Freelancing has become such a big deal in the past couple of years. That is evident when you consider the number of freelancing platforms that now exist worldwide. Some of the common freelancers are copywriters, developers, and graphic designers. A freelancer is someone who works on a contract basis for a variety of individuals or companies as opposed to working as an employee. Freelancers are often referred to or refer to themselves as self-employed. It is the funniest thing that the definition of a freelancer clearly makes the distinction between an employee. Yet all too often, freelancers are treated as employees. I know this from personal experience. There is a difference, and it matters; let us talk about it.
Freelancing Is About Freedom
The reason why many people are getting into freelancing is freedom. That freedom is seldom available if you are an employee. This includes freedom on when and how long you work. It spans to having freedom on how you work and how much you charge for your work. There is also the freedom to take up as many gigs as you want. You are not tied down to just one person or entity. You also enjoy the freedom to dictate the terms of engagement with any client. These are some of the cardinal examples of the freedoms that freelancers want to enjoy. Freelancing typically entails projects or tasks that are usually short-term. That is why the difference between them and employees must be clearly understood and respected. Treating a freelancer as an employee will violate those freedoms.
Freelancers Do Not Enjoy Employee Benefits As Employees Do
One of the biggest distinctions between freelancers and employees is the benefits aspect. There are benefits that employees get that freelancers have to cater for by themselves. Things like paid-off days, health cover, paid holidays, and the like. Come to think of it; an employee gets his workspace and equipment provided for them. These are benefits that an employee is usually entitled to. A freelancer caters for all those things themselves and, as such, should not be treated as an employee. I have noticed most clients are now avoiding employing people to skirt those responsibilities. Then they hire freelancers and treat them like employees without benefits. That is unacceptable and gives more reasons for why the difference matters.
Getting Rid Of The Scope Creep Mostly Depends On The Freelancer
Whilst I do appreciate both the freelancer and client have roles to play, the freelancer has more room to control the dynamics. There are things that freelancers can do to ensure they do not get treated like an employee.
Set Clear Boundaries
One is to set clear boundaries and ensure the client respects them. Some clients do not know there is a difference between a freelancer and an employee. Thus you must clearly define the boundaries. The overriding aspect is that you must have autonomy over your time as a freelancer. A client cannot and should not run you around as they employ you. If that cannot be satisfied, it is much better to decline the gig.
Highlight You Have Other Clients
Two entails making your client know that you have other obligations as well. It is common for clients to lose sight of that fact and demand almost all of your time. You have to clarify to them that you have other clients, especially if conflicts are arising. That way, you do not get overwhelmed due to pressure from a client or clients.
Strategically Order Your Gigs
This has to start with which gigs you choose and which ones you do not. Taking on too many gigs often leads to a lack of efficiency. You will usually end up slacking on some of the gigs. That definitely might lead to a client treating you like an employee. Imagine you take on several gigs that involve daily deliverables. That will place so much pressure on you because these will all be urgent gigs. Honestly, it will be near impossible not to get clients barking orders at you like you are their employee.
Importance Of Signed Contracts
Most people still take up gigs without any prior signed contract. That often leads to complications, especially regarding scope creep. Try to work with signed contracts whenever you are freelancing as much as possible. That is why the best approach is to get a commitment fee after a discovery call and get the client to sign a contract. In that contract, you will factor in all safeguards against scope creep.
As someone who has been a freelancer for some years now, I have learnt a lot. One thing I will advise you to do is to assess your clients from the onset. If you are observant enough, you will notice clients who potentially would want to treat you as an employee. It might sound a bit harsh, but candidly, being a freelancer is about loyalty to yourself above all else. Yes, you want to get the gig done and all, but if the client cannot respect you are not an employee, it is not worth it. It will defeat the whole purpose of freelancing if you feel like you are an employee. Some clients understand the difference, and some do not. Either way, you have to lay out your terms and find other clients if they cannot respect them.