This is going to be a very long post.
I’m not, personally, sure when did the “freelancing” boom started. I added ” “ because not everyone who says they’re freelancing is not actually freelancing. Some still confused it from telecommuting because they’re working from home as such which is not. They’re 2 different things. And in light of our topic for this post we need to clarify what are the differences between the two.
What is Freelancing? It’s basically working without a bossas you are your own boss (like they always explain) and running your own business, only on your own. Some do hire help. It is offering your services to multitude types of clients (depending on your specialty of course) in a business like manner. When I say business-like is that your dealing is always two-way, not one way, but two-way. Meaning the freelancer or contractor offer their services and rates, the client reviews and accepts or negotiates the rates, the freelancer either accepts or declines the negotiation, having a say before entering a contract. And a side note is that not all freelancers work at home. The downside, or upside depending on how you look at it, freelancer works on project-to-project basis that usually span from 3-6 months. So a freelancer, like any other business, always need to market themselves to other potential or old clients even while still working on their current project.
A Telecommuter is basically someone who is still employed by someone or a company, just working at home. They are hired by applying to a company (usually via online) and if the company decides to hire the applicant the company give them their offer which is usually non-negotiable (unless you are a highly desirable applicant, this could change). If the applicant accepts the offer he/she is hired and begins work, only at home. The process is the same like applying to any office job, only the job is done at home.
A Freelancer is a Businessman.
A Telecommuter is a home-based Company Employee.
And both (not always in the case of freelancers depending on the nature of their work) Work from Home.
Before anything, I just want to make it clear that emphasizing the difference between the two demeans one or the other. NO! It is important to know the difference between them because the lifestyle between this two, thought both usually work at home, are different.
As a telecommuter, like in a normal company employee, have a specified schedule on when to work. It doesn’t really matter if it’s early in morning, the middle of the day or super late at night. Has specific work settings. That also means you have scheduled day-offs, holidays (and some have holiday pay), paid regularly, stuff like any normal employee does and do minus the pains of transportation which means having more time with their family, being able to eat home-cooked meal everyday, and working half-dressed for work (who doesn’t love working in their pajamas?) The only downside of it is, like any employee, if your boss says you have to do certain things on certain times you have to do it no matter what unless you want to look for another job. Some telecommuters actually came from an office setting, and sometimes, for different circumstances like company downsizing or simply the company just want to save some bucks on electricity, food (if company provided, etc… they have some oft their employees work at home if no special equipment is needed for their work. But all in all, if you’re content with that it’s a pretty ideal work setting.
On the other hand, a freelancer has more flexible schedule when in comes to work. They pretty much dictate if they should work long or short hours and how. They provide their own equipment. How much they earn also depends on them so they can either go more than usual. Which means they have to continuously look for clients even while working on their current projects to avoid downtime (meaning a time when they have no work). Unlike working with an employer who still pays you the same monthly even if you have lesser work or no work to do at all, a freelancer is goes in a no work, no income kind of work-life, in a negative sense. On the positive side it also means more work, more income. BUT! That is not always the case. Some freelancers made mistakes like getting a project for a really awful deal (project that requires more work and little pay even if the freelancer skills is above the client’s requirement) because they’re desperate when they don’t have work for quite a while. So one of the major skills that a freelancer needs to learn is how to negotiate and create prime rates to offer. In short, if you want to be a freelancer you need to ditch the employee mindset and learn to become a businessman – decisive and flexible.