Why More People Are Choosing Freelance Work
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly contributed to the major shift to freelancing. Many individuals may have turned to freelancing out of necessity, but this global health incident made companies and individuals realize that long-term remote freelance employment is possible and sustainable. According to “Freelance Forward: 2020”, Upwork’s study of the U.S. independent workforce, there was a 2 million increase in Americans who performed freelance work from 2019 to 2020. In the World Bank’s 2019 estimates, Southeast Asia’s freelancer community has seen a consistent 30% annual growth, with around 150 million freelance workers constituting the region’s workforce. The next industrial revolution is here and it's all happening inside our homes.
Freelancing was already a surging industry way before the pandemic. A 2016 study by Paychex discovered that freelancing in the U.S. grew by 500% from 2000 to 2014. Many workers now focus on pursuing meaningful lives so they turn to freelancing to realize that lifestyle, which is commonly promoted by digital nomads and millennials.
The “gig” economy is a diverse environment filled with millions of skilled workers of a wide variety of backgrounds. Both established businesses and startup companies now offer more work opportunities for freelancers from different fields of expertise. The top freelancing industries are computer and IT, creatives, accounting and finance, customer service, medical and health, project management, and writing.
Here are the popular reasons why people take the plunge into freelancing.
Flexible Working Hours
The most attractive benefit is flexible hours. Office-based company employees who work on a fixed schedule often complain about having little time to do other things. When you control your own time, you can manage your schedule better and effectively prioritize your activities. Sleeping until noon, running errands, and going to the gym on a weekday are possible when you have enough time on your hands. You can also choose to work when you are most productive, which does not have to be within regular business hours, or even work on multiple projects at a given time.
It is a reality that we spend most of our lives working to earn money, and this means less time for other things that equally matter. Many companies offer excellent work-life balance but freelancing gives the opportunity to tip the scale towards life. Because freelancers can conveniently adjust their work schedules, they are able to meet the demands of their personal lives.
Flexible work hours allow people to go on desired vacations, take on household chores and home improvements, or simply spend time with loved ones. They can also devote time to improve their health and well-being. The stressful hours that were once spent commuting to work or working overtime can be used by freelancers to recharge, pursue personal interests, or develop other skills to protect themselves from burnout.
Tal Ben-Sharar said, “Happiness, not gold or prestige, is the ultimate currency.” This couldn’t be more true. Salary is no longer end-all-be-all when people look for a job. Everybody now wants freedom and freelancing can break workers free from the shackles of traditional employment.
Aside from flexible hours, remote work is one of the most appealing arrangements freelancing offers. Freelancers can conveniently work anywhere with the help of technology. Laptops, mobile devices, and the internet make it possible for freelancers to work from their couch or on a beach halfway around the world. Intelligent virtual work platforms are now shaping the future of remote work by equipping freelancers with a complete system that allows them to work efficiently anywhere without worrying about data security and technical issues.
Because freelancers can work from anywhere, they don’t have to dress up. No dress code means they no longer have to plan their wardrobe, which is definitely time consuming especially for women. This also means more savings because they no longer have to buy work clothes.
Freelancers also have the freedom to choose their projects and clients, so they never have to worry about doing something that they are not committed to. They get to focus on work they are interested in and work as much or as little depending on their needs. Finding clients is not an issue because there are many online job websites, apps and social media channels that provide access to an increasingly growing freelance network.
A 9-to-5 job provides security and additional compensation, but it does not necessarily mean it pays well. Most freelancers who ditched their full-time job said their take-home pay is much higher now because they get to set their own rates and choose more lucrative projects. When starting, freelancers might not be able to command the rates they want, but they will soon be able to do so as they build their work portfolio and establish their brand.
Another advantage of freelance jobs is that they pay you by the hour, which means you never have to render the dreaded unpaid overtime work. Unlike regular employees, the more freelancers work, the more they get paid. This is the reason why freelancers are eager and willing to spend more time working or accept additional projects.
Most freelancers said they would never go back to a traditional job. However, freelancing is not at all easy, and you may even need to double your effort. It demands a great deal of commitment, patience, and hard work, but the opportunities are vast, and the rewards are all worth it. The way things are going, it looks like the best thing in life is freelancing.