What Is Freelancing and How It Works?

This is a perfect beginner’s guide on what is freelancing and how it works. An average person thinks that freelancing is limited to a few skills like writing, graphics design, software development, etc.

What if I told you that freelancing is a whole lot wider than that?

What if I told you that you can become a freelancer and earn money for completing jobs that require little skills?

You would love that right?

This article will be discussing freelancing, how it works, and show you how to start freelancing!

Are you ready?

Let’s go!

What is Freelancing?

Freelancing can be described as a contract-based profession where a professional uses his skills and experience to provide services to several clients simultaneously.

In such situations, the professional works with several clients and takes on as many jobs as he can handle, without committing to a single employer.

A professional that offers his services on a freelance basis is known as a freelancer!

Freelancers often earn their income on a per-job basis, and these jobs are often short-term based.

It is important to note that a freelancer is not an employee of the organization or individual he works for. He is therefore at liberty to accept as many other jobs as he can manage per time.

Types of Freelance Jobs

So, what are those jobs you could do as a freelancer?

  1. Web Designing

Although web design is a broad field, it simply refers to the design of websites that are displayed on the internet.

A web designer works on the appearance and layout of a website. The goal for a web designer working on a project is to build a website that looks good and suits the needs and tastes of its target audience.

Web designing is a lucrative job today on several freelancing platforms.

This is probably because many persons (especially entrepreneurs), now realize the need to have a website, and these freelance platforms are one of the easiest places to find professionals that can build you one.

If you are a Web Designer, and you have not explored this opportunity, you are probably missing out on a fortune.

2. Freelance writing

As you may know, freelance writing simply means providing professional writing services to one or several clients on a contract or per-project basis.

The point here is, the professional is not employed on a full-time basis. He is only given writing projects and deadlines to submit them and get paid.

The world of freelance writing is very broad, as it includes every possible writing service a professional can render to a client. It covers areas such as copywriting, blog writing, article writing, etc.

Whichever niche of freelance wring you specialize in, the good news is that several clients are seeking your services on the many freelance platforms available on the internet.

3. Digital Marketing

Did you know that digital marketers are on-demand on freelance platforms?

Yes, you read that right!

Digital marketing, which is the use of the internet and social media platforms to promote products and services, is a thriving field today on several freelance platforms.

Entrepreneurs all over the world need the services of digital marketers to help promote their new products and services.

Since freelance platforms allow them to hire quality digital marketers at a fraction of the cost, they usually prefer this option, especially when it is a short-term project.

If you are a digital marketer, you should probably register on one of the several legit freelance platforms available, as there is a job available for whatever skill level of digital marketing you may fall into.

4. Graphics Designing

Another skill that is in high demand on freelancing platforms is graphics design.

Lots of potential clients visit freelancing platforms every day with graphics designing projects, seeking a competent graphics designer to work on their projects.

If you are a graphics designer, know that there are several projects of your skill level on freelancing platforms, that you can take advantage of today.

5. Mobile App Development

You are probably are reading this article on a mobile device right?

Well, whether the above statement is correct or not, you probably own a smartphone with interesting apps, that you love using.

These apps were built by professionals known as Mobile App developers.

This skill is highly sought for on freelancing platforms, as there are several persons interested in turning their ideas into mobile apps.

If you could build a mobile app and you are interested in freelancing, there are several projects you could bid for on freelance platforms.

6. Admin Support or Assistance

Did you know that there are several administrative support positions available on a freelance basis, that you could find on freelancing platforms?

Gone are the days where you just have to work from a physical location to add value to an organization.

Today, several professionals and entrepreneurs seek Virtual Assistants to help them handle their administrative tasks from a remote location.

If you have good administrative skills, and some reasonable experience, you too can start making money from this by offering administrative services on these platforms. You will be amazed at how much money you will make when you give it a decent effort.

7. Translation services

One of the natural consequences of globalization is getting to communicate with people and businesses from different cultures. This is why translation services have become such a lucrative business on freelancing platforms.

Several clients are searching for good translators to help them translate their documents to a foreign language.

The best part is that this field is not saturated with many freelancers. So, you can be sure to get as many jobs as you can handle per time.

However, the key to excelling in this field is to be adept at languages where there is a need for translators. A few of the language’s clients need translators to include Spanish, German, French, etc.

8. Transcription Services

Transcription refers to writing out an audio-recorded file. So, in transcription, you listen to a recorded voice note and write out what was said.

This is a thriving service today on various freelancing platforms.

Some professionals and entrepreneurs are just too busy to convert their recorded files into written documents, and so they are eager to pay a professional to help them with this task.

Although it may seem easy at face value, trust me it is not.

It requires patience, great listening, and writing skills to be able to transcribe a document, to the taste of your client.

If you are good at transcribing, you should probably check out some freelancing platforms as they have lots of transcribing jobs available for you to take advantage of.

Top Freelancing Platforms

  1. Fiverr

It is almost impossible to talk about freelancing and not mention Fiverr. I bet that conversation would be incomplete.

This is because they have established themselves as one of the leading freelancing platforms, where both clients and freelancers can visit and get their needs met.

Fiverr was launched in 2010, and has experienced rapid growth since then.

The idea behind the founding of Fiverr, was to provide a platform where buyers (as clients are called there), can find a seller (as freelancers are called there), to perform a job (gig) for as little as $5. This explains why its founders chose to call it “Fiverr.”

One thing that makes Fiverr easily stand out among other freelancing platforms is that freelancers do not have to go through a rigorous screening process before they can be registered.

All they need to do is set up their profiles, following an easy process and the several guides they have available to guide new freelancers.

Although this has made it very attractive for many freelancers, it also comes with its unique challenges. For instance, clients (buyers) have to be careful when selecting a freelancer (seller), as they are many shoddy freelancers available on the platform.

At Fiverr, you will find sellers in every human endeavor where freelancing is possible. A few popular categories among sellers on Fiverr include Freelance writing, Web design, WordPress, Logo Design, etc.

How does Fiverr work?

For the sake of this topic, we will be limiting our discussion here to how Fiverr works for Sellers.

To become a seller on Fiverr, you will have to create your profile and set up a gig. This gig is more like a business profile that will be presented to buyers searching for sellers to provide a service.

Once you are done creating this profile, you will be labeled as a “New Seller.” This is the least level in the categorization of sellers.

Each category comes with additional benefits, like being featured at promotional listings, the possibility of sending custom offers, the opportunity to create extra gigs, etc.

Below are the gigs available for sellers on Fiverr:

  • New seller (entry-level status): 7 active gigs.
  • Level One Sellers: 10 active gigs.
  • Level Two Sellers: 20 active gigs.
  • Top-rated sellers: 30 active gigs.

For more information on these levels, visit fiverr.com.

After setting up your profile and gig, you will be eligible to be contacted by buyers in need of the service or gig you are selling.

When buyers visit Fiverr and search for a particular service or gig, the platform presents the available gigs or sellers providing that service to the buyer (according to their search requirement).

The buyer can then select one or a few gigs that match his requirements.

He may then contact each of them to discuss the project in detail. The particular gig that satisfies him the most is offered the job. The buyer then buys the gig to indicate that he has awarded that project to that seller.

After the project is completed, the seller gets paid 14 days after. However, the platform deducts a service fee of 20% for each transaction completed.

Why you should use Fiverr

Among other things, they offer an easy-to-understand system. In addition, they provide several tutorials for new sellers to help them set up their profiles and gig easily. So, it only makes sense for you to want to join such a system.

Furthermore, there are hundreds of thousands of jobs available every day, as various buyers always visit the site to find good sellers to manage their projects. So, you can be sure that the jobs will keep flowing as you grow on the platform.

Finally, it is one of the easiest freelancing platforms for new freelancers to get jobs and start building their portfolios.

Come to think of it, no buyer paying just $5 for a 500-word article expects a perfect job at that price. They simply require something good enough.

You can start with these easier and lesser demanding jobs as you build your skills in your area of interest.

When you have grown your skills considerably, you can then go ahead to ask for higher pay.

These are just a few of the factors that make Fiverr an amazing freelancing platform.

To create an account with Fiverr,  visit www.fiverr.com.

  • Upwork

A name that easily comes to mind when we talk about freelancing is Upwork. It is a favorite among clients and freelancers.

Clients love the quality jobs freelancers on the platform offers, while freelancers love the higher pay they get for gigs. So, it offers a win-win situation for both parties.

Although the history of Upwork dates as far as 1999, Upwork was founded in 2015 and has since gone ahead to establish itself as one of the leading freelancing platforms around the world.

On October 3, 2018, Upwork filed for an Initial Public Offering.

How Upwork Works

So how does this freelance platform work?

Freelancers from all over the world can register and set up their profiles at no cost on Upwork.

However, because of its growing popularity, Upwork has to approve your profile before you can apply for the jobs available on their platform.

Upwork allows clients to advertise their jobs, interview, and hire any Freelancer or Freelance Agencies, on their platform.

The client posts a description of their job, and the amount they are willing to pay a freelancer to complete the job.

The client may choose to invite a few freelancers to apply for their job, or they may make the advert public for any freelancer on the platform to apply for it.

After the application, the client interviews the freelancers that their application caught his eye. Afterward, the contract is sent to the freelancer that impressed the most in the interviews.

This contract details the set hours for the job, pay rate (usually per hour), and a deadline for the job to be submitted.

Upwork also provides a real-time chat feature for clients and freelancers to message each other, as the need arises.

The platform also features a time tracker application that records a freelancer’s keystrokes and mouse movements while working on a project. These details will be submitted to the client to ensure transparency.

After a job has been submitted, the client reviews the job, and payment is made within ten days after the client has approved the job submitted.

After a contract is completed, the client and freelancer have the opportunity to review each other.

The catch to this review is that freelancers with glowing reviews are more likely to get more contracts from clients.

The same also applies to clients with good reviews. Clients with terrible reviews will find it more difficult to attract the best talent to do their jobs.

Why You Should use Upwork

One of the key features that make Upwork stand out is that freelancers can charge by the hour for whatever job they handle.

This way, freelancers are sure to get paid for every hour they spend on a project. With this covered, they can focus on giving their best to any project.

In addition, this freelancing platform is structured in a way that competition among freelancers is healthy. The number of approved profiles is proportionate to the number of clients available on the platform.

This ensures that all approved profiles can get jobs now and then.

The importance of this feature is put in proper perspective when you realize that some freelancing platforms keep admitting freelancers even when they far outnumber the number of available clients.

This makes it very difficult to land gigs on such platforms, as the competition becomes unhealthy.

Furthermore, on Upwork, you can find almost any job that can be done on a freelance basis. Whether you are a programmer, writer, web designer, etc. there are jobs available for you.

They also ensure that the competition per job type is healthy.

Finally, whether you are in the entry-level, or professional stage, there are jobs available for your skill level on Upwork. You can start earning, while you improve your skills.

Afterward, you can increase your billing by the hour.

Visit Upwork to register.

Related article: Ideas on How to Start a Business


Although there are several freelance platforms available around the world, we have limited our discussion to the most popular ones.

The focus here is to help you understand freelancing, how it works, and encourage you to get registered and start earning from that skill you might have ignored all this while.

We wish you success as you begin your freelancing journey.


Titus Ojo

Titus is an Economist and he has taken courses in personal finance. He is an economic analyst by day and a blogger by night.

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