There are a lot of words thrown around to describe freelancers, so if you’ve had little to no direct experience with freelancers, it can be confusing.
While many employers and businesses are familiar with contract work, where an individual works for a business for a fixed term, the flexible nature of freelancing can seem less straightforward. It doesn’t have to be though, because essentially, a freelancer is a contractor that works with more flexibility.
We’ve broken these terms down and had a look at some examples to make the distinction crystal clear.
Generally, contractors are seen as temporary employees. They come in and work at a business’ office as a regular full-time or part-time employee for a fixed period - anywhere from 1-12 months.
Contractors will usually work for one employer at a time, often on a particular project or span of time, like so:
A marketer works on a one year contract to manage the requirements for on-going new product releases.
A developer works for 6 months to upgrade a cloud-based software platform
A project manager works for 8 months to oversee a long-term project in a digital agency
A graphic designer works on a part time 3 month contract on logo design and branding.
Freelancers often do similar work to contractors but tend to have more flexible work arrangements - a freelancer may work remotely, work in office or a combination of the two. Unlike contractors, freelancers can also work for multiple clients at a time.
Work-wise, it’s also common for freelancers to work on specific deliverables or projects, such as:
A freelance developer works remotely for 10 weeks to update a business intranet.
A freelance animator works on-site for 4 weeks to create an animation for a particular advertising brief.
A freelance marketer works remotely on an on-going contract to develop a monthly brochure for a business.
A freelance UXer works remotely for 6 weeks on a specific project but visits the business office once a week.
So, as you can see the difference between contractors and freelancers is really the flexibility involved.
For freelancers, this flexibility is everything - the big drawcard for many freelancers is the freelance lifestyle of balance, individuality and flexibility. This means the freedom to choose when and where they work, the freedom to choose projects that align with their values and the freedom to arrange their work around their life - not the other way around.
Freelancing is becoming an attractive prospect for many workers, especially among the younger generation - tertiary students are starting to have an expectation of this flexibility from the get go. We saw this firsthand when we gave a series of talks at universities; students -the future workforce- were very keen to find out how they could get into freelancing and all the different businesses and clients they could work with.
So how do you get into this growing field? While there are tailored UX study paths, ask a lot of senior UXers and they’ll tell you that they fell into UX after working as a designer, developer or even as a marketer. Especially for designers, UX seems like a natural jump - you move from designing elements of a website to designing how someone uses the elements on the site.
This doesn’t limit others from moving to UX though, because at heart, UX is about research, empathy, and understanding people’s problems while guiding them to want or need your solution.
An understanding of how people interact with computers and websites.
Knowledge of design principles and how users respond to them.
Good communication skills to liase with developers, designers, clients and other stakeholders.
Technical skills to develop prototypes and wireframes.
The empathy and imagination to solve problems for diverse groups of people.
Looking at these skills, it’s easy to see how they link up to other skill sets. For instance, developers already have the technical skills and as a bonus, they know the limitations of bringing a wireframe to life which can help them design technically realistic websites. Another example is marketers, they already know how people interact with businesses and products - a very valuable skill for a UXer!
So if this is sounding a bit like you, the good news is that UX is very portfolio and case study based, so where possible, building up your portfolio by using UX principles in your current role is a great place to start. If you’re more of a course person, there are a number of courses and events out there to help you develop your skillset into the UX space.
There’s the UX Gym which has practical courses all around New Zealand.
Udemy has a number of online courses to get you started in UX.
The easiest way to find freelancers on Yudoozy is by posting a job. Fill out a few quick details and you’re away - we’ll let all of the freelancers with relevant skills (out of our 3000+ database) know you have posted a job, they get a summary of what the job entails via email as well as a notification on their freelancer dashboard. We’ll then notify you when a freelancer registers their interest in your job; you can see all of the interested freelancers on your Yudoozy dashboard.
Freelancers are on the hunt
The freelance market in New Zealand is growing as employers are increasingly looking to hire freelancers with skills that their current employees lack. Especially for startups and SMEs, freelancers are becoming more popular as they give smaller businesses access to niche skills that they otherwise might not be able to afford. Project management, specific development languages and motion graphics design are some key areas for freelancing in NZ.
Freelance writers have been around since newspapers were using typewriters but recently there’s been a surge of freelancers in other areas, particularly design and development. More and more Kiwis are turning to freelance work for lifestyle reasons and a bit more freedom. They’ve developed their skills and expertise in agencies, corporates & other businesses for years and now they’re after some flexibility and want to try their hand at freelancing. Heaps of them have signed up to Yudoozy - we’ve got talented, creative freelancers coming out of our ears and they’re all looking for freelance jobs.
Basically, now is the perfect time to jump in there and find a freelancer!
The digital and creative world is always changing, with new skills, languages and platforms emerging all the time. Although you don’t have to jump on every trend, as a freelancer, keeping your skillset relevant is really valuable - the more you can offer an employer the better.
Here at Yudoozy, we’ve found this especially important since employers search for freelancers based on skills. We’ve been studying up on industry trends and talking to employers about the skills they’re looking for in freelancers.
There’s a lot of new skills coming through, particularly in design and development while other existing skills like UX and Digital Strategy are becoming more in demand.
Some game-changing tech startups have come out of NZ, the original darlings Xero, Vend & Timely and more recently Pushpay and 8i - but we reckon there’s a lot of innovation, or potential innovation, that goes unnoticed in New Zealand.
Innovation doesn’t always mean startups though, anyone with a good idea can innovate! Being a freelancer is innovative in itself; you’re out there for working for yourself, trying out new ideas and finding what works.
There’s a lot of support for innovators, so if you’ve got a good idea you’ve been sitting on, or you’re looking to develop yourself as a freelancing business, these programmes might be for you.
Mahuki is an innovation accelerator run by Te Papa, aiming to develop ideas into world-leading digital businesses for the cultural sector. A four-month programme based in Wellington, applications close on the 29th of May.
Akina Elevate works with a group of social enterprises across topics that are “fundamental to success”.The programme has a supportive learning environment, combining group learning, specialist knowledge and tools, and mentoring.
Creative HQ’s incubation programme brings entrepreneurs together to create a community with vital help and support. The programme assists entrepreneurs through the challenges and risks of developing a great idea into something more.
Ministry of Awesome’s startup activation programme facilitates informative workshops, events and educational labs where you can up-skill, accelerate your idea and connect with other entrepreneurs.
Biz Dojo specialise in activating spaces by curating robust, diverse communities and implementing activation programmes and events to plug their residents into the wider innovation ecosystem and help businesses succeed and grow.
Festival for the Future is an action-packed weekend featuring a range of speakers, workshops, performances and entertainment. It’s all about inspiring forward thinkers and developing skills for the future.
The H2 Accelerator is all about developing ideas in AI, fintech, digital security, data or marketplaces. However, if the programme likes your idea enough, they’ll accept you even if your idea isn’t in these spaces.
Lightning Lab, Vodafone Xone & Flux have filled their programmes for the year but keep an eye out for the demo days and pitch events in coming months to see the startups formed who are making it big.