What’s the freelance economy? Where do you fit in?
Our ideas about work have changed dramatically in the past few years, and we take a closer look in our latest infographic, “The Freelance Economy: How Work Has Changed.”
The freelance workforce grows
Freelancers make up 34 percent of the U.S. workforce — that’s 54 million people who earn some of their income from self-employment! These independent contractors come in every shape, size, age and industry.
While many Baby Boomers are consultants, Generation X and Millennials make up the largest groups of full-time freelance entrepreneurs, according to a study by MBO Partners.
Who’s to thank for this increase in freelance work opportunities? Newer technology helps. Almost 70 percent of freelancers feel the internet and social media have expanded their work opportunities, with help from talent marketplaces, mobile apps and co-working spaces.
Independence doesn’t guarantee success
Whether they work in the arts, information technology or consult on something in between, freelancers enjoy scheduling flexibility, independence and a deep passion for their work.
Freelancing doesn’t mean complete freedom is guaranteed, however. Independent workers hustle to find work, ensure a livable income and get paid in a timely fashion. In addition to the challenges of self-employment, freelancers typically face higher taxes, since they’re taxed as both employee and employer.
Optimism awaits freelancers
But despite the challenges, freelancers remain optimistic. Sixty-five percent of freelancers believe their independent working style is more respected now than it was in 2012.
Intuit predicts that contingent workers will exceed 40 percent of the American workforce by 2020. Small businesses are expected to work particularly closely with independent contractors in order to utilize their talent pools as needed while minimizing regular labor costs.
Interested in boosting your freelance success? Get free business advice from a SCORE mentor.