Freelancing is the fastest growing employment segment world over. A freelancer is someone who works contractually for different firms on specific projects simultaneously. Global statistics aren’t available but in the US the number of freelancers hit 55 million in mid-2016 and continues to rise at a rate of 2 million per year. They make up to 35% of the American workforce and collectively earned $1 trillion in 2015.
How to Succeed in Freelancing
Master Your Craft – A freelancer has to be one who has built his or her prowess in a particular craft or crafts. You have to hone your specific sellable skills to perfection. The competition among freelancers is very stiff and you have to be exceptionally good to be able to come out at the top. Whether you are writing simple book reports or a serious study, every job needs to be approached professionally.
Learn Sales – When you are a freelancer you get to be the HR, quality assurance manager, product developer and most importantly the salesperson. You have to find a way to market your skills to the world and build a clientele. After all, the essence of business is to create customers.
Craft A Plan – To be successful in freelancing you need a plan. The plan should include your product milestones, skills you need to learn, how you will carry out your go-to-market strategy, and use of any other tool to ensure that you are hitting your milestones and succeeding.
The Implications of Freelancing
Trends in Labour – One of the biggest impacts that freelancing has had is in the classification, use, and remuneration of labor. Lots of companies are now willing to bring in freelancers as third party players and contractors on short terms basis. This has also seen retirees stay longer in the job market as freelance consultants.
The rise of Creative Economy – The freelance economy has made it easy for people who are locked out of the corporate sector to build their own brand and develop products outside the traditional assembly lines. This has seen the rise of new products, services, and platforms that wouldn’t have been otherwise possible.
Outsourcing of Projects – A whole lot more companies are willing to outsource most of their short-term projects to freelance workers. This is quite attractive to firms given that freelancers tend to cost a little lower than the cost of hiring and keeping an employee on a full-time basis.
The rise of Online Schooling – The rise of freelancing has seen the rise of online platforms such as Udemy, Cousera et al which offer online tutorials. These schools mainly cater to freelancers who want to expand their range of skills. The schools charge between $15-250 dollars depending on the length, nature, and intensity of the course.
Pros of Freelancing
Choose your work – Being a freelancer means you get to choose what you do and what you don’t. You determine the scope of your responsibilities based on your skill-sets, interest, and passions. You also get to choose which skills to deploy, ie. essay and research paper writing, and how often you work in a month.
Choose Your Pay – As a freelancer, you get to determine how you price your skills. While you have this freedom you still have to be careful since you can overprice your skills out of the market. Most firms pay freelancers at a premium since they don’t have to cater for other items like medical insurance.
Choose Your Work Hours – Depending on your industry and the projects that you handle you can either work 20hrs/40hrs or even 100hrs. Either way, it is upon you to deliver the projects or assignments based on the stipulated timelines. You have lots of freedom within that time period.
Cons of Freelancing
Getting Work – There are hundreds of millions of freelancers worldwide some of whom are willing to be paid peanuts. This makes it rather difficult for anyone to get a steady flow of work. It takes a lot of time, effort, and personal branding to be able to build a considerable pool of repeat clients.
Managing Cash Flows – As a freelancer, it is up to you to determine how you spend, earn, save, and invest. The level of personal financial planning and proficiency required of freelancers is rather high. Freelancing also tends to be seasonal so you have to save enough cash to see you through such periods.
Managing Your Time – As a freelancer, how you use your time is up to you. This means you will need to be very disciplined, prudent and shrewd in how you allocate your time. Lots of freelancers fail in this.
As technology renders more people jobless and managers feel the need to cut workforce the freelance economy will continue to grow. Its impact will no longer be ignored and countries may be forced to make laws in how freelance economy conducts its operations.