There are millions of freelancers around the world
And these numbers continue to grow
In the EU, there were 32.6 million self-employed individuals in 2018, making up 14% of total employment in the region. There were five million self-employed individuals in the UK in 2018 – up from 3.3 million in 2001. And in 2019, there were over 56 million freelancers in the US, whose income made up $1 trillion — nearly 5% of the country’s GDP.
That’s a significant portion of the economy and workforce that can’t be overlooked. These global numbers are on the rise, as people become drawn to the flexible lifestyle freelancing offers, as well as the opportunity to become skilled experts by focussing their energy on a handful of skills.
Plus, freelancers are well positioned to adapt to changing situations, are available on short notice, and can generally work in both remote and in-person setups. Thanks to the exponential development of technology, maintaining effective communication with people no matter where they are is easier than ever. Tools such as Slack for instant messaging, and Zoom for video calls make it easier than ever to stay in contact no matter where you work from.
As companies in 2020 face a period of uncertainty and the need to innovate, there’s a likelihood they’ll put more resources towards freelancers and contractors rather than investing in hiring full-time employees.
Freelancers are great for businesses
As a business owner, working with freelancers is a fantastic way to bring in expert talent on an as-needed basis. This article in Entrepreneur even goes as far as to say freelancers can make or break businesses.
Though we can’t comment on that directly (but might have strong opinions on it if asked privately) we can say that working with freelancers allows business owners to become modular and agile, pulling together expert teams for projects and business goals, using a combination of in-house and external talent.
Chances are you’ll get higher quality work when you need it, and no overhead when you don’t.
Sounds like a pretty good setup if you ask us.
Freelancing is also great for people
Freelancing is a great option for anyone looking to do fulfilling work for a number of companies, someone who enjoys working hours that sometimes aren’t the typical 9-to-5, and who doesn’t mind the little bit of uncertainty that comes along with being your own boss.
You have the freedom to choose your own hours, and can go to that fitness class at 2pm on a Tuesday, or drop your kids off at school without worrying if anyone will be wondering where you are. This flexible working setup also means it’s easy to plan work around life events, and is easily adaptable to those who love working until three in the morning (calling all night owls).
Plus, if money is your main driver, freelancing can be a lucrative way to make more than a modest living after a few years. If your skills are in high demand, and you’ve built up a solid client base that continually brings in more work, you’ll be on your way to having it all.
In the beginning, it can take some effort to set up, as you’ll have to wear many hats at once. Chances are you’ll be doing a little bit of marketing, sales, and bookkeeping, while also delivering fantastic quality work within the agreed deadlines — it can be tough to balance and stay sane (nevermind throwing in some much needed recharge time).
But it’s a truly rewarding experience for anyone who’s up for the challenge.
Possibly the best thing about being a freelancer is that there’s no wrong way to do anything — there’s just your way of doing things.
- The number of freelancers is increasing globally
- Becoming a freelancer allows you to find your own work-life balance
- The exponential rate of technological change makes it easier to work with freelancers
- It can be a financially lucrative career
- Business owners get access to top talent when they need it
Am I ready to jump into freelancing?
Complete this checklist first:
- Can I easily explain what I do in a couple sentences?
- Am I sure there is demand in the market for my skills?
- Have I identified my first few clients?
- Do I know how much I want to earn in the next year?
- Will I go freelance full- or part-time?
The rest of the whitepaper will provide processes to help you answer some of these questions.