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Freelance

A 'freelancer' or 'freelance worker" is a term commonly used for a person who is self-employed and is not necessarily committed to a particular employer long-term. Freelance workers are sometimes represented by a company or an agency that resells their labor and that of others to its clients with or without project management and labor contributed by its regular employees. Others are completely independent. While "independent contractor" would be the term used in a higher registerof English, freelancing is common in culture and creative industries and this term specifically motions to participation therein.[1]

Freelance practices and compensation


According to the 2012 Freelance Industry Report compiled primarily about North America freelancing, nearly half of freelancers do writing work, with 18% of freelancers listing writing as a primary skill, 10% editing/copy-editing, and 10% as copy-writing. 20% of freelancers listed their primary skills as design. Next on the list was translating (8%), web development (5.5%), and marketing (4%).[2] Elance, a web platform that connects freelancers with contractors, surveyed its members and 39% listed writing and editing are their main skill set.[3]
Depending on the industry, freelance work practices vary and have changed over time. In some industries such as consulting, freelancers may require clients to sign written contracts. While in journalism or writing, freelancers may work for free or do work "on spec" to build their reputations or a relationship with a publication.[4] Some freelancers may provide written estimates of work and request deposits from clients.
Payment for freelance work also depends on industry, skills, and experience. Freelancers may charge by the day, hour, a piece rate, or on a per-project basis. Instead of a flat rate or fee, some freelancers have adopted a value-based pricingmethod based on the perceived value of the results to the client. By custom, payment arrangements may be upfront, percentage upfront, or upon completion. For more complex projects, a contract may set a payment schedule based on milestones or outcomes. One of the drawbacks of freelancing is that there is no guaranteed payment, and the work can be highly precarious.
In writing and other artistic fields, "freelance" and its derivative terms are often reserved for workers who create works on their own initiative and then seek a publisher. They typically retain the copyright to their works and sell the rights to publishers in time-limited contracts. Traditionally, works would be submitted to publishers, where they would become part of the slushpile, and would either elicit an offer to buy (an "acceptance letter") or a rejection slip.
People who create intellectual property under a work for hire situation (according to the publishers' or other customers' specifications) are sometimes referred to as "independent contractors" or other similar terms. Creators give up their rights to their works in a "works made for hire" situation, a category of intellectual property defined in U.S. copyright law — Section 101, Copyright Act of 1976 (17 USC §101). The protection of the intellectual property rights that give the creator of the work are considered to have been sold in toto in a work for hire agreement. of employees, however in a contractual rather than employment relationship.[5]

Demographics

he total number of freelancers in USA is inexact, as the most recent governmental report on independent contractors was published in 2005 by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. At that time, there were approximately 10.3 million United States workers (7.4% of the workforce) employed as independent contractors of all sorts.[6] In 2011, Jeffrey Eisenach, an economist at George Mason University, estimated that number of freelancers had grown by one million.[7]While in 2012, the Aberdeen Group, a private research company, estimated that 26% (approx. 81 million) of the United States population was is a part of the contingent workforce, a category of casual labor that includes freelancing.[8] In 2013, the Freelancers Union estimated that 1 in 3 workers in the United States were self-employed (approx. 42 million), with more than four million (43%) of those self-employed workers members of the creative class, a strata of work specifically associated with freelance industries, such as knowledge workers, technologists, professional writers, artists, entertainers, and media workers.[9]
The total number of freelancers in UK is also inexact, however figures from the Office of National Statistics show that people working mainly at or from home rose from 9.2% in 2001 to 10.7% in 2011.[10] It has been estimated that there are approximately 1.7 million freelancers in the UK,[11] however.
Freelancing is a gendered form of work.[2] The 2012 Freelance Industry Report estimates that more than 71% of freelancers are women between the ages of 30-50. Surveys of other specific areas of freelancing have similar trends. Demographic research on Amazon Mechanical Turk reveals that the majority of North American Mechanical Turk workers are women.[12]Catherine McKercher's research on journalism as a profession has showcased that while media organizations are still male dominated, the reverse is true for freelance journalists and editors, whose ranks are mainly women.

Benefits

Freelancers do not list one singular reason for freelancing, the perceived benefits differ by gender, industry, and lifestyle. For instance, the 2012 Freelance Industry Report reported that men and women freelance for different reasons. Female survey respondents indicated that they prefer the scheduling freedom and flexibility that freelancing offers, while male survey respondents indicated they freelance to follow or pursue personal passions.[2] Freelancing is also taken up by workers who have been laid-off, who cannot find full-time employment,[2] or for those industries such as journalism which are relying increasingly on contingent labor rather than full-time staff.[14] Freelancers also consist of students trying to make ends meet during the semester. In interviews and on blogs about freelancing, freelancers list choice and flexibility as a benefit.

Etymology


The term was first used by Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832) in Ivanhoe (1820) to describe a "medieval mercenary warrior" or "free-lance" (indicating that the lance is not sworn to any lord's services, not that the lance is available free of charge).[27] It changed to a figurative noun around the 1860s and was recognized as a verb in 1903 by authorities in etymology such as the Oxford English Dictionary. Only in modern times has the term morphed from a noun (a freelance) into an adjective (a freelance journalist), a verb (a journalist who freelances) and an adverb (she worked freelance), as well as into the noun "freelancer".







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