The 5 Types of Freelancers

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American freelancers have become a force to be reckoned with. If you've read the new report by the Freelancers Union you'll understand one startling statistic: 34% of the entire U.S. workforce is now made up of freelance contractors. That's 53 million Americans.

Freelancers, or I-9 contractors (the name comes from the tax form these workers use), can be found in jobs ranging from home health care to writers, Graphic Designers to Uber drivers. Platforms like Task Rabbit and Flex Jobs have helped this mobile, innovative workforce thrive and expand.

Why Would You Work Freelance?

Freelancers say the work they do is exciting and they enjoy the independence of not being tied to one 9 to 5 job. They also say these gigs are not without risk: most independent contractors work without the safety net of sick time or vacation benefits. But the majority of freelancers wouldn't have it any other way. They recognize there is a big risk in freelancing -- but also big reward.

What is Considered a Freelance Project?

Anything can be a freelance project, and there are many different types of freelancers. Many creative projects are often farmed out as freelance projects, but long term (or permalance) jobs exist for freelancers as well. Website design, blogging, and other short-term projects fit the freelance mold as well as ongoing projects and needs for Proofreaders, UX Designers, Project Managers, and more.

The 5 Types of Freelancers

So, who are these freelancers? In the Freelancers Union report, they break down this flexible workforce into five concrete categories:

1. Independent Contractors take on work project by project. They make up about 40% of the overall freelance workforce. Independent contractors don't have a traditional job, they are often called by large corporations to supplement longer-term, large projects such as a major technology rollout. Artisan places hundreds of these freelancers every year.

2. Moonlighters have a traditional full-time career, but use some sort of freelancing gig to supplement their regular income. For example, this could be a full-time Creative Director for an advertising agency that takes on small projects on nights and weekends.

3. Diversified Workers make up 18% of the freelance workforce. These workers wear a lot of different hats, frequently juggling part-time corporate work with part-time freelance contracts to round out their work portfolio and make ends meet.

4. Temporary Workers have one full-time role, but their employment status is listed as temporary. Consultants often take on these longer term jobs, which can be extended indefinitely. Large corporations often hire temporary workers to supplement their existing full-time workforce when a big project is imminent.

5. Freelance Business Owners make up about 5% of the I-9 gig economy. Typically, these small business owners grew from the independent contractors or diversified workers category. Many found that the volume of work available in their chosen freelance field allowed them to evolve into a structured small business model.  

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How Do You Find a Freelancer?

Finding the right talent for project work is just as difficult as finding a full-time employee. Like any "traditional" job search, you must find the right mix of skills and a strong match with your internal business culture. Place job ads for freelancers just as you would a full-time position, or contact a qualified staffing agencyand let them assist you.

There is a freelance network of creative talent out there, and Artisan Talent is tied strongly into a network of Graphic Designers, IT Specialists, SEO Experts, and Content Writers -- just to name a few. Contact us today for more information.

What If I Need a Freelancer ASAP?

If you're looking for someone for your next freelance project (whether it's short term or ongoing), we can help. Click below to get started!

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Approaching Freelancers About Long Term Projects
Freelance or Full-time: Which Contract Is Right?
Managing Billable Hours
How To Hire a Freelance Copywriter
5 Reasons to Use a Staffing Agency

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