Freelancing is often the first step towards leaving the 9-5 existence and starting your own business. Is it easier said than done? Here are some encouraging stats for aspiring freelancers in the form of an infographic.
How often do you ponder leaving the (perceived) security of your full-time employment in order to start a less predictable but potentially more lucrative career as a freelancer? Several times a week, most likely. The allure of working in your pajamas and spending more time at home is hard to resist. So what’s stopping you?
Perhaps your gut feeling is telling you that it sounds too good to be true. But these encouraging statistics say otherwise.
Earning a Living as a Freelancer is Easier than Ever
According to several surveys and studies, freelancers are able to earn more, work less, all the while being more excited about their work than their peers holding full-time positions.
For example, a survey from Upwork, one of the most popular freelance marketplaces, tells us that 79% of freelancers feel better about their work. And by better, they mean that they feel more respected, engaged, empowered and excited to start each day.
The abundance of marketplaces for freelancers from all domains, such as Upwork, Freelancer.com, Fiverr, Toptal, 99Designs and Wegrowth, mean that it has never been easier to earn a living as a freelancer.
So much so that up to two million people in the USA crossed the gap from being employed to freelancing between 2014-2016. The majority of them were able to increase their income within a year from leaving their full-time positions.
Rise in Demand for Software and Marketing-related Gigs
That said, certain skill-sets seem to be better suited for a Freelancing life than others.
IT, Programming and Web Development have seen a particularly steep rise in demand — 100-200% in last few years, according to Elance, another popular freelance marketplace. But demand for writers, translators, digital marketers and social media experts also seems to be on the rise, as well jobs involving design and multimedia.
On the other hand, the market for finance, management, and legal experts seem to be stagnating.
Glassdoor offers a breakdown of freelance incomes by type of work:
- Digital Marketers can expect to make around $3K per month,
- Copywriters can expect between $1-3K.
- Graphic Designers, generally speaking, can cash in anywhere from $2-6K per month,
- while Web Developers are on average paid around $6K per month.
Freelancers have more Freedom… and more “Skin in the Game”
Another perk is that once you go freelance, you make up your own definition of “full-time” work. On average, freelancers work 36 hours per week, instead of the standard 40.
Freelancers are also in a position to call the shots on what they want to work on exactly. According to the same report from Upwork, 51% of them are able to find projects they are looking for in less than 3 days.
So, increased income, better work-life balance, and more satisfying work. “Where do I sign up?” you might ask.
The most reasonable option is to test the waters by moonlighting (in fact 35% of the US workforce, a total of 55 million people, said they freelanced on the side in 2016).
The exact fee you can command varies wildly and depends on your skill level — both hard skills within your domain and soft skills, that is, your ability to sell yourself.
Because apart from being able to work in one’s pajamas, perhaps the biggest distinction between freelancing and being someone’s employee is that as a freelancer you have “skin in the game”. There’s no corporate hierarchy or name to hide behind. You and your work stand alone before your client.
Perhaps this is the reason why freelancers are much more likely to participate in skill-related education and training. And they report that they are interested in it because they want to strengthen their skills instead of it being a job requirement.
The Knowledge-sharing Economy — Excellent Opportunity for Aspiring Freelancers
This creates a knowledge sharing economy that grows exponentially because of a cascading effect. As more and more people want to freelance, they are looking to upgrade their skills. This creates demand for consultants and educators. Who’s there to answer the call? More freelancers.
Knowledge-sharing is an excellent opportunity for people trying to test freelancing waters. Those who need to polish up their skills can start from Lynda, Udemy, Coursera and many more niche-specific courseware platforms. For maximum impact, however, 1-on-1 consultation and tutoring sessions might be an option. In that space, Zeqr is an interesting new platform where tutors across industries are open to sharing their expertise.
For those who are already confident in their expertise, consulting and tutoring is a great way to create an additional source of income while still handling their full-time commitment.
If it goes well, you can go full freelance. Half the people who did say that there’s no amount of money that would make them go back to being a full-time employee. Tasting that lifestyle is the first step towards entrepreneurship.