Freelancing for beginners: where to look and what are the pitfalls

Prostobiz.ua tells about the basic fundamentals of freelance activity, the dangers that lie in wait on this way and the best websites, allowing to find jobs for such activity for beginners in Ukraine. We will tell you how to work and make money on freelance jobs, job exchanges. Prosto many people want to get away from regular work – in free floating performer of individual one-time jobs, working when you want, and sometimes even in the most different places in the world.

Summary and related links

What is freelance

Types of cheating freelancers

Where to look for freelance work

9 myths about freelancing

Workzilla – online remote work exchange

5.1 What is a remote work exchange?

5.2 For what and for whom?

5.3 How does it work?

Features of the regulatory framework of freelance activities in Ukraine

What is freelance

The word freelance means “free lance” and in the Middle Ages denoted a knight willing to fight for hire on any warring side. In the twentieth century, this word (freelance or freelancing) began to mean the regular professional performance of some work without enlisting in the staff of any company and without creating your own firm. And in the twenty-first century, with the development of the Internet, freelancing acquired two main forms:

“remote work” with the help of the Internet (distance jobs, remote jobs, online jobs);

“physical”, off-line performance of occasional tasks – the finding of which (and for customers – the finding of outsourced performers of which) also now takes place on the Web in the absolute majority of cases.

By definition, remote freelancing in terms of legislation has nothing to do with labor law – but is work on the basis of a civil-law contract (“customer” / “contractor”) or on the basis of an oral agreement, which can also include all sorts of electronic correspondence and registration on the site.

In this connection, the freelancer cannot claim the social protection that is legally inherent to “regular” employees, nor any other state protection of his labor rights. He will be protected by law only if he has concluded a full-fledged contract with the client’s seal and the signature of his authorized representative. True, even in this case, the terms of the contract may contain the possibility of attributing violations to the freelancer himself, which, according to the texts of other contracts, quite legally gives the customer the right not to fulfill obligations to the performer – so you need to be careful, even with a quite “rank noble” conclusion of contracts.

From the point of view of taxation in cases of official documentary registration of the work he performs, it is most effective for the freelancer to remain a natural person (in this case, the income tax for him pays the state of the customer, the employer). Or you can register as a free FLP on the simplified system of taxation and reporting (but then the latter should be submitted to the freelancer himself).

At the moment, however, the lower the cost of the work, the more likely it is that the freelance work is ordered and paid for outside of the legal workflow and cash flow of the customer, even at the conclusion of contracts with signatures – they may, for example, in the form of an agreement or receipt of two individuals (employee of the client company and freelancer-executor).

In any case, the lawyers strongly advise freelancers to find out the name of the client company, if possible. And if it is a Ukrainian company, check the information about them at the portal of the former Gosregister (in the future – the register of the Ministry of Justice) or a similar register in other countries. Suspicious in this case may be such moments: the date of company registration a few days or weeks before the attempts to hire freelancers, the registration at this address of a long series of companies, suspicious registration address (type of urban facility) for this profile of the customer.

Types of deception of freelancers

What in recent times was called a crude jargon “scam” – was and is, more often than not, attempts to deceive beginners freelancers. The most active and widespread in the 1990s-2000s were schemes of swindling free workers, the markers of which were such facts in the proposals of customers:

The customer asks the doer first to transfer money for training or for materials needed for the job; sometimes in the form of sending a text message (expensive, which may not be warned) – almost certainly the customer disappears after that;

Surprisingly simple mechanical jobs like sorting letters or photos, mailing letters, typing, or collecting pens are offered. And in real life, the pens are made entirely by conveyor belt (it’s worth the trouble to find a video of the supposedly “manual” process offered to you). No need for mass text typing has been “non-existent in nature” for a long time. Letters and photos are sorted and sent by secretaries or other employees with broader responsibilities.And even illegal spam activities have a high degree of automated “bots” already;

Activities that do not make economic sense, but are based on some alleged mistakes, punctures of various complex systems (“magic wallets” that return more than they are supposed to, and the like) are proposed;

A pyramid scheme is proposed, involving as many of the performer’s acquaintances and friends as possible (and often – again, economically pointless);

It recruits performers without specifying a profile, an industry or/and requirements for the performer in the ad;

A quite normal small remote job is offered, but in an emergency mode, with a deadline of just a few hours – the freelancer loses his vigilance because of the rush, and sends a finished work product, without controlling to whom he does it; payment for the work is then usually not received. How this is “cured”: in such urgent cases, quietly demand an advance payment by card transfer – it is more or less safe for the customer, because the bank card account serves as an identification way to find a performer in case of what happens;

Suggested earnings from clicks on advertisements on Internet portals – click-bots will allegedly pay generously to agencies receiving money for clicks from those interested in increasing this type of traffic. It is possible to make money in this way for a single freelancer – but a pittance, because the main web advertising systems will calculate the mass clicks from one computer rather quickly. As a result, without “live” pre-payment may be that your payment for clicks, if it is followed by an electronic purse, it is not possible to promptly cash in because the amount is too small.

Such schemes abound – and, in principle, the domestic freelancer in the case of remote work, alas, should by default be suspected of any potential customer dishonesty, be tense and ready to lose. And only thoroughly convinced of the transparency of the scheme of work and its payment, you can agree to do the job.

Offline performers, who are personally in contact with the customer, are certainly a little more relaxed – but it is necessary to actively look for tricks or demand prepayment here as well.

Where to look for freelance work

As with finding a permanent job, freelancers can find assignments in two ways:

Searching for customer ads;

offering performers information about their qualifications (resume, portfolio) – which is sought by customers.

Naturally, the first method usually gives a faster effect – but it would be strategically wrong to omit the second method. Before we talk about specialized sites for freelancers, we should note that in order to inform potential customers about themselves, performers should not hesitate to actively use

Social networks (especially the network LinkedIn, created specifically for business contacts) – both your personal accounts, and groups in which you are registered or which you have created yourself. If you do not want to mix the personal with the work – just create a separate group (community) in all the social networks about yourself as a performer of certain tasks, fill it with content and portfolio, invite potential customers to it;

Blog platforms and forum-accounts – If your activity has a visual or text component, feel free to publish posts with the visible results of your work in your personal blogs (they can be tagged with a single metatag, so that a potential customer could easily “filter out” your portfolio from the rest of the blog posts). Note that in addition to the well-known livejournal.com their “professional” blogs are on portals for freelancers and sites for specialists in your profession – in order to promote yourself they should not be neglected either;

free ads platforms (olx.ua and any other), the sites of newspapers of free announcements preserved to this day (aviso.ua and the like) – they all contain sections on work, including one-time jobs.

resume with offers of one-time work (especially remote IT-work) is appropriate to place and on the “standard” search portals for employees / employers (rabota.ua and many others);

personal website – if you have one.

In addition, becoming on the path of freelancing, not too lazy to create, store and update the list of e-mail addresses of all your “good” customers, in any case do not lose their contacts after paying for work. After all, from time to time it is appropriate to make a newsletter offering your services to as many potential customers as possible.

The most effective way to find customers is to use freelance portals, through which most freelance performers and customers who want to get a one-time outsourced task find each other. Most often, the current portals have both free economy features and paid premium opportunities to promote themselves as task performers. For Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, it is primarily worth noting the powerful, well-structured multidisciplinary portals in this capacity:

Exchanges for freelancers

In addition to these “omnivorous” portals, there are specialized freelance exchanges for designers, photographers, programmers, copywriters and other workers, as well as web aggregators that collect freelance announcements from several exchanges at once. One of the most complete and up-to-date catalogs of such portals was created and is updated on his site kadrof.ru by Sergey Antropov, author of a very useful book in this context, “I am a Freelancer.

9 Myths about Freelancing

Myth 1. Freelancing = free time all the time

Reality. Sure, it’s technically easier for a freelancer to brush off work and spend their weekdays playing computer games or drinking than it is for a hired rookie worker. But just here, if you’re not working, you’re not making money. The main thing to remember is that the concept of “working” for a freelancer includes spending half of your time and energy searching for work, making a portfolio and other forms of self-promotion and self-praise, negotiating, corresponding and meeting with clients, and regularly performing test unpaid or low-paying assignments.

This is why the majority of freelancers who became wealthy along the way initially worked well over 40 hours a week for many years – that is, noticeably more than the norm for employees hired by companies.

Freelancing is a more labor-intensive way for a newcomer who wants to feed themselves entirely with one freelance job than with traditional salaried work for a company.

Myth 2: Freelancing = no more bosses, no more hierarchical stresses

Reality. Do you know who you, as a freelancer, will have all those customers who will give you money for your work? All these people are your new bosses, no other way around.

Instead of one or two bosses, a freelancer gets dozens of them; and all of them are your immediate supervisors, and all of them have every nuance of your work directly in their sights. All of these temporary bosses will interact with you in different ways-so don’t “get used to it,” don’t “get used to it,” and don’t learn the flaws and oddities. They may all approach differently, say, the “ok” button in a distant nested service on a website that you never intended to design. All of them one day to your dumping proposal at the same time will send 14 e-mails – with a note in each that the answer is expected only until the evening.

A business owner can be his own boss. But the freelancer, who has no other income, remains a hired worker. And not the usual, but like a puppet, to which a thousand threads are tied in advance (customers for the entire subsequent history of the freelance career). It’s just that they don’t pull those strings at the same time, but each one in turn. And also a freelancer is such a puppet that feels awfully bad if it is not pulled, whereas in companies it is often the opposite.

However, many freelancers are “pulled” by customers at the same time. And how you will be sorry to miss an order and lose the trust of the client, if you can not perform multiple orders at once physically, and to hire staff, open and expand a normal business – you are not mature enough.

Myth 3: Freelancing = no more red tape and corporate bureaucracy

Reality. For a few dollars you can maybe work without a contract. But if we’re talking about the real feeder orders, all the red tape will be on the freelancer: reading, or even drafting contracts, registrations, taxes, supporting documents.

Plus, again, your self-promotion, building your personal brand, as we’ve already hinted at, will regularly require a mass of documentary and partly bureaucratic work: compiling various kinds of portfolios and resumes, finding where to send them, sending them out, engaging in correspondence.

And all of this is not once every five years when you change jobs – but monthly, weekly, regularly and inevitably. Don’t you want to hire someone to do all those self-marketing files, sites and emails for you? If you already want to – admit that you’ve stopped dreaming of being a freelancer, but have nonetheless matured to the desire to start a small stationary business with its own staff, with at least one secretary.

Myth 4: Freelancing is the best way out for the uncommunicative person who wants to be a “lone wolf” in life

Reality. Clients want to communicate with freelancers. And freelancers get more out of this communication than many employees hired by companies.

There is no life in which a freelancer sits in a fortress of solitude and silently swallows streams of work flowing to him all the time. Again, in some positions there is such a life just in large companies, but not in freelancers.

Myth 5: A freelancer may work at home even in his or her underwear: Saving on business attire

Reality. The only reason why the single person who works from home in movies, books and comics often ends up in his or her underwear is because he or she is often so busy with work that he or she has no time to get dressed in the morning and wash the dishes, and he or she doesn’t have time for himself or herself either.

But seriously, the first meeting with a client forces the freelancer to approach his own dress code more strictly than if it were an ordinary day at a big company. And such meetings will be frequent.

In addition, an important component of many people’s dream of becoming a freelancer (this time let’s mention a really positive, not mythical, factor) is the possibility of working remotely using the Internet with temporary residence in other countries with beautiful nature and architecture. But does it make sense to go far away and rent a place to sit in it or walk around in an unassuming way? On the contrary, you are likely to dress especially nicely every morning in a beautiful place – to sit down to work with your laptop on the terrace above the sea, the mountains or in the park of a medieval place with special pleasure. Will there be an economy of business dress style here? Not a fact.

Myth 6: Freelancing is ideal for people who quickly get bored of all work

Reality. If you have a hard time holding back desire to work in companies, no strength to cope with the feelings of “I’m bored, oh, there’s that boredom again,” then it will be even harder for you to cope with the exact same feelings in freelancing. And these feelings will show up there, too: they happen to all people.

For people who are very prone to homesickness, external discipline – in the form of bosses or, conversely, in the form of responsibility for your own business and its staff – serves as an “angel over your shoulder” whose gaze you feel and can’t quite relax.

If there is no gaze from over your shoulder, then in freelance life with weak willpower there is a much greater chance of degradation than in someone else’s company or in your own business.

Myth 7: Favorite business + freelancing = not work, but fun making money

Reality. Children think the same way about many professions, like soccer players or actresses, that instead of work, they “get a lot of fun, and even a lot of money. Adults, on the other hand, know what grueling years of training, far from playful pleasure, occupy the entire childhood and youth of a professional soccer player or acrobat.

It’s the same with any other job. Few things are enjoyable, repeated for the thousandth time. Few favorite things, put on a daily basis, are given easily, without “sweat.” Freelancing, not freelancing, does not matter – the pleasure of work will be regularly replaced by the opposite of the same attitude to it. There is no other life.

Myth 8: All you need to make money – this site

Reality. Too many new freelancers have appeared who think that their website will be a money-printing machine — like “that blog” or “that service.” Like, collect reprints on the site, copy the service interfaces, and keep your pocket wide open!

In fact, it is only possible to monetize a site that people find, consider unique and interesting. To make it so and not to become outdated, a freelancer needs to work on the content and the mass of software and design aspects, and at the same time to comprehend all the technical innovations and gadgets – daily, stubbornly, selflessly. And for a single person who wants to survive only one site, there will be a huge, indefatigable shaft of work.

Myth 9. Freelancer takes all income from the order

Reality. Freelancers buy from their earnings (and for their time, which is also, according to the proverb, calculable in money) absolutely everything for their workplace. And absolutely everything for their social background. And in many companies, employees are spared this.

For example, freelance programmers have to buy and comprehend a lot of novelties of techniques and software in order not to miss the adaptation of their code to the realities of the web and applications. And these novelties, as you all know, appear approximately every month. So without a plan to buy updates you can quickly become “outdated” and lose even your past loyal customers.

That is, a freelancer needs to schedule a more or less exact plan of such expenses in advance. And where to write a business plan, isn’t it time to think about your own business instead of hiring a freelancer at the same time?

Summary

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that working for yourself is worse than working for someone else. Choosing to work for yourself can be the most right and surprising choice of your life – on a par with choosing your faith and your spouse.

Just remember that not only freelancers work for themselves – but business owners as well: project founders with a calculated plan, mission, and of course, a small creative team. Do the math: maybe such a choice in your case will prove to be personally more attractive and even more enjoyable than freelancing.

What is a remote work exchange?

We are often faced with tasks that are difficult to perform for one reason or another. The reasons are different – not enough knowledge, no time, no desire to spend time on the monotonous and tedious work. And it doesn’t matter if you’re an employee of a company, an owner of your own business, or a student. In this case, and if you have money on your card, you can register on the remote work exchange and place your task as a customer.

On the other hand, a person who currently has free time and is able to do something can also register on the site and, as a performer, choose a suitable task, perform it and earn money.