In 2016, there were more than 50 million people doing freelance work in the United States alone. About 70% of them said that technology had made it easier for them to find work opportunities. Moreover, about 80% of the permanent workforce said they would consider doing extra work on the side to make more money.
Freelance workers do not have a long-term contract like regular employees. They work on short-term projects that they realize for their clients. They also need to register their profession according to their area of expertise. The majority of present-day freelancers evolved in the digital sector: web developers, web designers, mobile app developers, web marketers, etc. We also find them in other sectors, such as journalism and the media, consultancy and education.
Expertise and flexibility: the new standard
New technologies have brought new and complex jobs into existence. Companies are constantly improving the way they work and new, complex skills are in demand for time-sensitive projects. This explains the remarkable increase in short-term employment observed in recent years. Businesses are now migrating towards more flexible work collaboration models, such as homeworking, thus facilitating the expansion of the freelance economy.
Freelancers like their independence
The biggest advantage that freelancers have is the ability to be masters of their own schedule. The downside is revenue uncertainty and fluctuations. The importance of a work-life balance is becoming a priority for many people, especially millennials, and the definition of a successful career is changing. The new generation tends to be more entrepreneurial and they want to work and be their own boss.
Even if offered a compelling full-time contract, becoming a freelancer is, above all, a life decision; only a small percentage of established freelancers want to go back into a full-time position. Fully managing their own career is becoming an important factor for many people, and it is a must for freelancers.
In addition, freelancers like to be able to work on diverse projects, where they can pick up new skills with each mission. The most successful freelancers are very selective in choosing the projects on which they want to work. Some of them choose the quality of a project over money.