Currently, 55 million Americans are freelancing, a number that has increased by 2 million since 2014, according to the study ‘Freelancing in America’ (2016). The study also estimated that 63% of them chose to switch to freelancing by choice and not out of necessity.
Randy Duermyer, author of the article ‘What is a Freelancer and what is Freelancing?’ (The Balance, 2016), defines the term ‘Freelancer’ as a person who is self-employed and works for many clients at a time. The term is more commonly associated with journalists, writers or those working in the creative field. However, this notion has changed with time and an increasing number of people are venturing out as freelancers in other industries as well.
Why would they willingly choose to do so? Check out our top 12 reasons why people are flocking to freelancing.
Freelancers have the liberty to specialize in as many skills as they want and then provide them as a service to their clients. Being self-employed, they can work for various clients on projects that are poles apart at the same time. While creating diversity in your skills, you can enjoy diversity in your job!
2. Flexibility & Freedom
For those that find a 9-5 job is restrictive and on the mundane, predictive side, freelancing gives them an opportunity to set their own timings, creating working hours that suit their lifestyle and natural rhythm. You can schedule a meeting for noon if you’re a late riser or you can work until dawn if you’re a night owl, the choice is yours. As long as deadlines are met, then no-one is any the wiser as to your working hours, as long as you communicate and stay in touch.
Moreover, the freedom that comes with freelancing is pretty enviable. No more strict dress codes, fear of getting in late or anxiously waiting for the day to end due to school pick ups, evening commitments.
3. Escape Corporate Culture
Despite the numerous advantages (security, benefits, the company of colleagues, to name a few), corporate culture often comes with office politics and power games. Add to that numerous unnecessary meetings and it’s easy to see why some people stress out in that environment. With freelancing, none of that is your concern!
While freelancers still have some connection with the workforce of their client, they aren’t involved to the point where it would hinder with their productivity or demotivate them.
4. BYOB: Be Your Own Boss
Who doesn’t prefer making their own decisions and living life at their own pace?
As a freelancer you can decide on your vacation days, give your clients deadlines that suit your schedule, ask for a salary that you think is optimal, work hours around other life commitments and so much more! The list is endless.
5. Choose Your Client
Unlike in a traditional job, freelancers have the luxury to select the clients they work for or with, as long as they have enough business in the bag. They also have the autonomy to get to know their client as much as they wish prior to building a relationship, rather than following the standard company approach. After all, a healthy business relationship is vital to profitability, and different styles suit different people, so they can work to their strengths.
6. Longer Hours = More Rewards
Depending upon the work and skill, a freelancer can charge their clients on an hourly basis for their services, thus every extra hour input directly results in better pay. Comparatively, a desk or office job usually comes with a fixed salary with little or no ‘wiggle’ room, or ability to up weight income in needy months.
Also, freelancers who don’t necessarily charge on an hourly basis still have the advantage of earning more as they can work with different clients simultaneously and ensure that their hours are well spent.
7. Job Security
Does the idea of having any sort of job security when you’re self-employed sound odd to you? While there are quite a few risks associated with freelancing, such as no perks or paid leaves, the concept still offers people the chance to be the masters of their own destiny. In most regular jobs, an employee is continuously risking the possibility of being made redundant, their role and responsibilities changing, new team members coming in to affect their own role etc. When freelancing, you aren’t working under a sword looming over your head regarding the possibility of losing your job, especially in recent, financially unreliable times.
8. Niche Skill = Mass Demand
For people that are specialists of a skill that is rare or highly valued, their demand in the labor market is bound to be reasonably high. And going freelance will give you the chance to tap into several industries and establish a renowned name in the market while your competitors compete in silos of expertise.
A good example of this is freelance language teachers. With a TEFL or TESOL qualification that allows freelancers to teach language skills to non-native speakers, this can supplement a current career, provide a change in career, or allow you to travel the world and pay your way as you go.
9. Confidence and Character Building
Every business requires a marketing strategy, administration support, operations management and much more to work towards the same goal in order to be truly successful. Similarly, a freelancer needs to do the same, albeit on their own. By undertaking this responsibility and communicating with people in various situations, wearing different hats, freelancers gain huge amounts of confidence and shape their character as well as their personality. In turn, this makes you a very attractive proposition for startups and SMEs, who require similar multi-functional resourcefulness and a broader skill set.
10. Idle or Free Time Converted to Money
Freelancing can be a part-time endeavor as well! A regular job does offer days off that can be spent freelancing and earning that extra buck while converting your hobbies into profitable businesses, as long as you are open and transparent about this with your employer. Freelancing should not equal moonlighting, to avoid problems of trust and job security further down the line.
11. Working from Home
Eat, sleep or take breaks as and when you please: probably the biggest pro of freelancing. Also, no more commuting! As long as you are disciplined and can stick to your plan for the day, rather than getting sucked into daytime T.V., then hakuna matata springs to mind.
12. Your Own Work Process
From a job perspective, freelancing enables you to work the way you want and that suits you. You can choose the process and style of work, negotiate with your client for best results and be genuinely satisfied from the outcome.
Don’t get us wrong, freelancing is not for the faint hearted, as you need to create your own structure, order and discipline, and often go and get your business too. However, as workplaces themselves become less structured and certainly less predictable, then moving to freelancing is no longer the jump it used to be.