With many talented contributors to the US economy having been displaced through layoffs or furloughs, is the freelance economy getting a wave of new talent? Unemployment has reached over 30 million Americans and job seekers now have the choice to search for jobs at companies hiring in a down economy or consider freelancing with their skillset.
Freelance skills are great to help build a resume and to have as a backup career. Having freelance skills that compliment your career will also help make your resume more appealing to potential employers. There are freelance skills that go along with almost every type of business. Common freelance skills that are commonly needed by clients include:
- Graphic design
- Website design
- Blog writing
- Social media
- Resume writing
- User testing
- Customer service
- Personal assistants
- Career coaching
- Website development
Being a freelancer comes with its benefits; the main benefit being having control over your own workload. Freelancing has become more and more popular every year. In fact, 35% of Americans freelanced in 2019; this number was up 7% since 2013. The top advantages of freelancing consist of having flexible hours, having workload control, being your own boss, getting national exposure, having control over income, having good work-life balance, and gaining new connections to lead you to new opportunities.
People have enjoyed the benefits of freelancing so much that the number of full time freelancers in the United States is up 17% from 2014. Today, about 28% of American full-time workers are freelancers.
Risk Vs. Reward
The question really lies in which is riskier… relying on a paycheck that could disappear due to unforeseen global events or trying your hand in the more entrepreneurial gig economy. Gig workers can build lucrative careers but usually this takes investment of time, networking and effective results for clients. Getting a check from an employer is more steady and appears safer while becoming a freelancer is a path of less certainty. But is a steady paycheck as “safe” anymore as it once seemed?
Freelancing During a Pandemic
Being a freelancer is a great career to have or a great career to fall back on when you become unemployed or need extra cash. Freelancers have found that since they have multiple sources of income they find themselves more economically stable. 65% of freelancers believe that having a diversified portfolio of income is more secure than having income come from one employer. Being a freelancer during a time of a pandemic is a great option because the demand for your talent most likely has increased. Here are some great tips for being a successful freelancer during a pandemic:
More Insights and Freelance Economy Data
- 86 percent of professional freelancers choose freelancing. – The 2016 Field Nation Freelancer Study
- 35 percent of the U.S. workforce — 55 million people — freelanced in 2016. – Freelancing In America, 2016, UpWork/Freelancers Union
- Update: 36 percent/57.3 million according to the 2017 survey
- 15.8 percent of workers are engaged in alternative work arrangements — defined as temp agency workers, on-call workers, contract workers, independent contractors or freelancers. – The Rise and Nature of Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States, 1995-2015 by Lawrence Katz and Alan Krueger
- 19.8 percent of full-time independents earn more than $100,000. – MBO Partners State of Independence In America 2017
- Update: 20.9 percent according the the 2018 survey.
- By 2027, more than half of American workers — 58 percent — will have had some experience as independent contractors. – MBO Partners Looking Forward: What Will the Independent Workforce Look Like In 2027?
- Not only are executives looking to hire experienced contractors. 63 percent of full-time executives would switch to become a contractor, given the opportunity. – The White-Collar Gig Economy: Four On-Demand Workforce Trends According to Today’s Business Leaders, Mavenlink
- 20 percent of organizations globally with more than 1,000 employees have a workforce that is made up of 30 percent or more contingent workers. – Global Contingent Workforce Study, EY
- 7.6 million Americans will be working in the on-demand economy regularly by 2020. – Intuit Investor Forecast
- 26 percent of U.S. employees say they are somewhat likely or likely to become a freelancer or independent contractor. – Happy in the Home Office, Freelancers Embrace the Gig Economy, ReportLinker
- Only 30 percent of U.S. employees describe themselves as engaged at work. – State of the American Workforce Report, Gallup
- One-third of professionals globally say that work-life balance is becoming more difficult. Excessive overtime and a lack of flexibility are among the top reasons people leave jobs. 24 percent say they would take a 10 percent pay cut to be able to telecommute. – Work-life Challenges Across the Generations, EY
- 81 percent of working parents say work-life balance is more important than pay when looking for a new job. 70 percent have thought about leaving a job because it doesn’t offer flexibility. – Working Parents in 2017: What They Want at Work, Flexjobs
- 51 percent of U.S. workers are searching for a new job or watching for openings. – American Workplace Changing at a Dizzying Pace, Gallup
- 32 percent of workers have changed jobs in the last two years. – NPR/Marist “Picture of Work” poll
- 50 percent of U.S. jobs are compatible with remote work arrangements, and 80 percent of the workforce says they would like to work remotely at least part time. Yet only 7 percent of employers make flexible work available to most employees. – GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com
- 74 percent of North American office workers say they would quit their jobs for another that allows them to work remotely more often. – Collaboration Unleashed, Softchoice
- 94 percent of workers are open to non-traditional forms of work. – Gig Responsibly: The Rise of NextGen Work, Manpower Group
- Among millennials, 69 percent wish they had chosen a job with better work/life balance, and 44 percent wish they had chosen a job they enjoyed more. – 2018 Better Money Habits Millennial Report, Bank of America
- 44 percent of business leaders say the top socio-economic driver of changes in industry is the “changing nature of work, flexible work.” – The Future of Jobs Report, World Economic Forum
- 20 to 30 percent of the working-age population in the United States and the European Union engage in independent work. – Independent work: Choice, Necessity, and the Gig Economy, McKinsey Global Institute, 2016
- The average freelancer reaches their financial goal in 23 months. – State of the Freelance Nation 2018 Survey, WiseBrand
- 61 percent of Gen Z professionals in APAC countries agree that job seekers are seeking flexible and contract-based roles. – 2018 APAC Workforce Insights – Gig Economy: How Free Agents Are Redefining Work, PERSOLKELLY
- There is a 12 percentage point gap between men and women in traditional full-time jobs but a five-point difference between men and women working in the gig economy. – 2018 Financial Attitudes & Behaviors Toward the Gig Economy, T. Rowe Price