According to Merriam-Webster, a freelancer is someone who pursues a profession without a long-term contractual commitment to any one employer.
Freelancing is a challenging way to earn a living. It's not new. Mercenaries, those with 'free lances', fought for lords and nobles thousands of years ago. These mercenaries sold their fighting skills to the highest bidder. But what does it mean to be a freelancer in the United States, today?
We no longer carry lances into battle. But we do employ other 'weapons' when we are hired to do 'battle' for a 'noble.' We sell our knowledge and skills to clients. We maintain a code of ethics that prevents us from working on directly competitive projects at the same time. We promise to do our best to help our clients compete in their world.
A freelancer is an independent business owner. The product being sold is the freelancer's own knowledge and skill. But a freelancer must not only have a talent. A freelancer must be his or her own marketing rep, janitor, accountant, marketing rep, the salesperson, human resources contact, the marketing rep, bookkeeper, file clerk, general office staff, and marketing rep. Did I mention marketing? Not only does the freelancer need a talent, but without the ability to market this talent, the freelancer will not stay in business.
Freelancers are also independent. Put a group of freelancers together in a room and you will find a wide-range of skills, beliefs, and methods for doing business. On the Links page, you will find some other sites where freelancers share their ideas and opinions. I hope you will linger at this "water cooler" for a little while and share your thoughts with us.