What is Freelancing? (+How to Get Started Easily)

Upwork recently released their 2020 report about freelancing – and it revealed some interesting facts:

  • More than a third of the American workforce freelances
  • 36% of freelancers do so full time
  • More than 44%+ of people between the ages of 18-38 freelance

Also one of my favorite facts from this study: “58% of traditional workers who began working remotely during COVID are now considering freelancing“.

An inforgraphic from Upwork showing the results of their Freelance Forward 2020 workforce report. Included in the what is freelancing article from Struggle.co

Basically freelancing became super popular in 2020, and I think it’s only going to be more popular in 2021 and beyond.

You probably have some questions: what is freelancing? What kind of work can you do as a freelancer? And how the heck do you get started with freelancing?

This guide will tell you everything you need to know, and it will show you the steps you need to take to find freelancing work (if that’s what you want!).

What is freelancing?

Freelancing is basically working for a client or company without any type of employment agreement.

Because freelancers are not considered employees, freelancers will usually be responsible for things like tracking their own hours, paying their own taxes on their earnings, and paying for their own healthcare.

That might sounds like a lot, but freelancing also gives a lot of flexibility.

Think about it. You get to be your own boss, you could create your own schedule, and you can pick the work you do.

How does freelancing work?

Freelancing is pretty simple at it’s core: you just provide a service and accept payment.

For example, someone could create a website for someone and accept payment for creating it- boom freelancing.

But of course, there are different types of work you can do as a freelancer, and you could also be paid by the amount of work you do (not just on a project basis).

How much can you make freelancing?

It depends on the type of work you’re doing!

According to the Freelancing in America report by Upwork, the median hourly rate for freelancers is $20. For skilled workers, the median hourly rate is $28.

Freelance Terms You Should Know

  • 1099 – The tax form used to declare miscellaneous income (including freelance income), this can also be used when describing certain jobs: “this is a 1099 position”
  • Contract Consultant – A consultant that works on a contract basis.
  • Contract Job – Type of work where you’re contracted to do something for a certain amount of time or until a project has reached certain milestones.
  • Contract Work – A type of job where you are temporarily contracted to do something.
  • Freelancer – Someone that does freelance work
  • Self-Employed – When you work for yourself (not as an employee)

What kind of work can you do as a freelancer?

You could most likely find freelance work in almost any industry, but here are some of the more common fields and some specific examples of work:


  • Virtual Assistant
  • Social Media Management

Accounting and Finance

  • Bookkeeper

Customer Service

  • Customer Service Agent


  • Graphic Design
  • UX/UI Design

Editing and Proofreading

  • Editing
  • Proofreading


  • Medical Billing
  • Medical Coding
  • Telehealth Doctor
  • Telehealth Nurse

Tech and IT

  • Network Security
  • Software Developer
  • Tech Support


  • General Transcription
  • Medical Transcription


  • Article Writing
  • Copywriting
  • Press Release Writing

How to Get Started With Freelancing

The easy answer is figure out what type of service you can offer, find clients, complete the service, and accept payment.

But we all know things are a little more complicated than that?

Let’s go a little deeper.

What Kind of Work Will You Do?

I think if you’re just getting started, you need to really figure out what type of service you could offer. If you already have some skills, like graphic design skills or writing skills, you could start there.

If you aren’t sure what skills you have, you could work in a more administrative position – for example, you could try being a virtual assistant.

Website or Portfolio?

If you’re planning to do something more creative like writing or graphic design, you should consider creating a website or portfolio to help showcase your work.

If the work you’re planning to do isn’t quite creative, you should consider starting a blog to help showcase other types of projects and what knowledge you have.

Pick Your Rates

Once you know what type of service you want to offer, you should look into what your rates should be.

You can choose to bill your clients on a project basis, or on an hourly basis.

You can also google the average rate for the type of freelance work you plan to do.

Find Clients!

Once you have your services chosen, and you know how much you plan to charge, you can start looking for clients.

You can use your own network to find potential clients, you could advertise using social media and your online website/portfolio, or you could find work through a job site or freelance site.

Freelance Websites

If you’re interested in becoming a freelancer and finding work, there websites you can use!

Job Websites

There are a number of job websites that will also post contract and freelance positions.


Freelancing doesn’t need to be a full-time thing for you (if you don’t want it to be!) – you could use freelancing to just make some extra money.

If you have any interest in creating your own schedule, being your own boss, and making money, definitely try out freelancing!

Check out freelance websites like UpWork and Fiverr if you want to get started!

FAQs About Freelancing

How can I start freelancing?

You can start freelancing by figuring out what type of services you’d like to offer, building a portfolio or website, finding clients, and completing the service and getting paid.

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