Some freelancers are glorified employees.
Some are consultants.
Some provide specialized services that are productized.
Some sell their raw skills to anyone that wishes to apply them.
Others sell the application of their skills to specific problem areas or types of clients.
Some charge by the hourly, either because they’re glorified employees or because they charge so much hourly that it doesn’t really matter as long as the client is happy.
Others don’t have set fees – as each project is ad hoc and custom – and they focus on setting clear objectives and metrics with clients then setting clear expectations and investment choices.
Still others offer recurring services, either charging a monthly fee or some sort of retainer arrangement.
There are numerous ways of doing things.
Each market is a little different.
Each freelancer has different preferences.
My experience has been:
- Try out different things
- Don’t be afraid to evolve even if something once was what you were most comfortable with or worked best with a certain pool of clients
- It’s okay to use more than one approach simultaneously
- Keep things simple
- Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture: generally something like a decent income and a decent labor-to-income ratio that results in a decent life balance and good mental and physical health