A Beginner's Guide to Freelance Jobs

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 21, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Freelancing is a popular job option because of its freedom and how easily people can acquire job offers. Unlike other regular jobs, as a freelancer, you are your own boss because you can choose to accept requests from people to work on a project for them or not.

Studies have found that there are approximately 2.9 million self-employed workers across Canada, representing 15% of the workforce. In this article, we discuss freelancing and features of this work style.

What is a freelancer?

A freelancer is a person who works for themselves instead of working under a company or an employer. In other words, a freelancer is self-employed.

In a company, there are usually different departments that handle specific tasks. However, freelancers generally handle all parts of the job themselves, including billing their clients, paying their taxes, and purchasing the necessary devices and tools that will be used for freelancing. Freelancers enter contracts with clients, companies, or agencies that require their services. The work specifics can range from article and essay writing to copywriting and photography. However, freelancers can also work with companies that sell their services and acquire jobs for them.

Merits of freelancing

Working as a freelancer has a lot of advantages, including:


Unlike regular jobs with a defined schedule, freelancing is highly flexible, and you can work at any time that suits you best. In other words, as a freelancer, you can work anytime you want and choose your working hours or months. This way, you can rest adequately and even run other jobs at specific periods. When it comes to writing and content delivery, for example, people have different times at which they perform optimally. They may be at their best in the morning or afternoon. Freelancing gives you the option of choosing the time that allows you to function optimally, increasing the chances of producing satisfactory work.

Ability to choose jobs and clients

When you work as an employee, you can't select the kind of jobs you want or the client you will have to work with. As a freelancer, after considering a job offer, looking at factors such as payment terms, the prescribed duration for the performance of the job, and the content of the job, you have the right to decline or accept it depending on what you want. If you don't like the client's personality or your goals don't align, you are free to decline the job offer. That sense of freedom is often associated with freelancing.


As a freelancer, you may work in different fields or sometimes write about various topics. Freelancing increases your exposure and versatility because you learn about areas you're not familiar with through research.


As a freelancer, you work for yourself and yourself alone. This independent factor means that you can work at your own pace. However, this does not imply that you can flout deadlines or perform poorly.


Some people find full-time work overwhelming. However, as a freelancer, you can determine your comfortable workload and work at a pace that suits you.

Ability to choose your work location

As a freelancer, you can choose where you want to work and pick your most comfortable option. You can work from home, a coffee shop, or even a library, whatever works for you. Also, distance is no barrier to freelance work. You can accept job offers from all over the globe.

Disadvantages of freelancing

Despite all these merits, freelancing also has its downsides, which are:

No steady income

Since freelancing is not a stable job, income is not always assured. While freelancing, you will encounter days that are profitable and days that are not. This “unsteadiness” is one of the major disadvantages of freelancing.

Possibility of delayed payments

As a freelancer, you may find yourself in situations where clients cannot pay or delay payment. This possibility can create messy situations for a freelancer because you might be relying on that income.

Lack of employee benefits

As an employee, you enjoy certain benefits such as a fixed income and health and home insurance for you and your family. You can even acquire a specific property through a mortgage in some situations. However, as a freelancer, these benefits are unavailable. Due to this lack of benefits, it's often a good idea for freelancers to get income protection, health , and critical illness insurance in case there's any period they can't work.

Four tips on freelancing

While there's a lot to learn when becoming a freelancer, the following tips are essential and apply to almost any freelance career path.

Do not rely on one source of income

As a freelancer, you can put in job requests to different sources so, why rely on one? A pro tip every freelancer should know is never to rely on one particular source. So many things could go wrong with the client, and you will be stranded with no other active job. Try not to “put all your eggs in one basket.” If you're thinking of going freelance, you should really consider having several alternative sources to ensure you'll still have a steady income if one source fails.

Learn from your past mistakes

No one is a professional in any business on the first try. Learning from your past mistakes increases your effectiveness and work output as a freelancer.

Be open but selective about job offers

As a freelancer, it's nice to keep your options open and not limit yourself. However, you will most likely encounter job offers that will be completely outside your area of expertise. If you discover you can't do a job or easily learn to do it after going through the content, you should turn it down.

Do the work you've been assigned effectively

As a freelancer, the quality of your work is critical because it helps secure job offers. So, when you've been given a project, put in your best effort and make sure you effectively cover the tasks assigned to you.

Freelance jobs

There are many freelancing jobs our there that cut across various professions. Several factors determine the level of pay when freelancing. The job type, your skill level, your working style, competitiveness in your field, deadlines, and the overall complexity of the project can determine the level of pay. Some of the most popular jobs are:


National average salary: $21.99 per hour

Primary duties: Copywriting is a job that borders on advertisement and marketing services. A copywriter must be able to write clearly and concisely in order to promote a brand, a product, or any type of service. Copywriting requires a certain level of creativity and the ability to be imaginative.

Copywriting involves creating engaging content that will capture the target audience's attention. It can also extend to videos, ad placements, and other types of marketing strategies that will effectively attract more customers to a particular site. It's a perfect freelance job because there's a fair demand for copywriters, so you can receive several offers from different employers.

Freelance writer

National average salary: $23.67 per hour

Primary duties: Freelance writing involves preparing write-ups on different fields, ranging from technology to entertainment, sports-related activities, or anything at all, depending on the client's requirements and your area of specialization.

In freelance writing, there are two types of writers. The first category of writers includes those who specialize in writing articles, blogs, essays, and other content on a specific topic or area. The second category of freelance writers are those who can write about any topic and are more generalists.


National average salary: $18.40 per hour

Primary duties: Photography is also a common freelance job. There are different areas in photography, such as fashion photography, sports photography, editorial photography, wedding photography, portraiture etc. As a freelance photographer, you can take up different job offers simultaneously as long as the dates don't clash. You are your own boss in such a business. In other words, you get to plan your schedule, choose your preferred jobs, and also fulfil your clients' requests with your preferred shooting styles.

Freelance photography is the perfect job if you're looking for a side job that will complement your main one. It's also a solid option for students looking for jobs that don't require much effort but tend more towards creativity and flexibility.

Web designer and developer

National average salary: $24.12 per hour

Primary duties: The internet has developed into a sophisticated platform, and companies and individuals often need experts to help them design their websites, programs, or software. Web designers develop websites for clients by using their knowledge of computer programming and graphic design. While web designers focus more on end-user appeal and appearance, web developers tend to specialize more in coding. They write code to create websites, software, and tools, and ensure that a client's content is secure.

Freelance editor

National average salary: $23.37 per hour

Primary duties: A freelance editor reviews content created by writers in different categories. They edit write-ups to improve clarity, grammar, and overall readability, in line with their client's requirements.

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