Compare Yourself to Other Freelancers

on September 26, 2011 in Finance

The International Freelancers Academy recently published its 2nd Annual Freelance Industry Report, which reports some interesting statistics on how freelancers work and what they earn. I read through the report and gleaned what I thought was most interesting from a financial perspective. You can download the full report for free if you’d like to see full information.

How Much Are Freelancers Paid?

We’re being paid pretty well – 45% of freelancers earn between $20 to $59 an hour, 26% earn $80 or more and 17% earn $100 or more. Most writers say they earn between $50 and $59 per hour. Note when I say freelancers that includes various types of freelancers including writers, editors, copywriters, designers, etc. In some places, I pulled out statistics specifically related to writers. More freelancers are writers – 18% – than anything else.

In general, more experienced freelancers charge more.

In the traditional working world, it’s said that men out earn women, but that’s not the case in most of the freelance world. Women charge more than men for rates less than $100 her hours. But, more men than women charge over $100 per hour. Time to increase our rates ladies?

Most freelancers charge a flat fee per product and about 33% bill on an hourly basis. I’ve only billed hourly for one project in my freelance career. That’s because it was too large to give a flat rate – I felt like giving a flat rate would have been cheating myself.

Freelancing is mostly recession-proof – 52% haven’t been largely affected.

How Much Do Freelancers Work? 

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Sixty-six percent of freelancers do so on a full-time basis. And 52.1% are the primary income providers in their household.

Many freelancers – 39% – earn more now than they did as an employee and most work less than 40 hours per week. What I like about freelancing is that you don’t have to clock in 40 hours a week simply because that’s the standard workweek. How many full-time employees actually do 40 hours of work?

What’s Most Challenging About Freelancing?

The biggest challenge is finding new clients, but the survey shows freelancers spend less than 5 hours a month on marketing. The second biggest challenge is the feast-or-famine cycle of work. Interesting, copywriters find it harder to find new clients vs. writers. The most experienced freelancers get work through referrals and word of mouth. However, a lot of writers find clients through Craigslist, article marketing, and social media.

The Best Part of All

The majority of freelancers are at least moderately happier since they started freelancing and wouldn’t go back even if the money were better.

The survey includes answers from 1,204 freelancers in 37 professions.

What do you think? Do the survey results sound like your freelance experience?

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LaToya Irby is a full-time freelance writer and a graduate of the University of Alabama. She primarily writes about personal finance, freelancing, and other self-employment topics.


  1. Lori September 29, 2011 Reply

    It still shocks me that writers overall aren’t earning more. I’d love to know of those respondents were averaging earnings per hour or stating their hourly rate.

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