by Brandon Reiter
Forbes recently released an article highlighting many key trends that are signifying, what is becoming known as, The Freelance Revolution. Although, COVID-19 has definitely accelerated the shift to more freelancing opportunities, it was only a matter of time before the global workforce started to head in this direction.
The pandemic did indeed show workers that a lot of jobs can be achieved remotely. There is no longer a blanket necessity for all jobs to require being in person for 5 days every week. As someone who decided to take the freelance route, there were many pros and cons that weighed on my decision to take the leap…
The major con was that it took me several months to build up my credibility and profitability. This meant several months of minimum income, no paid health insurance, and of course, no paid time off. A sick day, meant a day with no sales. Another big deterrent that can weigh on you is the constant need to maintain and build your reputation. When it comes to freelancing, reputation is everything. A single bad review could set you back months.
For me, the pros ended up outweighed the cons. As a CFO for a small business, I was limited to whatever salary and bonus/equity I was offered by my employer. As a full-time employee, it is generally frowned upon to spend time on “side-hustles” as the kids call them, especially if it eats into your workday that your employer is paying you for. As a freelancer, there is virtually no limit on the revenue I could generate by offering my CFO services as both fractional and virtual.
Another benefit of establishing yourself as an independent contractor, is that you decide how to go about completing your jobs and assignments. While your clients may give you deadlines and certain guidelines, it is ultimately up to your discretion on the best methods of how to achieve your client’s requests. Rather than try to find another full-time job, I calculated that it would be in my best interest to take the freelance route by offering my services through my consulting brand, Skyview CFO.
In addition to the cons I mentioned above, there have been certain roadblocks that curtailed the overall drive to freelancing in the past. For one, chasing payments had been cumbersome due to a lack of suitable platforms and payment processors designed for a freelance business model. Freelancers could wind up spending more hours chasing payments than the actual hours they worked to earn them. In addition, there was a general hesitance to hiring remote work by business owners.
The good news for freelancers is that early trends from 2022 suggest that these roadblocks will soon be a thing of the past. As the pros continue to outweigh the cons, a Freelance Revolution has begun and will continue into the foreseeable future.
Mckinsey estimates that there will be roughly 500 MILLION freelancers working on platforms before 2030. Each day, it seems that there are more and more platforms being built to accommodate various freelance business models, making it easier to focus on their strengths, stay organized, and get paid.
According to Forbes, in 2021 venture capital firms invested north of $600 BILLION in freelance startups, more than double what they had in 2020.
In regards to the whole work-life balance thing… Employees are resisting the return to the office. The four day work week and other welcome initiatives companies tried to implement on the heels of the pandemic have not caught on. According to Forbes, Nearly half of US corporate staff say they will leave if their company lacks a hybrid option.
The opportunity is growing tremendously with the availability of more online courses, coaching gigs, and podcasts. These new ways can help freelancers build their income, network and brand.
Educational institutions are catching onto the trend as well. For instance, Conestoga College’s Gig Lab in Canada is putting emphasis on “solopreneurial” skills into its entrepreneurial programs. There are also more “micro-internships” offered that give students real organizational experience.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not here saying that the freelance route is an easy, get-rich quick route to your career goals. In fact, it is anything but. However, if you are unhappy in your current role and think your skills can translate to the freelance world, there is more and more opportunity now and tomorrow than ever before.
ALSO.. if you are a business owner, the rise in freelance talent can make labor more affordable. For instance, if you are a startup in need of financial management, instead of having to hire a full-time CFO for a healthy salary, you can utilize services like Skyview at a fraction of the cost to save you time and money. Perhaps five years ago it could have been nearly impossible to build a virtual CFO practice, but as these trends have shown, the future of freelancing is on the rise.
If you are interested in freelance help or want advise on starting your own freelance career drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.