Freelancer, Contractor or Consultant. What is the difference?

FreelancingRosa KoolhovenComment

Before I moved to London 5 years ago I wasn't familiar with the terms 'Contractor' or 'Recruiter'. In the Netherlands we only use the words 'Freelancer' or 'ZZP-er' for someone that works for themselves and as far as I know there are not that many recruiting agencies in Amsterdam. But also in London I sometimes have to explain the differences between being a Freelancer, Contractor or Consultant. Because even though the term 'Freelancer' is commonly used for all three, the way of working is quite different. 


Freelancers are people who have their own client base and most of the time they charge by the hour. They usually work from home or from a rented desk somewhere in a hip co-working space. A Freelancer is very flexible and works for multiple clients at the same time. They are personally responsible for getting in enough business to pay the bills, so they have to be good at managing client relationships (and chase payments!).


A Contractor works for one client at the time and usually at the client's office on a fixed-term contract. These clients are the bigger advertising, branding or design agencies. Contractors usually charges per day and have good over-time payment rules set up. Contractors work directly with the client or they get hired via recruitment agencies. A Recruiter is a person or an organisation that links Contractors to their Clients. The Recruiter handles the contract between the two and also deals with the payments.


A Consultant is a more 'experienced professional' and is specialised in a certain subject. Where the Freelancer and the Contractor are executers of a set out job with a clear result, the Consultant has a more conceptual and theory based approach. They work on an advisory level and are usually not accountable for the outcome. Because of their years of experiences and their knowledge of their field, they can charge a very high fee.

The Future Is Freelance

FreelancingRosa KoolhovenComment

'I'll work full-time for an agency for five years and then I'll go freelance.' That is what I told myself when I got a job as a designer at an advertising agency in London. But it took me less then a year to realise that I wasn't even going to last two. It just felt unnatural to me to be inside an office, day in day out, to give up evenings and weekends and then only be allowed to have a maximum 28 days off a year. So after only 18 months I quit my job and went freelance. And I am not the only one that is making this decision.


The percentage of self-employment will only continue to grow in the next years as we, the so called Millennials or Generation Y, will take up 75% of the workforce by 2025. Our generation wants more out of their life than a steady income or long-term career. We want freedom, experiences, creativity and collaboration. Nowadays people are not loyal to a company any more, but instead they are loyal to their own art en skill. And with todays society and the technology at hand, it is easier then ever to start working for yourself or create your own business.

But even though it might be easier, it is still a scary thing to do. How to set up your own business is something we never learned in art school. No lessons were given in handling clients, paying taxes or how to make sure you end up with a pension. So when I went freelance, I did a lot of research and it wasn't easy to find trustworthy information. There are blogs and websites out there that give information on these topics, but none that spoke to me as a creative person. So then I got the idea.. why don't I start the blog that I was looking for? 

So here it is! I will be sharing information and tips on how to make the best out of your freelance life.