What is the Difference Between a Freelancer and an Agency?

Jyssica Schwartz
6 min readNov 27, 2023
Image by Moondance from Pixabay

Whether you’re an individual looking for clients or a company looking to hire someone, it can be confusing to know who is the best fit for your needs.

In this post, I’m diving into what the definitions, what kind of projects might be better suited for each, and the pros and cons for freelancers.

Let’s start by looking at what exactly a freelancer and an agency are:

A freelancer is one self-employed individual person who chooses their own clients and is hired by a person or company to do specific work for them.

For example, you may hire a freelance salesperson who researches leads and sends cold messages or a freelance writer to write blog posts and newsletters for your business.

The scope of work may expand over time, but a freelancer is an independent contractor or 1099. Freelancers find their own clients and projects, decide their prices/rates, do their own invoicing, take care of their own taxes, and do everything else associated with running a small business.

A freelance agency (also known as a digital agency, creative agency, marketing agency, or even just an “agency”) is a traditional business where there is an owner and a business model/plan to help clients with whatever the agency’s specialty is such as marketing or content management.

The agency takes care of client acquisition, contracts, fees, etc. They build the freelancer’s fees into their prices and pass the cost onto their clients.

The agency may be made up of mostly full-time employees or a team or primarily freelancers, where the agency hires the freelancers for specific clients or projects, but who are still independent contractors.

Generally, an agency has a mix of both internal employees and contractors/freelancers.

For companies looking to hire:

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Jyssica Schwartz

Entrepreneur, writer, editor, book coach, cat lover, weirdo, optimist. Author of “Write. Get Paid. Repeat.” & “Concept to Conclusion.” jyssicaschwartz.com