INTRO: Freelance Work
A world of non-commitment to one employer, being self-employed and enjoying the time plus freedom freelance work provides. What are freelancers and the work they do? What impact does freelancing have on the Internet? What are the benefits and downside of the independent contractor way of living? We hope to discuss this and so much more, so sit back, relax and leave us a chat at the end about your experience with this field! Sharing is also permitted 😉
Freelancer Word Meaning Throughout History
One of the earliest appearances attributed by Sir Walter Scott a Scottish novelist, playwright & poet, in his novel Ivanhoe(1820). Scott mentioned a mercenary soldier for hire(mercenary) or free-lance! He was indicating that the lance was not available free of charge, nor sworn to anyone lord’s service. Only in modern times has the word freelancer changed into the noun form along with freelance and freelances. Today we think of the meaning to be someone who is self-employed and not associated with any particular company long-term.
Independent contractor would be another term used to describe this group of self-employed freelancing individuals, but before that, the term Independent referred to a politician without any political affiliation. If you break word freelance down, “free” is German origin meaning to love and “Lance” is French meaning to discharge with force or hurl. So put together one could say a freelancer puts a lot of effort into the work they love! Enough with the history of this growing profession that seems only to get bigger and evolve as employers seek more work on a project to project basis.
Freelance Industry Reports and Demographics
The most recent studies have been from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015, say 1 in 3 American workers or about 53 million earn income from some form of non-traditional freelancing job. That’s a big jump from the 2011 study of about 7.5 million freelance workers. Not bad for being about 35% of the workforce and accounting for over $700 billion to our economy! Remember these are just U.S. numbers, so just think about the impact of a World of Freelancing.
Independent contractors make up about 80% writers, 8% consultants and strategists, plus 10% designers, photographers, journalist, videographers, illustrators. The remaining 2% actors, musicians, and other piece work. So what industry are you in or want to get started with, I am sure with the internet and technology new opportunities will open on a daily basis! Women still make up a huge part of the freelance trade 70%, even in male-dominated areas like journalist and editors. Be interesting to see what gender is reading this now – like to participate just comment below, and we will run the stats.
Some Freelancer Fields
Pay for Workers Who Do Freelancing
The income seems to range from $10,000 to over $100,000 with only 5% earning the top honors. This range might have something to do with not all freelancers are doing their skill full-time. Many still use freelancing to supplement the primary job, maybe hoping to one day earn enough to drop the 9 to 5. The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the average income between $48,000-$67,00 rounded up, with writers being towards the top. The downside seems to be competition and the ability of someone else doing the same work for a lower price. Again technology enables the potential to connect with many people and much more price points, but quality usually demands a higher price. Are you an independent worker, if so tell us what type you fall into and guess the one I am?
The downside seems to be competition and the ability of someone else doing the same work for a lower price. Again technology enables the potential to connect with many people and much more price points, but quality usually demands a higher price. Are you an independent worker, if so tell us what type you fall into and guess the one I am?
Five Types of Freelancers:
- Independent Contractors – Do not have a traditional job employer and work from gig to gig – 40%
- Moonlighter – Now this would be my category, I have a traditional full-time profession and freelance online – 27%
- Part-Time Worker – Works 20 hrs 9 to 5, then supplements other 20 hrs doing freelance work – 18%
- Temp. Worker – Someone working on a short-term project, very close to an Independent Contractor – 10%
- Business Owners – Who do freelance work and might hire other freelancers to help out – 5%
Why do People Freelance? Is it all about not Keeping Employer Schedules?
Most of the people online I meet say they are just not the 9 to 5 type. And that is coming from some real go-getters that at times, put in more than the average 40 hour week. One the average the statistics have a freelance worker putting in around 30 or fewer hrs. week. Others seem to point out the flexibility to work anywhere they have an internet connection. If this blog ever takes off, I’m getting out of the cold winters of Michigan and putting my feet in the warm sand somewhere, just saying! ;-0
12 Reasons why more individuals are independent contractors:
60% They started freelance work by choice and not necessity
75% Said they made more after one year than their old 9 to 5
52% Would not go back to a traditional job
45% Time was more important than the money
67% Technology made it easier to find work
70% Found projects with the internet
50% Flexibility and Freedom
77% Like Being the Boss
68% Control of Financial Future
55% Earn Extra Money
61% Work From Any Location
66% Pursue a Passion
Web Impact from the Freelance Industry
By 2020 this industry is said to make up 50% of the workforce in the U.S. alone. Freelancing as a choice has already surpassed necessity in every age group, with the lower 18-34 and higher 55+, seeing the most spreads. With technology getting better and faster this field is poised to dominate all other industries in the not too distant future. As people want more freedom and flexibility, the annual 700 billion for the U.S. economy will hit over 1 trillion, if it hasn’t already. I have seen this first hand with friends, who live in other Countries, making a whole lot more online writing than any other opportunity!
Downside of Being an Independent Contractor
As stated above the competition can be tough, especially with the prime crowdsourcing marketplaces – unless you set yourself apart. I truly believe if you give quality work that offers value, people will always seek you out. The independent contractor issues I have personally encountered have been too much work or not enough, but that comes with the territory. Being on both sides of the coin the concerns are the same for both traditional worker and independent, except for maybe not getting paid, and future income prediction. What worries have you had with freelance work, love to hear your thoughts below!
Top concerns with the project to project work:
- Difficulty Getting Clients
- Not Getting Paid
- Healthcare Costs
- Retirement Savings
- Income Not Predictable
- High Tax
How and Where Do Freelancers Find Work?
While many people use the popular crowdsourcing marketplaces and have great success, others simply use word of mouth from family and professional contacts. A few more options are available, job boards on blogs like I have above, they are current and updated daily. Social media is another option, but may not be the latest information. With the technology out today, smartphone apps are very convenient and easy to use. Referral work can be few and far between, and when it does present itself everybody wanting the work at once right now!
How to find work freelancing recap:
- Industry Contacts
- CrowdSourcing Marketplaces
- Online Job Boards
- Social Media
- Specialized blogs
- Job Agency
- Newspaper Local
Some Legal Things to Consider
Like with all work, there can be some legal details that a freelancer needs to work out, but freelancing brings about a few new ones like intellectual property, payments and work details(contract). Some may have conflicts with current employers while starting out part time. And do not forget taxes and any insurance to over the unexpected mayhem. Lastly keeping your assets protected should be a top concern and if you should form an LLC.
- Intellectual Property
- Payment Details
- Contract Specifics
- Conflicts with Current Employer
- LLC Protection
Freelancer Conclusion: Now and Looking Beyond
It is said by the year 2040, the work market as we know it today will be composed mostly of part-time assignments. A lifetime of work could very well be made up by thousands of short-term projects. Life is always changing and just how everything will pan out can be tough to predict fully. But one thing for sure, the days working for one company and getting rewarded with retirement is over, and the future is being left up to your choices! I hope you liked this article about freelancing and being a freelancer.
Sharing is recommended and appreciated very much as well your thoughts on the topic too!