Part 1
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So You Want to Be a Freelancer...
by Barry Carr Sr.

What's the difference between running your own home-based business and freelancing? (tick, tick, tick ...) Give up? Me too. If you want to work for yourself from home and have a special talent or skill that you think others would be prepared to pay for on an hourly or per-project basis, why not stop thinking in terms of the traditional "home business" paradigm and start thinking in terms of freelancing instead?

What Is a Freelancer?

Quite simply, a freelancer is an independent contractor who earns his or her living by contracting for projects on a project by project basis. A freelancer is not an employee of anyone and so he or she must actively seek out work, negotiate the terms and conditions of the project (the contract) and complete the work to the satisfaction of the client. Once the project is complete, the freelancer seeks out and enters into another contract for another project.

Alternatively, the freelancer may have obligations under a number of different contracts with different clients at the one time.

Another variation involves the freelancer producing work and then seeking buyers for that work. A freelance writer of magazine articles, for example, would fall into this category.

Who Hires a Freelancer?

Those who hire freelancers are as diverse as freelancers themselves. In some cases, companies will hire freelancers to complete a short-term project as an alternative to hiring a new employee. This is often the case where the work in question is spasmodic or ad hoc and the company cannot justify hiring an employee for such work. Companies also hire freelancers to help smooth out the peaks and troughs of workload. Again, where there is a temporary oversupply of work, the company will hire the freelancer on a short-term basis to help cope with the backlog.

In other cases, companies hire freelancers for their special expertise in a certain area. A company may want to create a new website, for example. Hiring a freelance website designer for such a project makes more sense than hiring a website designer as an employee since once the website is complete, the function will no longer be required.

Magazine and newspaper editors also hire freelancers or, more precisely, buy rights to freelancers' work. A freelancer in this type of situation may write a piece and submit it to a number of different editors in the hope that his or her work will be "picked up" by that editor and published, in return for which the freelancer receives payment. By its nature, such an approach is speculative since the freelancer can't be sure that anyone will actually buy the work. Of course, once the freelancer has been published, it is relatively easier to get the editor to buy the freelancer's work in the future and, as the freelancer's reputation grows, so too do the opportunities for future business.

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Barry Carr Sr is the President and CEO of TeleVideo Production Co., Inc.- a Multi-Media Company