From Academic Kids

This article is about the occupational definition of Freelancer. For the video game, see Freelancer (computer game).

A freelancer or (freelance worker) is a self-employed person working in a profession or trade in which full-time employment is also common. The word's etymology derives from the medieval term for a mercenary, a "free lance," which literally described a knight who was not attached to any particular lord, and could be hired for a given task.

Fields where freelancing is especially common include journalism and other forms of writing, computer programming and graphic design, consulting, and many other professional and creative services.

Freelance practice varies greatly among its practitioners. Some require clients to sign written contracts, while others may perform work based on verbal agreements. Some freelancers may provide written estimates of work and request deposits from clients, though for others this is not practical or necessary.

Payment for freelance work also varies greatly. Freelancers may charge by the day or hour, or on a per-job basis. However, large clients such as businesses may have internal policies regarding freelance pay, so a freelancer accustomed to charging by the hour may be asked to accept a lump sum payment for a particular job, although if a client's conditions are undesirable, the freelancer often does not hesitate to attempt negotation before accepting or rejecting the job.

Benefits and drawbacks

Freelancers generally enjoy a greater variety of assignments than in regular employment, and almost always have far more freedom to choose their work schedule. And if one is not freelancing by choice, the experience brings the chance to build up a portfolio of work and cultivate a network of clients in hopes of eventually obtaining a permanent position with one of them.

A major drawback is the uncertainty of work – and thus income – and lack of benefits such as health insurance or retirement pay. Another drawback is that freelancers often must single-handedly handle contracts, legal issues, accounting, marketing, and other business functions by themselves without necessarily being knowledgeable about all of them. If they do choose to pay for professional services, they can sometimes turn into a significant out-of-pocket expense.

The internet has opened up many opportunities for freelancers, especially those in low-wage countries working in software development and information technology areas.

See also



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