The freelance economy is on a rising trend and is transforming the way people think about employment. There are approximately 55 million freelancers in the United States. This number is estimated to be 35% of the total workforce making it the largest employment revolution in over a century. The contribution of freelancing to the United States economy every year is estimated to be above $700 billion.
Trends in the Freelance Economy
The key role in this new way of conducting business is being played by technology. Close to 80% of all freelancers admit that technology has made it easier for them to acquire jobs in their fields. A splendid example is Scripted which hires freelancers in the form of writers and editors for the purposes of producing business and media outlet content. In this scenario, clients and writers meet on an internet-based platform and each participant works from their own location. In addition to Scripted there are many other websites which make it possible for independent clients and independent specialists to meet via the internet. Such sites include Odesk, iWriter, Angie’s List and TaskRabbit.
To be more specific, app development which is a branch of technology has catalyzed the growth of freelancer economy. This era is highly mobile, therefore having mobile applications in place enables users to access online jobs, manage them and work from anywhere. A good example of a company that has thrived thanks to the power of mobile apps and reliable internet connectivity is the Uber, which matches the passengers and independent drivers via mobile technology. Social media companies have also promoted the growth of freelancing in every corner of the world.
The fact that freelancers offer their services at highly competitive rates is another thing that has spurred the growth of the freelance economy. Moreover, it is a well-established fact that even moderately successful freelancers make more money that their salaried counterparts. In other words, freelancing not only makes more financial sense for businesses looking for the cheapest way to get the job done but for freelancers as well. Better rates are attributed to the reduced overhead costs which include employee benefits, office space, and cost of travel. The success of freelancers lies majorly on their networking skills. It is through referrals that a good number of jobs are found by relevant workers, just like in many traditional businesses.
Recommendations on how to improve this economy
Although many workers move to freelancing as a means to make more money, a majority end up making even lesser annually than they initially expected. The time dedicated by freelancers to their work is also a challenge. Many still hold on to their day jobs even as they pursue freelancing. As a result they end up putting unnecessary strain on their social lives. Lastly, a lot of freelancers face issues when it comes to collecting the amount of money due to them. To fix this problem, freelance websites need to become more sophisticated and make efforts to ensure that there is no online fraud. This will significantly cut the rate at which freelancers are fleeced off of their hard earnings by unappreciative clients.
What lies in the future?
There is much to expect in the freelancer economy as it is still growing. As the awareness of freelance lifestyle increases, many people will keep on pursuing this area. It is estimated that the total number of freelancers will grow to at least 50% by 2020. There is also an expectation of a shift in the types of businesses involved. Currently, freelancers are committed to working for small businesses. However, this is expected to change. With these and much more, it is hoped that freelancing is going to change not only how we do business but also how we view employment at large.