The freelancing economy continues to grow every year and as it continues to expand, an ever-increasing number of different companies from various industries are starting to employ freelancers. With that said, however, there are a few key types of companies that hire freelancers more frequently than others. In 2019, research performed by Invoicely, an accounting platform, found that the highest paying freelance jobs were web development, programming, marketing, translation, and writing positions. Moreover, one of the types of freelancers that is most in demand is programmers and developers, evidenced by the large number of developer freelance sites that have emerged in recent years. The best freelance websites tend to provide companies with access to a diverse range of freelancers ranging from sales and marketing professionals to programmers and financial experts.
In terms of the industries that employ the greatest number of freelancers, a review of the companies that post projects most frequently on freelance websites revealed that the largest number of companies seeking freelancers were from the high-tech, travel, healthcare, education, staffing, and the real estate industries.
In regard to companies within the high-tech industry, these tend to be seeking freelancers to complete technical projects including coding, web and graphic design, and SEO/SEM tasks. In each of these cases, it is important for individuals seeking to be hired as freelancers to recognize that these companies are seeking professionals with expertise in particular languages, environments, and methodologies. In order to address this reality, prospective freelancers have the choice of specializing in particular languages or platforms which are either highly in demand such as jQuery or in particular ones that are decidedly less common such as Laravel or Symfony. Individuals may also choose to find freelance projects by gathering experience in a variety of different languages and platforms. Put another way, one can find success in matching with companies seeking freelancers on developer freelance sites by becoming a master of one specific language or platform, or by trying to become a Jack-of-all-Trades.
In addition, many developer freelance sites allow companies to filter for freelancers who possess a certain amount of experience with a particular language or who have expertise in a particular skill. One of the things that one can do to achieve additional success in being hired for projects is to seek certification in particular programming languages. Some developer freelance sites even allow freelancers to certify their knowledge directly on their platform which can certainly be a beneficial avenue to pursue. On the other hand, some companies such as Google, HubSpot, and PluralSight allow individuals to attain free certifications which individuals can then use to showcase their proficiencies across a variety of freelancing platforms. Generally speaking, however, developer freelance sites tend to be quite competitive and therefore it is beneficial for a freelancer to do as much as possible to stand out among the pool of candidates that are competing for the same projects.
Hiring freelancers is advantageous for high-tech companies in that they can find individuals with very particular backgrounds and work with them in order to complete temporary projects or to supplement their internal team with additional talent.
The travel industry is another industry in which many companies are seeking to hire freelancers. Companies hiring freelancers within this industry often hire travel writers as well as travel agents. In the former case, companies compensate independent individuals for the articles and stories that they write relating to the topic of travel. In the latter instance, freelance travel agents are hired to assist clients on where and when to travel, with booking and logistical issues, and with managing budgets and ensuring that clients receive the best possible travel deals.
If one is seeking to become a freelance travel writer, there are quite a variety of options in terms of the freelance websites that one can use in order to find relevant projects. Importantly, writing is naturally a transferable skill and therefore one can supplement their travel writing income with other types of freelance writing projects, including composing marketing and sales materials, amidst other forms of copywriting.
Companies in the travel industry benefit from working with freelancers because they can try out working with a given writer prior to offering a contract and by gaining additional flexibility through hiring freelance travel agents.
The healthcare industry is an interesting industry from the perspective that it has only recently started to embrace freelancing. Many freelance websites feature a large number of postings from healthcare companies with a high variance in terms of their job requirements. For instance, one emerging type of position within the healthcare field is virtual pharmacy, wherein individuals can work from home and assist clients with medication reviews, handling compliance issues, and assisting with cost management. The medical industry also tends to hire copywriters, translators, and medical coders. This is in addition to the more established position of independent salespeople which is a role that has been transforming due to the increasing importance of web-based sales and marketing. The best freelance websites are sure to have a wide variety of healthcare-related projects that freelancers interested in working in this field can choose from.
Companies within the healthcare industry can uniquely benefit from working with freelancers because it allows them to grow their companies far more rapidly and flexibly as opposed to the rather slow-moving industry standard. For instance, virtual pharmacists can allow a healthcare company to gain entrance to new geographical areas without the need for significant upfront investment.
The education sector has long been recognized as one of the top industries that employs freelancers. In addition to the established positions of tutoring, including language tutoring, the best freelance websites also feature a variety of other types of jobs and projects for individuals interested in this field.
For example, education-related freelance positions can include education reporters who report on current events and trends in the educational sector, communication officers which compose marketing materials for schools and universities, and curriculum specialists who develop lesson plans and activities for a wide range of different institutions ranging from primary schools all the way through to higher education institutions. Often times, teachers are also hired on a freelance basis by both governmental and private institutions.
As can be expected, working in the education sector typically requires a special set of skills and competencies and it is also frequently mandatory to have a relevant professional and educational background along with federal and state licenses, including extensive experience working in the field.
Through hiring freelancers, companies in the education industry can save significant resources while also gaining the significant advantage of being able to determine whether there is a cultural fit between a new teacher and the given academic institution.
One of the largest categories of freelance positions is in the staffing industry. Seeing as any growing business has a consistent need to find and hire the best possible talent, these businesses continually rely on staffing and recruiting companies and independent consultants alike for help in drafting job position descriptions, distributing job postings, and even conducting pre-screenings of potential candidates.
Therefore, freelancers working in the staffing industry can expect to complete a variety of tasks as part of assisting companies with finding talent. It is also commonly the case that companies compensate freelancers working in this field on a commission basis with freelancers being paid a certain amount for each individual that they help bring on-board. The exact compensation amount can be quite variant but is generally dependent on the specific specialties of the individuals that are recruited as well as their seniority.
By working with freelancers, companies working in the staffing industry can expect to achieve more rapid and cost-effective results while also benefitting from the ability to quickly scale-up and scale-down their staffing team, as may be necessary.
6. Real Estate
Yet another popular field in which freelancers often work is the real estate industry. Individuals seeking to work in the real estate industry need to first obtain an educational background in the field or alternatively receive certification and accreditation by the relevant local association.
In terms of finding success in the field, it is important for real estate agents to obtain skills including very strong organizational abilities and excellent communication skills. In addition, it is important for agents to possess a genuine passion and a strong ability to build connections with both active and potential clients. It is also important for real estate agencies to develop a professional network with other individuals working in the industry including brokers, property owners and managers, as well as a variety of other stakeholders. Having the ability to build out a strong professional network and making the requisite connections can often be the make-or-break factor for finding success in this highly competitive industry.
Freelance real estate agents often make their income entirely based on commission and it should also be noted that there are quite a few significant expenses that are required in order to work in the field including certification costs and annual membership dues, as well as cost factors such as office and travel expenses.
Generally speaking, although the real estate industry can be highly demanding and competitive, it can also be highly lucrative to pursue. Successful real estate agents in the United States bring in an annual income of well over $100k, on average.
Companies that hire freelancers in the real estate industry gain a significant advantage over their competitors by being able to rapidly scale their team and also to determine which specific individuals are the top performers while avoiding the need to commit to full-time engagements up-front.
Different companies hire freelancers, and these companies can range in size from startups to small and medium-sized companies all the way through to enterprise companies. With that said, however, working with a company of each size can be a slightly different process.
The first type of company that hires freelancers are startups that employ 50 individuals or fewer. Many of these companies are brand-new organizations that are only just starting to develop their business and are generally looking to hire freelancers to help them grow their company through completing various tasks that, for various reasons, cannot be completed by the company’s internal team. For example, a startup tech company may be composed of a core team of developers who may have little to no experience in developing marketing content. Therefore, such a company would likely seek to hire freelancers to help develop the company’s marketing collateral, grow its web presence, and to thereby reach a larger audience.
From the perspective of the freelancer, there are certain upsides and downsides to working for companies of this size and whether working for this size of company is a good fit is ultimately dependent on the individual’s personality and working style preferences.
In terms of the advantages associated with working for a startup, there are a great number of such companies that are seeking to hire freelancers and therefore a freelancer that decides to work for a company of this size will have a great number of projects to choose from. Start-ups typically post jobs on several freelancing platforms and therefore it should be quite easy for a freelancer to connect with companies of this size.
During the execution of a particular project, it is likely that the freelancer will be hired by and will subsequently work directly with an individual occupying a senior position within the company, if not directly with the owner. In addition, as the companies of this size are typically quite new, there is a great deal of opportunity for the freelancer to determine the direction of a particular project and this fact can empower the freelancer to experiment and try out new, creative approaches that may not be possible if one were to work with a large company.
Moreover, freelancing for start-up companies also provides the freelancer with the opportunity to perhaps transform their freelancing role into a more permanent position within the company. In terms of other advantages, freelancers can take advantage of high flexibility in terms of hours worked and work location.
On the other hand, however, freelancing for start-up companies also comes with a couple of downsides. For one, these positions may not be as secure or well-paying as freelancing projects with more established firms. In addition to this, freelancers working for start-up firms may need to work longer hours or to complete projects on a rapid schedule. Finally, it is possible that companies of this size may not want to invest in long-term, larger-scale projects in their early stages and therefore many freelance engagements with start-ups tend to be small or one-time projects.
In short, although freelancing for start-ups does provide unique advantages and opportunities, this upside is paired with a rather significant amount of risk in terms of financial and job security. Whether the reward is worth the risk is an individual decision dependent on one’s tolerance for risk and potential instability.
2. Small and Medium-Sized Companies
The second type of company that hires freelancers are small and medium-sized companies that employ somewhere between 50 to 500 employees. These companies have already achieved significant success and can have corporate histories ranging from a few years to decades. Some companies of this size may be privately or family-held and some may be incorporated. For medium-sized companies, their primary need for freelancers comes from the need to complete temporary projects or to complete tasks that are outside of the company’s primary focus. It may also be the case that medium-sized companies are seeking external talent to support their internal teams. For example, a publishing company that has traditionally focused on print media may be considering expanding to the digital publishing space. Although the company may have an established marketing team, this team’s experience may be centered around print marketing and might not have extensive knowledge and expertise in digital marketing. Therefore, in this case, the company might search for a freelancer with extensive knowledge of digital marketing and advertising that would consult for the company in order to advise their marketing teams on how to best transition to digital media.
A freelancer hired by such a company would likely not be working directly with the executive team of the organization and would instead be reporting to a manager or even a more junior member of staff. In other words, there is definitely a more rigid structure that is in place at companies of this size, and accordingly the relative freedom and flexibility of the freelancer is also reduced in contrast to working for a start-up company.
However, there are a variety of advantages that come with freelancing for medium-sized companies. One of the primary upsides to working for medium-sized companies is the financial stability relative to working for a start-up. In addition, compensation rates are also generally higher, while the flexibility of working hours and location is typically largely the same as what can be expected when working for a start-up.
On the other hand, freelancing work for medium-sized companies may be infrequent or highly variant in terms of assigned workload. Additionally, in contrast to working with smaller companies, freelancers that are working with medium-sized companies often have to work with multiple individuals which may lead to additional complexity and may require setting aside time for coordination meetings, conferences, and calls which may or may not be compensated. The largest downside, however, of working for a medium-sized company rather than for a start-up is the reduced variety and flexibility in terms of the work that one performs. How much this matters and whether the trade-off of reduced flexibility for increased stability is up to the individual but is certainly something to keep in mind.
It should also be noted that medium-sized companies, like smaller companies, typically hire individuals directly, possibly through job postings hosted on their own internal job boards, rather than working through a third-party sourcing agency. Essentially, companies of this size are large enough to require significant freelance support but are not large enough to justify the expense of hiring the individuals completing these additional tasks full-time.
3. Large and Enterprise Corporations
The final type of companies that hire freelancers are large corporations or enterprise companies. These companies are the most established out of the three types and typically have lengthy histories and comprehensive established policies and ways of doing things. They employ more than 500 employees and typically have entire departments dedicated to executing on certain company priorities such as marketing, sales, development, and so on. Despite this, corporations of this size do still hire freelancers, often referred to as contractors, in order to assist with company projects. This is especially the case for projects that are particularly time-dependent and need to be completed on a very rapid schedule.
As can be expected, finding and getting hired for a freelance position with a large corporation is significantly more difficult and time-consuming than obtaining a role with a small or medium-sized company. The primary thing to note is that many of these companies only hire freelancers from particular, approved agencies. Beyond that, most corporations of this size require their freelancers to possess a great deal of experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. Prior to receiving a position, potential freelancers will also likely need to complete background checks, drug checks, and various other related steps which can often take many weeks and even months to finish.
However, the advantages of working for such companies may be worth the additional time investment as there are a number of significant perks. Specifically, larger corporations tend to hire freelancers for larger projects that are more time-intensive and therefore result in longer (and therefore more valuable) projects for freelancers. In addition, freelancers are generally compensated far better by companies of this size. Freelancers also enjoy the benefit of working within highly developed and experienced teams, in a highly structured environment. Finally, working for major corporations comes with a degree of prestige and name recognition which may be extremely helpful for individuals looking to develop and refine their experience.
On the other hand, working with major corporations also has its downsides. Aside from the aforementioned hassles of having to go through time-consuming screening processes, major corporations are known for their massive levels of management and associated bureaucracy which can be frustrating for individuals used to greater freedom and flexibility. On a related note, major corporations are far less likely to offer flexible work hours and locations in comparison to small and medium-sized companies. It may also be the case that the work that one performs working for major corporations will be less exciting, especially because some large companies tend to employ freelancers specifically to complete mundane and time-consuming albeit necessary tasks.
Therefore, working for large companies can be extremely appealing and is indeed the most competitive type of position for a freelancer to obtain. It comes with many advantages and can be considered the most stable type of freelance engagement. However, achieving this can be quite difficult and is unlikely for someone who is just starting out in the field.
In short, there are advantages and disadvantages to working for each size of company, and there is probably no clear answer as to which size of company is the best to work for as this is something that depends on individual personality and preferences. However, one of the best ways to find out which one is the best for you is to try out multiple different opportunities with companies of different sizes and to determine what you prefer most. In order to check out which options may appeal to you, click here to get started today.