Many businesses are seeking short-term employees, sub-contractors, and freelancers to complete time-specific jobs without the burden of a long-term commitment. So who are freelancers and why do they take this path? And how easily can one join this movement?

In a post-COVID time, professionals and businesses are facing challenges never faced before and are forced to adapt to changes at unprecedented rates. In response to these times, many businesses are seeking short-term employees, sub-contractors, and freelancers to complete time-specific jobs without the burden of a long-term commitment. So who are freelancers and why do they take this path? And how easily can one join this movement?

Who is a Freelancer? A freelancer is an individual who engages in supplemental, temporary projects or contract-based work. Essentially, he/she/they are an independent professional in control of when to work, with whom, and where.

Why Freelance? According to a study by Edelman Intelligence and Upwork, 65% of established freelancers do it by choice and 85% of freelancers say that it is to complement their income during the recession.

Can you be a full-time Freelancer? Yes! There are professionals who freelance full-time, while others choose to freelance on the side while they do regular full-time jobs. On the other hand, others looking into retirement seek freelance work as a way to step down from full-time jobs.

Freelancers are filling a need within the economy, therefore, allowing so many college graduates, high school graduates, and specialists to earn income despite the recession and millions of layoffs. In 2020, freelancers made up 38% of America’s workforce and generated about $1.2 billion, grossing at 5% of the national GDP. Freelancers work in many industries such as graphic design, architecture and engineering, construction and landscaping, computer and mathematics, and finance and business operations.

If you’re considering joining this movement here are a few things to consider:

To Freelance

There are plenty of benefits to freelancing that making it an appealing option of work for many professionals.

Flexibility: an increasing number of individuals entering the workforce are questioning the traditional way of work where you have to get into an office at 9 and leave at 5. While this is necessary for some sectors, a flexible working schedule based on tasks rather than duration is proving more effective in others. Around 89% of freelancers agree that freelancing increased their productivity, regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time freelancers (source).

Extra income: with the rising prices of almost everything, many individuals are seeking ways to supplement their paychecks. Freelancing has become a popular way to do that since it can be done around a full-time or part-time job.

In control of payment amount: Because freelancers answer to almost no one, they are in control of the payment they ask for and the payment scheme they prefer: hourly, weekly, monthly, or by task. They are also in control of the payment method and can decide between several alternatives such as bank deposits or PayPal.

Work from anywhere: With work from home becoming the norm in many countries around the world, individuals are finding it much easier to work from home rather than in an office. Since many freelance jobs are not geographically linked to the client, professionals can take care of children or elderly parents, be more comfortable due to a disability, or simply travel without skipping work.

Not to Freelance

Having flexible time and not having to commute to work is a definite convenience, however it might not always provide the security and benefits that many look for in employment. Despite the many rewards of freelancing, independent professionals often find themselves facing challenges that are sometimes overwhelming.

Management: Freelancing extends beyond the roles of your job since you will most likely have to juggle completing your task, managing correspondence with clients and others, network, and keep tabs on your payments, taxes, and costs. Although this can be one of the biggest challenges a freelancer would have to deal with, there are ways to get around that. Try finding a suitable platform that can allow you to have all the information of a project in one place and synchronize your calendar according to payments. One platform that is inclusive of all you need as a freelancer is Flan. The platform allows you to track tasks, payments, progress, and communicate with your clients all in one place!

Inconsistency: obtaining consistent work from one gig to the next one is especially challenging at the beginning of your freelancing career. This inconsistency will matter less to you if you’re working part-time; however the question of ‘what’s next’ will almost always be hovering about. If you’re thinking of freelancing full-time, it will minimize your risk to consider supplementary revenue channels that aren’t time-consuming. For example, you can take commissions on referrals on Flan (see link here).

No Payment: Many freelancers face this issue with clients who receive the work but do not pay what they are due; this is because many businesses do not take freelancers seriously. Other issues with payment include delayed payments or using incompatible payment methods with clients. You have to make sure that the payment method and installments are agreed upon from the beginning. If you’re using Flan, then simply assign payment milestones related to tasks that automatically withdraw payments from the client as soon as they approve a task done. Such a method will allow you to vet out any dishonest clients from the beginning.

High Costs: Having a traditional job provides you with a number of benefits such as healthcare. In the case of freelancers, they will have to pay for their own healthcare, maintenance, rent, equipment, commute, and more. This means that you will have to always account for your costs when taking on freelancing gigs and know where you stand in terms of a gig’s feasibility.

What To Do

There are definitely many pros and cons to consider before launching your freelance career. But consider the future, what it may bring to the job market post-COVID, and what you hope to achieve.

Freelancing is definitely on the rise and will continue to do so as more people find it more convenient and fulfilling. This is especially the case given supporting online platforms, such as Flan, are connecting a wide variety of freelancers with business owners and employers in a transparent and efficient manner.

Source used: Freelance Forward 2020, A Study Commissioned by Upwork (September 2020)