require contracts, freelance still spells a “no-employer no-employee” relationship. Freelance work offers more freedom for someone who does not want to be confined in an 8 to 5 or 9 to 6 work scheme. The freelancer is free to choose his working hours and be his/her own boss. Because of the freedom in the work schedule, freelancing gives a person more time to pursue other interests or take on more jobs. Other freelancers also consider they can even take care of their family better as soon as they start freelancing.

Improved income and savings. Freelance workers can usually command higher income rates for their projects because they are hired for their specific talents and skills. This is a big plus because they are paid higher rates, yet do not have to work full-time. Though income rates for freelancers vary, most freelancers charge either by the hour, by the day, or per-project. Others use value-based pricing methods instead of imposing a flat rate. Payments are arranged based on the agreement, and could be done upfront, percentage upfront, or paid whenever the project is completed. For others, a staggered payment scheme may be agreed upon.

Today, freelancers can easily find work through the Internet. The Internet has been a good facilitator of freelancers and employers around the world. These jobs can range from writing short articles to language tutorials to architectural designs. The demand to complete projects through freelancing is very high, as shown by the thousands of projects posted on the Internet.

For more information on launching a freelance career, download Melissa Gallagher's free e-book, Creative Freelancing, at