Freelance (sometimes spelled free-lance or free lance), freelancer, and freelance worker, are terms commonly used for a person who is self-employed and not necessarily committed to a particular employer long-term. Freelance workers are sometimes represented by a company or a temporary agency that resells freelance labor to clients; others work independently or use professional associations or websites to get work.
While the term independent contractor would be used in a different register of English to designate the tax and employment classes of this type of worker, the term “freelancing” is most common in culture and creative industries, and use of this term may indicate participation therein.
Fields, professions, and industries where freelancing is predominant include: music, writing, acting, computer programming, web design, graphic design, translating and illustrating, film and video production and other forms of piece work which some cultural theorists consider as central to the cognitive-cultural economy.
According to the 2012 Freelance Industry Report compiled primarily about North America freelancing, nearly half of freelancers do writing work, with 18% of freelancers listing writing as a primary skill, 10% editing/copy-editing, and 10% as copy-writing. 20% of freelancers listed their primary skills as design. Next on the list was translating (8%), web development (5.5%), and marketing (4%).
Freelancing is projected to grow to $20–$30 billion in the next 5–7 years in India, and the freelancers in US will comprise 40% (approx.) of the workforce at the present growth rate.