Pauliny Zito
Planner, copywriter and copydesk

Working for yourself. That’s what defines freelancing, a term meaning a freelancer who provides services independently for companies or individuals for set periods.

Freelancing offers flexibility, independence, and the opportunity to pursue your passion.

Pauliny Zito
Planner, copywriter and copydesk

Working for yourself. That’s what defines freelancing, a term meaning a freelancer who provides services independently for companies or individuals for set periods.

Freelancing offers flexibility, independence, and the opportunity to pursue your passion.

In the words of Peggy De Lange, VP of International Expansion at Fiverr, a platform that connects businesses to freelancers:

“The pandemic has caused people to look for alternative ways to ply their trade. For those who were used to working in a more traditional format, the forced adhesion to the home office ended up working as an experience that showed that it is possible to unite flexibility and productivity. Naturally, professionals want to keep the most positive aspects of this experience from now on, which ends up contributing for many to move towards the freelance market”.

Souce: Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

Freelancer Skills

The freelancer must have good verbal and written communication, a high capacity for time management and planning, high commitment, and, above all, be very organized and have the discipline to prioritize activities and meet deadlines.

Focusing on problem-solving is one of the secrets to being successful in the areas of discipline and balance. To do so, the first step is to know what exactly you have to solve. 

Other necessary skills are adaptability and empathy because to be able to solve the clients’ problems, first of all, it is necessary to understand them. And to understand them well, you have to put yourself in their shoes.

The freelancer must be able to establish clear boundaries between professional and personal life and be careful not to be influenced by the many distractions present at home.

Being a freelancer implies being your boss, a challenge that requires the professional to develop leadership. First, of oneself. Then, in the freelancer and client relationship, leadership is present in creating trust and credibility. For freelancers working with partners, leadership should be exercised with cordiality and security, while giving them autonomy. Finally, there is also the leadership relationship with family and friends, so that they perceive the seriousness of your work and respect schedules and limits. 

Last but not least, the freelancer must know how to promote their work, building their strong personal brand, which will only be achieved if the professional is a specialist in a certain niche – and not a generalist. 

How to build a strong personal brand? By having a good Networking strategy.

  • Have and nurture a wide list of contacts to get good opportunities, bearing in mind that it is not enough to gather contacts; you have to keep them “alive”;
  • Participate in events in the same sector as yours;
  • Being present and active in employment groups;
  • Subscribe to freelancing platforms and connect with other freelancers;
  • Participate in discussions and be present on social media, especially LinkedIn, posting frequently and interacting with potential clients;
  • Having a website/portfolio that is always up to date and posting it constantly;
  • Build a name in the market, becoming a reference in your area as a freelancer;
  • Maintain a good relationship with your clients, based on trust;
  • Keep yourself always contactable and available.

Benefits of being a freelancer

While freelance work is better in terms of flexibility and purpose, traditional, contract jobs, for example, offer better benefits and financial stability.

Working as a freelancer offers professionals the opportunity to be in control of their careers, which cannot be achieved through traditional employment.

Being able to work remotely, having the flexibility to spend more time with your family, living your desired lifestyle, looking after your physical and mental health, and also controlling your earning potential are some of the key benefits of being a freelancer.

Source: Fauxels, Pexels

Tip: do some financial planning. Considering that a freelancer’s monthly salary is variable, good financial planning is to keep in mind how much money you have, how much you will receive, and how much and how you are spending it. Only then you can make assertive decisions and not spend more than you can afford.

10 myths of the freelance career

1. Freelancer sets the extra budget

The professional may even use the freelance work as an extra, but nothing prevents him from making it his main remuneration.

2. The freelancer earns little

Specialists in their fields of expertise who work as freelancers no longer have their hourly rate determined by a company and set their price, usually charging above average.

3. Freelancing is for those who are entering the job market

Although it is a very attractive area for young people at the beginning of their career, who are driven by novelty and seek more freedom and flexibility, it is not an area exclusive to this public.

4. No need to work in a team

This is because, even if the freelancer does not meet the company’s team, there is always interaction and collaboration between both, from the receipt and understanding of the briefing to the execution within the predetermined deadline.

5. Few working hours per day

The number of working hours of the freelancer depends on several factors, and may sometimes even be higher than the standard workload of companies, namely: number of clients and jobs, degree of difficulty and complexity of each job, capacity, and pace of production, and concentration of the freelancer, among others. As the freelancer does not have a workload to comply with, he establishes how many hours he should work according to his needs and deadlines.

6. Freelancer spends the day working in pajamas on the sofa

The freelancer can wear what he feels like and work wherever he wants, whether at home, in coworking spaces, or even in public places like parks, cafes, and libraries. Each person has a way of being and behaving, which doesn’t make pajamas or the sofa a rule. 

7. Always available

A freelance career is not synonymous with an emptier schedule. Every freelancer has a personal work dynamic and therefore organizes their demands based on the time to perform each task.

8. You don’t have to prospect for clients

Quite the opposite. As stated earlier in this article, freelancers must disseminate their work continuously, using digital tools, to stand out in the market.

9. It is not possible to live as a full-time freelancer

Nothing is impossible. If you have the necessary skills and competencies, focus, organization, and know how to promote your work, clients and jobs will always come your way.

10. Anyone can be a freelancer

Not everyone can be a freelancer pure and simple because not everyone adapts to freelance work. Some people prefer to work for a single company, doing their job eight hours a day, 40 hours a week, getting a fixed salary with a contract, and that’s fine. That’s because to be a freelancer is to have no fixed income, it’s to have to do your bookkeeping and be responsible for your taxes and social contributions. And also to have no periodic paid holidays or Christmas bonuses.

The freelancers Market 

The freelance market is hotter than ever. In the last two years, especially with the pandemic of COVID-19, we have experienced a revolution in the global labor market, with mass layoffs and consequently the rise of freelance or independent work, temporary, remote, digital nomads, and autonomous.

It is indeed a growing career, which was already a working trend as published in a Forbes article from August 2018.

In Portugal, in the last two quarters of 2021, according to the National Institute of Statistics, the number of self-employed (freelancers) and the professionals known as ENI – Entrepreneur in Individual Name reached 733,000, the highest figure ever in Portugal, and which is equivalent to about 15% of the active population in the country.

Most common types of jobs for Freelancers in Portugal

The most common types of work for freelancers in Portugal are freelance and service-related jobs, namely:

  • Designers;
  • Journalists;
  • Advertising and Marketing professionals;
  • Programmers and website developers;
  • Producers or Creators of audiovisual content;
  • Photographers;
  • Translators;
  • Proofreaders;
  • Business consultants;
  • Personal trainers;
  • Physiotherapists;
  • Beauticians who provide home care services;
  • Language teachers and others who give private lessons.

8 useful apps for Freelancers and Entrepreneurs to manage their business

Source: Canva Studio, Pexels

Freelancer’s Tax and Social Security obligations in Portugal

To work as a freelancer in Portugal, it is necessary to open an individual activity, in person at the Finance counter or through the Portal das Finança and have:

  • Identification: Citizen Card or Residence Card/Title;
  • NIF – Tax Identification Number;
  • IBAN in your name.

In the form, you should select the CAE of your professional activity (classified according to the Portuguese Classification of Economic Activities by Branches of Activity) or CIRS (which consists of activities of service providers) and fill in a forecast of your annual income for IRS purposes (if it is more than 12.500€ such income will be subject to withholding).

Please note: if the activity starts in July, for example, you should calculate the forecast based on 6 months, that is, from July to December, because the system will then automatically calculate the value for 12 months.

Once the declaration of the beginning of activity is submitted and approved, the freelancer can start issuing Invoices, Receipts, or Invoice-Receipts (Green Receipts) through the Portal das Finanças.

Freedom of choice 

Freelancing intensifies and proves that intellectual capital can be available anywhere on the planet.

Source: Cottonbro, Pexels

IVA: if the annual calculation is greater than 12,500 euros, it is compulsory to be included in the normal IVA regime, with the corresponding payment and deduction of IVA and submission of the periodic IVA declaration.

If the annual calculation is less than 12,500 euros, the framework is in the exemption regime, without the need to pay VAT or submit the periodic VAT declaration.

Social Security: in the first year the freelancer is exempt from payment. After 12 months, the contribution is calculated based on the income of the 3 months before the declaration and made in January, April, July, and October (i.e. the freelancer must submit a declaration 4 times a year, in addition to the annual declaration).

IRS withholding: If you have received less than 12,500 in the previous year, you do not need to make the withholding tax, and the IRS will be settled when you make the annual declaration. However, if you received more than 12.500€, you are obliged to withhold tax at the source every month.

How to calculate the hour value of freelancer work

The InvoiceXpress blog provides a tool that can help you calculate the hourly rate for freelance work:  Calculadora Valor Hora para Freelancers | Invoicexpress. provides a formula to calculate the hourly rate:

  • Living Wage = Cost of Living + Cost of Occupation + Tax Expenditure
  • Working Days = (Working Days – Vacation Days – Sick Days)*(working hours per day)

Hourly rate = Living Wage / Working Hours

Example: If your gross salary is EUR 1,600 per month and you expect to work 48 weeks, a total of 240 days, 7 hours a day, you should

  • Calculate the annual salary for 12 months = 19,200 euros
  • Calculate the working hours per year = 1,680 hours
  • Divide the annual salary (19,200 euros) by the number of working hours (1,680) = 11.42 euros

Freedom of choice

The freelancing modality intensifies and proves that intellectual capital can be available anywhere on the planet.

This model without employment ties, previously less valued, better meets the aspirations of independence and autonomy of the new generations – but not only – of professionals entering the labor market. 

Thus, it is possible to experiment with working with different types of companies and respective cultures, selecting jobs that are more convenient and which make more sense to be developed, from the freelancer’s point of view. 

Source: Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

What Freelancers want

To have more job satisfaction. That’s what freelance professionals want most. 

The Fiverr platform survey, conducted Censuswide between November 16 and 24, 2020, in which 1,051 professionals who worked remotely that year in different countries were interviewed, found that of the freelancers interviewed, 76% agreed that working from home allowed them to take on more work in parallel. In addition, 68% said that working from home made them more productive, which also allowed them to take on other work.

Be a freelancer

To work as a freelancer, takes dedication and hard work, above all having an open mind and being willing to take on new challenges.

In a highly competitive market like this, defining a niche makes a lot of difference. The more you specialize in a certain area, the better because technical knowledge is synonymous with high quality in the delivery of work.

If you are talented and want to enter the freelance market, join the largest talent network at Scallent, a subsidiary of Jelly – Digital Agency, where your work is truly valued and dignified.

Escallent selects Top Talent within an Agency’s areas of competence and connects them to client projects, in a curated, agile and competitive model.