Diana Kelly Levey

What is Freelance?

woman typing what is freelance on laptop

November 12, 2022

When you’re thinking about earning extra income as a freelance side hustle or starting a company so you can be your own boss, you might start considering the question, “what is freelance?” You might also want to know “what does it mean to freelance” and “what do freelance writers do?”

You’ll often hear a freelancer referred to as an “independent contractor” particularly when it has to do with a business setting you up for payments in their system. Being a “freelancer” or “independent contractor” often means that a business will pay you a gross rate—no taxes are taken out—and you’re not an employee working for them. You aren’t entitled to benefits as a freelancer for the company and you can both part ways whenever you wish (depending on the contract). You may hear of freelancers lumped into the “gig economy” topics as well in the media.

What is Freelance and How to Become a Freelancer

The beauty of becoming a freelancer in today’s digital age is that you can do it right now. When you’re done reading this, start calling yourself a freelancer, launch a freelancer website, tell everyone you know that you’re a freelancer and own a freelance writing business. Answer the question of “what do freelance writers do” confidently. (Here’s how to launch your freelance business and website in one weekend.)

Once your website (or some kind of freelance profile) is live, consider that “hanging your shingle” that you are open for business.

How to Find Freelance Jobs

After you’ve figured out the answer to “what is freelance” and “what is freelance writing”, you’re probably thinking, “how do freelancers find work” and “how do freelancers find freelance writing jobs?”

There are so many ways to find freelance writing jobs and freelance work. I cover a lot of this in my eBook “100+ Tips for Beginner Freelance Writers” as well as in my freelance writing e-course “Get Paid to Write.”

Here are some ways freelance writers find work:

  • They reach out to their network. This could be former colleagues, contacts they met at events and conferences, friends, family, and even letting their followers and connections on LinkedIn know they are available for freelance assignments and freelance writing jobs.
  • They apply to posted freelance jobs. Some freelancers apply to freelance writing jobs they find on freelance job websites, others answer calls they find on social media, while others apply to writing jobs they see posted on popular freelance websites. This could be a good strategy for finding work, particularly if you’re a beginner freelance writer, but it shouldn’t be the only way you find freelance work and earn money freelancing.
  • They cold-email contacts. Sending out emails to people you don’t know (i.e. a “cold email”) is one of the ways freelancers find freelance jobs. This is part of a freelance marketing plan I suggest freelancers do each week. While the potential client might not be hiring or using freelancers at the moment, it’s a great way to find clients you want to work with without competing against other freelancers for the same job on a freelance jobs website.
  • They pitch ideas to editors. When you want to write for a magazine or website and have a story you think would be a good fit for their audience, you pitch an idea to an editor. This guide will show you examples of article pitches that editors approved and became freelance assignments.

What is Freelance Writing

Wondering what is freelance writers’ jobs exactly? Freelance writing is a type of writing a freelancer or independent contractor does as a service for freelance clients. Usually, freelancers work remotely and often work from home, freelance writers work for themselves, and they find freelance writing work through freelance writing websites, former employers and colleagues, friends and family or their social media networks, and they find freelance writing jobs through cold emailing potential clients.

What Does it Mean to Freelance?

What freelance writing means to one person will differ when you ask someone else. If you ask a few freelancers what it means to be a freelancer and how they define their freelance business, you’ll get a wide array of answers. Here are my thoughts on “what is freelance” and “what freelance writers do?”

  • Freelancers work for themselves. They can make their own hours, schedule, and work whenever they want, wherever they want as long as they can get their client work done.
  • Freelancers get to choose their clients. Sometimes freelancers find clients because those clients approach them first. Other times, freelancers approach clients and pitch their services to them. Either way, freelancers don’t have to work with any client that they don’t want to. That’s one of my favorite parts of being a freelancer. Remember that boss you couldn’t stand at one of your jobs? You loathed working with them? Well, as a freelancer, if you don’t like working with someone, you don’t have to. Simply part ways at the end of the project. Buh-bye! These are some of the benefits I love about freelance writing.
  • Freelancers choose the work they want to do. Love designing social media posts? Prefer to write ad campaigns or email newsletters? Dying to write articles for a magazine. There are so many types of freelance work available–especially different types of freelance writing–that you’re likely to find something you want to do and are good at as a freelancer.

One of my favorite responses to the question of “what is freelance?” is that it can be whatever you want it to be.

Explore the various types of freelance writing as you continue to think about what do freelance writers do?

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Work With Me

Diana can help with:

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Email Diana about opportunities: Diana(at)DianaKelly.com.