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Freelance Your Way Around the World in 2016

Freelance Your Way Around the World in 2016

Freelancers used to get considerable flak about their career choices. If you have freelanced for any length of time, you might have received looks of disdain when you announced your job title in public.

That’s just not the case anymore. As 2016 draws nearer, the future looks brighter for freelancers than in any previous year. Looking forward to changes, trends, and tips for freelancing in 2016 will help you prepare for its arrival.

Freelancing: The New Norm

If you’re a freelancer, you’re in good company. You’re one of 53 million Americans who earn a living with freelance work, which represents nearly 40 percent of the labor force. Experts predict that the number will reach 50 percent by 2020.

As more professionals turn to freelancing for income, the industry becomes more accepting. The public sees freelancers as capable, qualified experts who run their own businesses.

In 2016, that trend will continue toward public acceptance. This means that an increasing number of businesses will turn to freelancers for their services. Expect to see more jobs enter the marketplace and to see pay rates increase accordingly.

Of course, this means that full-time employment options might shrink. As employers embrace freelancers as part of their creative teams, they will hire fewer employees. Now represents a perfect time to make the switch from regular employment to freelancing.

True Freedom: Location Independence

The idea of quitting your job to travel the world is an alluring one and making money by blogging even more so. A quick Google search will reveal countless travel bloggers who have successfully turned their blogs into profitable enterprises. There are plenty of posts about how to start a successful travel blog. The fact is that unless you are very determined and focused or have a very specific niche, building a successful and profitable travel blog is a difficult endeavor. But travel blogging isn’t necessarily the only route to travel freedom. There are other options.

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As Internet connectivity improves, people are embracing the idea of a location independent lifestyle where they can work while they travel. One of the best ways to achieve this independence is through freelance work. Micro-gigging allows you to find work from wherever you are. This means that if you’ve built a reputation and have consistent work coming in, what does it matter if you’re in Buffalo or Budapest? As long as you have access to the Internet, you can make money while traveling.

Attraction: More Freelancers Will Enter the Marketplace

As more jobs become available, an increasing number of professionals will leave their nine-to-five positions in favor of freelancing and consulting work. This means greater competition, but if you continue to hone your skills and market yourself effectively, you’ll never lack work.

In the past, freelancers often hung out their shingles because they had no other choice. Lay-offs, labor reductions, and terminations from full-time positions forced them to work odd jobs until they could find gainful employment again.

However, the tides have changed. According to Kristen Fischer of Contently, a recent Freelancers Union survey revealed that 60 percent of freelancers choose this career by choice (versus out of necessity).

Why do full-time workers switch to freelancing? The survey discovered that 65 percent of respondents named flexibility as the key draw. Freelancing allows professionals to set their own schedules, accept or decline projects at will, and structure their days however they wish.

Other benefits of freelancing include:

  • Location: Work anywhere in the world, whether it’s a coffee shop down the street or a beach on the other side of the planet.
  • Potential: Freelancing doesn’t limit you to a pay grade. If you want to earn more money, raise your rates or solicit more work.
  • Security: You can lose a client or an account as a freelancer, but you can’t lose your job.
  • Passion: Pursue your creativity and interests with freelancing instead of following someone else’s orders.
  • Freedom: Do you hate working for a particular client? You don’t have to renew the contract. Cut the cord whenever you want.

Every freelancer harbors his or her own reasons for pursuing this career. Maybe you nurse a chronic case of wanderlust, so you don’t want to tie yourself down to a job that requires you to report to a physical place every day. Perhaps you don’t respond well to authority, so you sought a job that would eliminate the dreaded boss.

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Work Ethic: Freelancers Work Harder Than Anyone

As a freelancer, you run your own business. Not only must you perform your job description for each project you take on, but you have to serve as the accounting, marketing, advertising, and human resources department of your business.

Even if you only spend five hours on an actual project every day, you might work double that on other issues that require your attention. Freelancers represent some of the hardest members of the global labor pool.

Every job requires an exchange—a compromise of sorts. You get all of the benefits described above, but you have to hustle if you hope to succeed as a freelancer in 2016. This is especially true with the influx of competition expected over the next few years.

Another reason that freelancers work harder than anyone is because they need to hustle to ensure to secure recurring customers and referrals. Companies that outsource creative projects now know this and will continue using freelancers because they know they will get a great return on their investment.

Emotion: Freelancers Must Inject a Human Element Into Every Project

Forbes reports that automation and algorithmic technology will threaten freelancer jobs in the coming months and years, particularly when it comes to content. However, while a machine can create a technically perfect article or other deliverable, it can’t replicate a human.

Freelancers who want to succeed in 2016 will need to demonstrate their ability to understand human emotion. If your work can inspire, move, or engage other people, you’ll prove yourself very valuable to companies looking to outsource creative work. This means that 2016 will require freelancers to tell compelling stories that inspire consumers to act.

Whether you’re designing a logo, writing a product description, coding a website, or providing the narration for a commercial, you must hit strong emotional notes. Prove you’re more valuable than a machine and you’ll succeed as a freelancer in 2016.

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Diversity: Freelancers Will See More Options in the Marketplace

From micro-gigs to year-long projects, freelancers will begin to see great diversity in their project options in 2016. Professionals who value consistency can seek out clients who need work on an ongoing basis. Meanwhile, freelancers who like flexibility can pursue smaller jobs that take less time to complete.

Additionally, some freelancers will set themselves apart by offering multiple services. In other words, the most valuable workers will present themselves as Jacks and Jills of all trades. Just like the neighborhood handyman, he or she will offer full-scale services.

This doesn’t mean clients should expect a drop in quality. To the contrary, clients will become more demanding of freelancers because they expect high-quality deliverables for the prices they pay.

Options: Numerous Marketplaces Offer Freelancers a Place to Find Work

Freelancing, at its core, is a highly dynamic profession. Experts in this industry must adapt based on what their clients and the market itself expects. Those who embrace these fluctuations will see the greatest amount of success in 2016 and beyond.

Other places to find freelance work include:

2016 will see even more options for freelancers who need jobs. These marketplaces will shift and change to meet the market demands.The best freelance market depends on your skills. For instance, a dedicated site like VoiceBunny might prove most expedient for voice over artists looking for work. Conversely, if you specialize in WordPress development, a site like WPHired might offer the best results. Freelancers of all types can seek a wide variety of jobs at sites like Guru, ElanceUpwork, and Bunny Inc.

Know Your Worth: Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Different

One common struggle that freelancers have to deal with is sticking to their guns when it comes to value. Many companies out there want to save money, and that is why they outsource creative work. Hiring a full-time in-house writer or designer can come with a hefty cost to the company. Sporadically outsourcing projects is a great way to cut back on overhead costs.

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Sometimes, though, companies might try and take advantage of freelancers. There is a bill being introduced in New York City to protect freelancers. The bill will require companies hiring freelancers to put all contracts in writing. Companies that take too long to pay or try not to pay at all will be fined and charged with criminal penalties, making it so freelancers are more protected.

The passing of this bill would be a huge step forward for freelancers, giving them the credit and rights they deserve. It will also make the relationship between freelancers and employers stronger, legitimizing a relationship that at times was not taken very seriously. If passed, the chances of legislation like this spreading beyond New York City will increase dramatically.

Succeeding as a Freelancer

Knowing what to expect from the freelance market in 2016 will help you succeed as a freelancer. Adapting to changes, over-delivering on projects, and positioning yourself as an indispensable resource to clients will lift you above the competition and allow you to generate more income.

And the best thing about working as a freelancer in 2016 and beyond?

You can do it from anywhere in the world.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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