What is and what is not considered to be freelance working hours?

While a regular job would be more or less 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, what would a freelancer consider as working hours? One of the reasons why freelancers decide to be so, is the freedom that comes from setting their own hours. So, they can either wake up early in the morning and work until lunch, or enjoy the morning and work from lunch to evening, or work all night, or make a combination of them all and still have time for family and friends. Sounds really good, doesn’t it? But at the same time,

what is freelance working time
Mystery watch (Solved!) flickr photo shared by jhritz under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

when determining them. Is replying to an e-mail at 1 after midnight, searching for information online for your writing or learning how to write a particular text- working time? In order to distinguish this, we should take into consideration freelance writing for a fixed price or by the hour.

Working hours is time spent to any work that an employer permits an employee to perform. That would mean that any time the employee has spent to do work even if not instructed so or the work was done out of working hours, the employee should be paid. Thus, that would mean that a freelance writer that charges by the hour should include every time spent on research, not just the time spent on the writing itself. But then, how could an employer control that? Or even how could a freelance writer determine working time? Well, there are numerous tracking apps for freelancers. While Google Calendar helps you organize your time and to-do lists, Office Time is one of the many time-tracking applications that contains features as dashboard, spreadsheets data import and stat reports. So, you can start your freelance writing project, determine an hourly rate and generate the full invoice. Chrometa is another app that automates time tracking and records your software usage. You can therefore examine your daily reports, as well as your time spent on web surfing, Skype, coding etc. It isn’t as difficult as it seemed before, is it?

Concerning freelance writing for fixed price, it is quite easier to determine what your working time is. You get the same price as agreed no matter how much time or effort you have put into it. That is the reason why if you determine the price, you should take into account the research time you would spend on a specific topic, depending on your previous knowledge. It is rare, or almost impossible not to do research and write it all in no time. If, on the other hand, your employer suggests the fixed price paid, take it only if you think that price would be equivalent to the effort and energy put into it. Using trustworthy academic sources as google scholar among others will help you not only argument your writing, but it will also save your time.

Of course, estimating all that time spent in meeting or at phone, ordering another coffee while working from Starbucks, taking a small rest or eating your lunch is fairly difficult. Still, it all depends on your choice. That’s the beauty of the freelancing jobs, being able to decide for yourself and to recognize what can be considered working time, and what not.

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