In the world workforce, the number of freelancers is steadily rising. According to market data, they constitute 35 percent of the global workforce numbering 3.5 billion.
In simple terms, it means, one-third of the global workforce is now self-employed contractors. It is an indication that freelancing has come off age as a strong career option.
The rise of freelancing is also associated with the growth of Outsourcing spearheaded by big and medium-sized companies. Studies say not only 60 percent of freelancers say they are making more money than their previous jobs but also enjoying the career path with more peace and work satisfaction.
In the US, freelancers contribute 5 percent of total GDP. One-third of US freelancers are reportedly making more than $75,000 a year.
However, 77 percent of freelancers carry an unpleasant feeling that their finances have dipped after ditching day jobs for freelance work.
There are many freelance work platforms where independent workers can register and access projects. They include the following.
All platforms have different rules. For example, Upwork takes 20 percent of freelancer payment as its cut. Similar policies exist in Fiverr, Freelancer, and Guru although the volume of commission can vary.
One reason why freelance websites make freelancers uncomfortable is they cannot contact customers outside platforms.
Challenges are not deterring new freelancers from joining the job market. For millions of freelancers, the success story of James Knight has been inspiring. The 27-year-old took an unusual risk by quitting his plush, high-paying software developer job in Google and decided to go freelance.
Today Knight is earning double the amount of what he earned at Google at an amazing rate of US$1,000 an hour.
In an interview, Knight justified taking to freelancing ditching the huge perks in the Manhattan office of Google. He said he wanted to take control over his destiny and never worried about forgoing the comforts of nap pods and 5-star food.
In a freelance job, a person works for himself than serving any company. Freelancers are self-employed. It is a great career option for many who want less strife in life and more freedom and want to manage their money and income.
Like in any field freelancing is also strewn with drawbacks despite the cheer of working at own pace and avoiding hassles like job transfer and relocation troubles.
According to studies, top in-demand areas of freelancing include the following.
There are many exclusive benefits of choosing freelancing as a career option compared to traditional jobs.
No stagnation: Staying unstuck in work for a long time is the major plus; it helps to work with different clients and there is enough freedom of choice to stay away from stressful working conditions. There is also freedom in choosing when to work without any scope for office politics. Also, time is saved from commuting and no compulsion of formal dress code exists. In a freelance career, lots of options are always open.
Flexible life: Another popular benefit of choosing a freelance career option is the flexible lifestyle it offers. A freelancer can work from anywhere. A functional laptop and an agile Internet connection are enough to thrive. Freelancing also gives more time to be with family and pay better attention to family needs. This is one of the beautiful benefits of freelancing.
Control over money: One of the biggest benefits of a freelancer career is taking complete control over income and earning. Freelancing being an online business there are no constraints on monthly income unlike fixed salaries in traditional jobs.
Diversity: Unlike a traditional job, freelancing offers better control over time and energy. This yields flexibility and diversity with chances to grow, maintain good health and direct the career in whichever way a person wants.
Freelancing also expands contacts via networking. The indirect publicity and references by satisfied clients is another bonus.
The freelancer also needs to do some self-marketing. Apart from sharpening skills and executing work branding and smart negotiation skills have to be improved.
The disadvantages of becoming a freelancer are also so many.
Lonely work: Freelancing is a lonely pursuit. For an extrovert who loves socializing and wants to enjoy time with friends, working in a group, a life without commuting and chilling out will be boring. He will not like a life that is limited to the desktop and the coffee mug.
The flow of work: Sometimes there will be lots of clients and projects to work on. There will be lean times too when projects are nil. But you have to pay your bills on time. This is one of the biggest struggles of freelancers.
Also a freelancer when working on a client’s project he is more like an employee until he has completed the task and paid off. The worst part of freelancing is it is short term and temporary. There may be a lot of criticism about work as well and all clients will not be satisfied. Bad deadlines, disputes and arguments will stay as part of the life of the freelancer.
In freelance, beating the competition means working hard with perfection to finish tasks, impress clients, stay retained and add new clients.
If it is a solo operation pressure of time to balance the quality and deadlines of clients will be a challenge. That means taking up too many clients and struggling to service them can be backbreaking.
A freelancer is completely responsible for paying his taxes to the government and has to fend for himself in health and medical insurance. No one will pay when he falls sick or want to go on a vacation. This means freelancer has to takes absolute responsibility of his career and life.
Despite many challenges, freelance gigs will never dry up as companies never cease hiring freelancers over permanent staff. They save costs and escape the headache of creating space and maintaining equipment when freelancers are hired.