“Freelancing is the new normal – and we have the numbers to prove it,” – Sara Horowitz, Founder and Executive Director of Freelancers Union and Fabio Rosati, CEO Elance-oDesk.
Today’s connected era liberates our workforce. There are more avenues available to find work, to make contacts and to connect with others; thanks to technology and its ability to network through social media. In a recent article in the Harvard Business, Justin Fox breaks down the freelance economy.
53 million Americans are doing freelance work, a new study conducted by the research firm Edelman Berland found in July for the Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk. That’s 34 percent of the U.S. workforce. Who are freelancers? The study defined “freelancers” as individuals who engage in supplemental, temporary, or project work.
So, if you don’t land a traditional job, don’t worry, the report shows that you have many options. It’s the freelance economy that will accelerate job success. That economy represents 21.1 million independent contractors, 14.3 million moonlighters, 9.3 million diversified workers, 5.5 million temporary employment, and 2.8 million freelance business owners.
But it’s not enough to simply hang a shingle; the freelancer must embrace four quantifying influences in order to be successful. Your success and the demand for your services will increase if you hold hard-to-find skills.
If you pay attention to the following 4 points, your freelancing career is sure to take off soon.
1. Know The Influences that Enhance Freelancing
People who received tech education, college, and post-grad degrees see greater demand than freelancers with only high school or some college experience. The more experience under one’s belt, the greater the demand:
- 20+ years yields 28% demand
- 10-20 years yields 26% demand
- 5-10 years yields 19% demand
- 3 to 4 years yields 14% demand
Freelancers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields see greater demand than other industries:
- Computing, computing peripherals or other IT manufacturer – 41% demand
- Data science and analytics – 37% demand
- Mobile and web programming – 35% demand
- Technology – 23% demand
- Other – 19% demand
2. Know What The 5 Types of Self-Employment Are
You should also be aware of the following 5 types of seplf-employment
The most common are not employed at all but instead do freelance, temporary, or supplemental work on a project-to-project basis.
They are professionals holding a primary job and do work on the side; at night and weekends. The most common example is a corporate-employed web developer who also does projects for non-profits on weekends.
This segment has multiple sources of income from a mix of traditional employers and freelance work. It could be someone working the front desk at an office 30 hours a week and fills out the rest of her schedule driving for Uber.
Individuals in this group have a single employer, client, job, or contract project where employment is temporary. An example could be a business strategy consultant working for one startup client on a contract basis for a month-long project.
Freelance Business Owners
They are business owners with a small number of “freelanced” employees. For example, a social marketing guru who hires a team of other social marketers to build a small agency, but still identifies as a freelancer.
3. Know The Most Common Entry Points for Self-Employment
With the rise of “work diversity,” the “freelance” workforce has several entry points to choose. The two most common reasons for going freelance are “to earn extra money” (68%) and to “have flexibility in a schedule” (42%).
While money is a primary driver for freelancers, more than half (53%) began by choice, not necessity.
4. Know How To Overcome The Barriers to Freelancing
The two biggest challenges and barriers to being a part-time freelancer and moonlighter are a lack of stable income (50% agreed that it was a barrier) and a hard time finding work (47%).
I have compiled a short list of the best places to find work online. Using these websites, you’ll find freelance jobs for application developers, software engineers, testers, network administrators, web designers, graphic designers, copywriters, market researchers, SEO experts, data analysts, social media marketers, translators, customer service agents, moderators, administrative assistants, registered nurses, professional health care takers, accountants, lawyers and business consultants.
Freelancing offers workers the needed experience and flexibility, and more people are creating their own career paths. As a freelancer, you’re the commander of your career and life, which is an attractive outlook for talented workers.
Featured photo credit: 53 million Americans are freelancing, new survey finds via freelancersunion.org