Where does the term “freelancer” come from?
You’d never say that freelancers are tough, would you? However, the history of them would prove you wrong!
The word “freelancer” comes from the Medieval times. Essentially a sellsword or mercenary, a freelancer was a knight for hire. Any lord or king could use a “freelancer” to fight on their behalf in battle. Think Bronn from game
A-ha! Do you see the comparisons now?
Today freelancers do that same thing. But instead of fighting in battles they write code or content for you. While they may not have a sword or be trained in combat, they do have OTHER skills that make them desirable for your kingdom.
A freelancer can do anything really. The important factor is that it’s:
- They have a skills that their clients do NOT have
- It’s temporary work
That’s why it’s most common to have freelancers write code. This is a skill that not everyone possesses, but is necessary when building websites or starting your own app.
When the app or website is complete, so is the freelancer’s work (for the most part). Though they might be contracted to do updates everynow and then, but the bulk of it is over.
What Does It Mean to Freelance in the Gig Economy?
The popularity of freelancing has been on a historic rise for the last few years. Whether people are getting tired of lower salaried work, or technology has simply made it easier remains to be seen.
What we do know is that freelancing is how a lot of people make a living nowadays. And no moreso than the “millenials”.
You’ve heard a lot about them and their love of avocado toast and hatred for big businesses like Buffalo Wild Wings. They are often tied to the “gig economy”. Millenials are notorious nomads that don’t let something like a job dictate where they will be heading in life.
The freelance lifestyle is perfect for them, but why exactly?
What Does It Take 2 Be a Freelancer?
- Skills – Something like a college education isn’t something you need as a freelancer. What you do need are skills – the more, the better. Without anything speicifc to offer potential clients, you are likely headed for a very unsuccessful freelancing career. Do you know a language that not many people speak (relatively speaking)? Maybe you can translate that into a freelancing gig.
- Time Management – Just because you can work whenever you want, doesn’t mean you should. In order to be a freelancer, you will need to be an efficient time manager. Think about it: the more jobs you complete, the more you get paid. PROCRASTINATORS NOT ALLOWED!
- Networking Skills – So how do you find work as a freelancer (more on that later)? The best way to get new business is through referrals. Make sure you do quality work so that people are more likely to recommend you and your services. You’d be surprised how quickly good word of mouth spreads!
Do you possess these traits? It might be time to consider the freelance life! Just a few more things to consider:
Pros of Being A Freelancer:
- Pick and choose the jobs you want – With a flexible schedule, you will be able to pick which projects you want to prioritize. It may take you a while to get to the point where you can be choosy though!
- Low Startup Costs – With a lot of the freelancing platforms (see below), you can post your services for free. Even if you want to start something like a website, it cost you more than $20
- Flexible Schedule – The obvious one. A lot of freelancers get into the business so that they can work from anywhere, anytime they want, and NOT HAVE A BOSS.
Cons of Being A Freelancer:
- Inconsistent Work Flow – Get ready for times where there’s no work at all. Save a rainy day fund to account for downtimes like this.
- Not a steady stream of income – Not only that, but the direct deposit won’t be going into your bank account every few weeks. Be ready to hustle in order to pay the bills.
- No Benefits – Traditional employment does have it’s benefits, including uh…benefits. Things like medical insurance and eye insurance will have to be covered solely by yourself.
Resources for Freelancers:
Use these sites to launch your freelance career. You can offer your work and see if there’s a market for it. Go from there.