While you may have considered full time freelancing or consulting, in the past – but nothing came together – with the ‘new normal’ brought about by the coronavirus pandemic – believe it or not, this may be an excellent time to begin freelancing. Not to mention it could open new job doors for you.
It’s no secret – since the Coronavirus infiltrated our lives:
for months companies have been laying workers off. Many of which, unfortunately, may never be rehired. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been eliminated; yet much of that work still must be completed.
With companies losing money, daily, they’re heading to freelance sites to hire individuals to complete projects – rather than hiring someone full time. This move is signaling a growing shift in companies to develop work-at-home jobs and other remote work situations. A change which various industries say could become permanent.
As a freelancer this means if you have the skills and expertise needed you may consistently work for the same company although may not be hired full time. This leaves you with the ability to take on other jobs – to make as much money and work as many hours as you like.
Technically – what is a Freelancer?
A freelancer is an individual a company hires not only for a variety of projects but also can be hired to start, organize and complete projects, for instance. Once they’re hired, and know what the job includes, freelancers set their own hours. As long as the project is completed on time as required by the hiring company.
Most freelancers work from home – but can work wherever they’re comfortable – making contact with their connection at the hiring company, or project manager, at scheduled times during the completion of the project.
While a freelancer, consultant or independent contractor, may regularly meet – or connect – with the individual who hired them, or the project manager, it’s rare a freelancer works at the offices of the business hiring them. Plus, technically, a freelancer isn’t an employee, in the strictest sense, so aren’t bound by most company rules – other than those stipulated by the project manager which relate to the project. Freelancers are paid upon completion of a project.
Some Freelance Guidelines –
1)A freelancer is not accorded benefits as regular employees are. For example, in most cases they are not provided with medical benefits, holiday pay, payments for expenses or overtime pay.
2) Although employees have taxes automatically deducted from their paychecks, it’s a freelancer’s responsibility – in the U.S. – to handle their own taxes; they are not deducted from payments made to the freelancer.
3) Technically your home office is your place of work and you may qualify for U.S. tax deductions if a specific section of your home is set aside for work. Outside the U.S. you should check on the work-at-home guidelines in your country.
Here’s a link for the U.S. new ‘simpler IRS deduction method’ for home businesses: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/simplified-option-for-home-office-deduction
4) While your employer should provide you with a 1099-MISC form, for payments made to you over $600, the U.S. IRS now requires companies provide a 1099-K form for payments over $20,000. A 1099-K form should also include payments made to you by third parties like Paypal, for example. Or if you had an online business and were paid for 200+ transactions.
It may come as a shock to some, but for nearly a decade American workers have been opting to work as freelancers – independent individuals who prefer working for a variety of different companies, performing unique tasks and projects which better fit their skills and expertise. That said, the freelance ‘gig’ economy has been slowly and steadily growing.
Here’s a few reasons companies and brands have been regularly searching for freelancers, independents and consultants:
- They’re immediately available and like working for short periods of time.
- They’ve been vetted – to a certain extent – by freelance marketplaces they join.
- In some cases they’ve been tested too.
- Many have uploaded their portfolio so it’s easier to determine if an individual has the expertise needed.
- Companies can quickly and easily communicate with potential candidates via these sites.
In short, freelancers are easier and faster to hire. For the freelancer this can mean getting hired in 24-48 hours instead of months. You’re not stuck in a long, arduous application and interview process. When a company posts a job, they want to hire now! Not only that, many companies pay freelancers more for the same work done in a 9-5 job.
Here’s a few types of jobs companies post to freelance sites to fill:
- Short and long term projects
- Unique and hard-to-fill jobs
- New product development
- To complete unfinished work
- Code writing, Internet, digital work
- And much more.
A sampling of some top companies who’ve been utilizing freelancers for several years:
- Conde’Nast Magazines
- Connections Academy
- KMPG (global audit firm)
Aside from the companies above, here are others using freelance sites to hire –
A wide variety of companies – large and small – are using freelance sites. Including top companies and brands. Top Internet security and fraud companies – everyone from financial and insurance companies to creative companies hiring content writers and website developers.
While it’s slower, entrepreneurial and startups are once again popping up – looking to hire creatives to help develop and distribute their new products and services, for example. Creating the need to hire fast. Both full time jobs and freelance are available.
Freelance can also provide the opportunity to take on ‘side jobs’ – even if you’re still working on your regular job. Allowing you not only to bring in additional money but get known and re-hired with companies who appreciate your work and diligence.
Once you’ve decided to join a freelance marketplace, you must create a robust profile. A well written profile will:
1. Help raise your visibility – to stand out.
2. Keep profile viewers engaged, reading, interested in contacting and hiring you.
3. Acts as a sales page 24/7. And provides enough valuable info to encourage a hiring pro or decision maker to call or email you about contracting your services.
4. Help you secure more freelance positions.
5. Build your authority.
6. Build your personal, business and/or professional talent brand.
If you decide freelance suits you, and the work you do – use your freelance profile to showcase your skills and talents to help the right companies, businesses and opportunities, find their way to your freelance profile door.
Jean L. Serio CEIC, CPC, CeMA, CSEOP
Certified Employment Interview Coach
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