5 Most Popular Types of Freelancers

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Freelance workers, also known as freelancers, are defined as workers who work for various causes without any attached, long-term commitments to continue to do so. First coined in 1924, this term survives as common subject matter for the present generations of workers today. As it turns out, there are also five, distinct types of freelancers out there. Concentrating on just that component to the world of freelancing, this piece attempts to layout the basics of these five popular and principle types. They are as follows.

Independent Contractors

A writer is one of the most popular types of freelance jobs for independent contractors.

Independent contractors are much a household name in the world of freelance workers today. These self-employed professionals represent those who work, from one job to the next, based on individual contracts between themselves and their serviced clientele. Many think of handymen, landscapers, and even artists when the topic of independent contractors comes up. While these are certainly correct portrayals of this group of freelancers, there are truly thousands of other professions that also fall under its categorical umbrella.

Some independent contractors find freelance work as:

  • Freelance writers
  • Freelance translators
  • Search engine optimization professionals

Flexibility and Autonomy: Independent contractors typically have the freedom to set their own work hours and choose which projects to take on.  They decide which freelance jobs to take, providing a greater sense of control over their professional life.

Diverse Work Opportunities: Working as an independent contractor can expose you to a wide variety of job opportunities.  This can lead to a more fulfilling work experience.

Ability to Work from Anywhere: Many independent contractors can work from anywhere there’s an internet connection.  This location-independent lifestyle is especially appealing those who want to start a freelancing career with the ability to travel.


Inconsistent Income: Independent contractors may have incomes that fluctuates.  There may be periods of high demand or lucrative projects followed by times with little work.

No Employee Benefits: Independent contractors are on their own to obtain benefits.  There is no sick pay or vacation benefits either.  Health insurance can be expensive purchased individually.

No Job Security: Since independent contractors work on a project-by-project basis, there is no guarantee of continuous work or ongoing employment.

Temporary Workers

Temporary jobs are a great way to explore a variety of roles working for multiple clients.

Temporary workers are essentially those hired on by companies as temporary, or non-permanent workers. Technically, one may not be considered a freelancer by simply performing this vocational calling just once. However, there are many workers out there heeding this calling from one role to the next in perfect, entrepreneurial and sequential fashion. These are the true freelance, temporary workers. One can find these workers anywhere, from retail and construction jobs, to transportation, security, production positions, and elsewhere.

Common types of freelance gigs for temporary workers:

  • seasonal retail
  • cleaning
  • factory work

Flexibility: Temp workers have the freedom to choose when and where they work.  They can accept short term assignments that align with their interests and professional goals.

Quick Entry into the Job Market: Need a job tomorrow?  Temporary staffing agencies can help you get faster entry into the job market.  There’s often no lengthy hiring process so you can start work immediately.

Skill Development: Temporary workers often have a diverse skill set as they adapt to various jobs and industries.  This can help boost their resume and make them better job candidates.


Exclusion from Company Culture: Temporary workers can feel like outsiders among permanent employees since their time with the organization is limited.

Limited Career Advancement: Since temp workers are often hired for a specific role or project, they may have limited opportunities for career advancement within the organization.

Difficulty in Building Long-Term Relationships: Temp staff may find it difficult to build long-term professional relationships due to the transient nature of their assignments.

Diversified Workers

Diversified workers have a variety of freelance jobs.

As the name of this popular freelance group implies, diversified workers utilize any variety of mixed means by which to make their desired income. Someone operating at this capacity may do some moonlighting by night and some independent contract work during the day. They may also do temporary worker gigs combined with any number of other money-making endeavors. Diversified paths to making an income is truly the name of the game here.

Common types of freelance jobs for diversified workers:

  • freelance writer/social media specialist
  • freelance consultant/web designer
  • freelance HR manager/blogger

Reduced Vulnerability to Economic Changes: Since diversified workers have many different skills, they are able to pivot to different roles or industries if one sector falls into decline.

Professional Development: It takes continuous learning and skill-development to be a successful diversified worker.

Adaptation to Market Demands: Diversified workers can align their skills with current market demands.  They can capitalize on emerging opportunities.


Stretched too thin: Balancing multiple skills and roles can get overwhelming.  There may be conflicting priorities.

Skills can become outdated: Keeping up with multiple skillsets could be more challenging than focusing on a single area of expertise.

Lack of Depth: While diversified workers have multiple skills, they may not have the same level of competence as someone who specializes in that area.

Freelance Business Owners

Freelance business owner

The freelance business owner is a sort of self-professed master of the freelance world. It is this individual who takes freelancing a step further by making it into an actual business of its own. Such freelance companies are generally small in size and employ a number of various types of freelancers to do the arranged company work. There have been a number of similar kinds of companies, however, that grew into a much larger organization subsequent to great business success.

Common types of freelance companies:

  • photography studios
  • graphic design companies
  • cleaning companies

Autonomy and Decision-Making: Freelance business owners have full control over their business’s direction and decision-making processes.

Job Satisfaction: Many business owners have a deep satisfaction and sense of accomplishment for their work.

Financial Potential: Business owners have the potential to increase their income, adding additional freelancers to take on more work if needed.


Long Work Hours: Owning your own business typically involves working long hours and may include weekends.

Customer Satisfaction and Reputation:  Maintaining customer satisfaction is crucial for any business.  Unhappy customers can impact your business’s reputation.

Employee Management:  Managing freelance workers presents unique challenges since they aren’t bound by any contracts.


Finally, today’s moonlighter represents what is arguably the most common slice of the freelancer market. This is the individual who works a traditional day job but goes on to do a freelance job in the off hours of that primary job. Those working this sort of double-shift are often at odds with a rigorous schedule. In the end, however, they are also multiplying their daily income many times over and are thus more financially acclimated to face the potential costs of their particular living styles.

Common freelance gigs for moonlighters include:

  • childcare provider
  • bartender
  • lifeguard

Additional Income: Moonlighting provides the opportunity to earn additional income to help pay off debts or save for future goals.

Pursuing Passions: With the right gig, moonlighting can allow individuals to pursue their passions and interests.

Building a Portfolio:  Moonlighting can help build a diverse portfolio, showcasing both work and skills.


Impact to Work Life Balance: Moonlighting can take away time from personal life and family activities.

Exhaustion and Burnout: The extra work from moonlighting can lead to physical and emotional exhaustion.

Unpredictable Work Schedules: Moonlighting can create challenges in coordinating schedules between jobs.

All said and done, the vast world of freelance work today represents a major slice of the entirety of the working world. These five types of freelancers represent the most commonly found of this breed today. For those interested in learning even more about the vast world of freelance workers and work, the Freelancers Union is an excellent resource with which to inquire further.