Considering Freelancing?

You’ve probably heard your freelancer acquaintances boasting about lives of luxury, plenty of time off, the freedom to work when inspiration strikes and not before, on control-freak bosses and dream projects of their choosing. Then again, other freelancers may have told you about working all night to meet deadlines, stressing between projects, missing regular social contact, and chasing clients who resist paying their bills.

The experience of freelancing, for most people, lies somewhere between these scenarios. You’ll enjoy the chance to chill out in front of the TV during the day if you feel the need, yet you may have the occasional scare when you realize you don’t know you’ll afford to eat next week. You will love the excitement of creating your own destiny; at the same time, there’ll be moments when you wish someone else could make the right decisions for you!

So, before you decide to trade in your day job, you need to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of the solo worker life, as well as understand the all-important range of skills and attributes of the successful freelancer.

Let’s start by discussing the nature of freelancing, why you should consider such an option, its advantages and disadvantages, and the four main skills you need to became a successful freelancer.

Then, we’ll look at some specific personality traits of successful freelancers, do some research, consider your particular situation, and end this chapter by making the acquaintance of some fledgling freelancers by way of a case study.

What Is Freelancing?

The term Freelancer was first seen in Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe in the late 1700s, from the words’ ‘free” and ‘lance.”  Scott used it to refer to a medieval mercenary-a sort of roving soldier in the middle ages, who didn’t particularly care for morals, ethics, or even whom he fought. It’s probably not the ideal approach to a career nowadays, and this book hasn’t been written for those types, although it’s possible we all appreciate having some skill in jousting and swordplay up our sleeves when those projects go wrong.


Nowadays,  a freelancer is defined as someone who sells his or her services to employers or clients without a long-term contract.

Considering Freelancing?

Freelancers often deal directly with their clients, or possibly work as a contractor to a number of larger businesses, which then on-sell the freelancer’s services to their own client base. In the main, working as a freelancer implies that you don’t have staff working for you, and that you frequently work for more than one client.

It’s fair to say that nowadays there are more freelancers working in diverse fields than ever before, and much of this explosion is directly related to the rise of the Web. The Internet has been responsible for a huge jump in the numbers of freelancers operating around the globe. The ease of electronic communication, ability to develop virtual teams among other freelancers online, and broad acceptance of freelancing has meant that over the past decade or so it has become a highly popular career choice for millions of people.

The most common industries in which freelancers dwell in abundance, apart from the Web, are knowledge-based professions such as copywriting photography, business consulting, information technology, journalism, marketing, and graphic design. Many of these offline professionals have a role in our online sphere as suppliers or consultants, and many of the principles discussed in this book would apply to their world as well.

However, this book will discuss principles of successful freelancing as the relate specifically to the Web; if you are a web designer or web developer considering going it alone, this is for you.