In the past, many jobs would require employees to show up at some sort of brick-and-mortar business and work there for eight hours. But as technology has gotten more advanced, this is no longer necessary in many cases. With computers and communication devices, a job that historically has been performed at a business can now be performed from home (freelance work) with equal or better quality.
With the recent pandemic resulting from the Covid 19 virus, businesses have been encouraged to have their employees work from home to prevent being together in close proximity and unknowingly spreading the disease. The practice of working from home has shown people they don’t have to report to a 9 to 5 job in a building away from their home. People are enjoying working from home where they can be more relaxed in their own surroundings and still perform a job well. Other people that have been laid off from their work due to the pandemic have successfully sought employment through freelancing agencies. Freelance work is becoming the new way of finding work, especially work someone enjoys.
Several industries have been hit hard by the pandemic and had to either close or lay off employees. The restaurant industry is a perfect example of this. If a restaurant server gets laid off, they would have trouble finding jobs at other restaurants because the other restaurants are either closed or are limiting the number of people allowed inside.
What’s the answer? Contract (freelance) work. These laid-off workers can sign up with a freelancing platform to find work from businesses or individuals. For example, if a laid-off restaurant worker has great computer skills and familiarity with a particular software, they can try to find contract jobs related to those skills. There is a breakdown of hundreds of categories to choose from, and a contract worker can really home in on a specific skill. There are many freelancing platforms such as Upwork where someone can find work in most fields with almost any skill.
What Is a Freelancer?
A freelancer is a worker that does contract work for a client instead of working as an employee for the client. The freelancer is self-employed and can work for several clients at once.
What is Freelance Work?
Freelance work is an employment situation where a staffing firm allows someone looking for work to communicate with a client company that needs work to be completed. A client company posts a job, and people looking for work will submit a proposal. The client company will preview that employee’s qualifications, requested compensation, work history, and what rating other clients have awarded that employee for their work history, and they will hire based on these criteria.
After each project is completed, the client will rate the employee and vice versa. Really good employees usually have project grades with high ratings. If the scale is five stars as the best, a good and reliable employee might have anywhere from a 4.7 – 5.0 rating.
After consideration of all these parameters, the client company will decide which proposal they will accept. The staffing company keeps a certain percentage of what the client company pays an employee, and the employee files a W-2 form to pay taxes. As the work history builds between an employee and a client, the staffing company takes less of a cut (percentage) of the wages, allowing the employee to keep more of the wages.
With Upwork, for example, you can pay for the project with a time limit for it to be completed. Or a client company can choose to have employees work hourly and the staffing agency will take periodic and random screenshots of the employees’ computer in addition to keeping track of keyboard clicks to make sure the employee is actually doing the work. The client company can preview those screenshots to ensure the employee is working on their project and not something else.
An employee can do freelance work in several fields simultaneously, and if they find the work is not a good match for what they’re looking for, they can easily end the contract without any significant issues. A benefit of being a contract employee is gaining experience and knowledge of working in several different industries and learning about each of them, even though the employee is still doing the same type of work. Blog writing is a great example of that. A blog writer might land a job with an agricultural company and write agriculture-related blogs for a period of time and then get another blog writing job for a real estate company. The blog writer usually doesn’t care what the industry is; they just research a topic and then write about it.
How Many Freelancers Are There in the US?
Leftronic reports that in 2019, there were 57 million freelancers in the US accounting for 35% of the entire workforce. Just over half of those freelancers claimed they would never go back to their 9 to 5 jobs, regardless of salary, and two-thirds of US freelancers find their work from the Internet.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Freelancing?
The advantages of freelancing are really about the freedom you have in choosing the type of work you want to do, do you want to work for, and being your own boss. As a freelancer, you can usually set your own hours and work from anywhere in the world. As a freelancer, you no longer have to get in your car, commute, fight traffic, and look for a parking spot. And if you don’t have any face-to-face Internet calls with clients, you don’t even have to shower or get dressed.
The disadvantages of freelancing can be a little scary. Once a project is complete, a freelancer then has to find more to replace the missing income stream. There is nothing that fits the category that you’re looking for, you may have to opt for work you don’t like or aren’t comfortable with, or you may have to take a pay cut just to keep working. A freelancer must also take care of their own insurance, retirement, and taxes. If these issues aren’t addressed, a freelancer can find themselves in scary unfamiliar waters.
Benefits of Hiring Freelancers
There are plenty of good reasons to hire freelancers for your business. Here are a few of them:
The Right Person for the Job
When you hire freelancers, you get to look at the qualifications and handpick your version of the perfect person for that job. A full-time employee may be familiar with a specific project, but a freelancer would likely be very familiar with a task, if not already an expert. You can look at a freelancer’s qualifications, read reviews about their previous work, and actually schedule an interview to see how adept they are for a task or project. And once you find the perfect candidate to complete a project, you are less likely to feel the need to hover over them to make sure they are doing the job correctly.
A freelancer does not require you to pay 40 hours of hourly pay if there isn’t 40 hours of work that needs to be done. If the project you hired them for only requires 10 hours, and that’s all you’ll need to pay.
When you hire a contract worker or freelancer, there are so many things you do not need to provide for them. One of the biggest ones is a physical space to work in. In addition to that, you don’t need to provide a parking space, a bathroom, or a break room for someone who works from home. In addition, you don’t need to provide insurance, a retirement package, or provide much, if any training. Freelancers often obtain training on their own time in order to be more qualified for more employment.
If you are a small business owner and are looking to hire qualified employees without paying all of the extras, consider finding a freelance worker to do the job for you. Check out their qualifications, the rate they want to repay, and the ratings others have given them, and you should be able to come up with the perfect freelancer to complete your project. If you need to take out a small business loan to hire freelancers, replace older equipment in your business, or downsize your brick-and-mortar building, call Affinity Beyond Capital at (833) 234-6489 today and talk to one of our expert many professionals.