I ran across an article on Entrepreneur the other day entitled, The Freelance Economy Is Booming. But Is It Good Business? It detailed how one laid-off worker had literally turned lemons into lemonade. Within a year of being laid off, she was earning $4,000 to $6,000 per month by starting a freelance business; specifically becoming a publicist for authors.
Job Shipped to India
The day before I read this story, a friend of mine announced that her and her whole team had been laid off. Their jobs were shipped to India. She’d had this position for approximately 7 years and earned six figures. Before this, she’d been downsized out of her last position – one she’d held for over 10 years.
Freelancing: 3 Reasons It’s the Job Stability So Many Seek Heading into 2014
I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993 – and in my opinion it’s one of the best career moves I ever made. From what I see, freelancing is the new job stability. Following are three reasons why.
1. Employer Mindset Has Changed: In the aforementioned Entrepreneur article, one employer said the following:
"Freelancing is awesome. It keeps costs down and lets you quickly test out an individual," Trey Smith, who runs San Diego, Calif.-based Kayabit Games, says. "For example, I can hire an artist for an hourly job and cancel the contract if it doesn't work out the first day. Doing this with a full-time, in-house employee is much more difficult."
Employers are moving away from an employee mindset to a freelance mindset. And it’s simple dollars and cents. Why hire a full-time employee and pay them benefits when you can get a contractor to do a gig, then cut them loose when you no longer need them?
It may sound harsh; but again, it’s just dollars and cents. And, the sooner the workforce (ie, professionals) realize this, the better off they’ll be.
2. Technology: Technology has made freelancing so much easier. It’s opened up the world as a marketplace – for employers and independent contractors (eg, freelancers) alike.
I can count the number of clients I’ve actually met in person over the last decade on one hand. Almost all of my SEO writing company’s projects are completed virtually. And most communication is done via email.
3. Updated Skill Set: Freelancing forces you to become nimble – and knowledgeable – as a professional.
You’re constantly learning new stuff, eg, how to write search engine optimized content for the web, how to create and upload videos, how to set up a blog, how to use social media (beyond posting videos of your cat doing something silly); etc.
If you don’t keep your skill set current, you can bet 10,000 other freelancers are, so you stay up on the latest trends, skills and insights in your freelance niche – you have to to remain competitive.
Whose Jobs are Most at Risk the Most in This New “Freelance” Economy
In my opinion, it’s middle managers. Why? Because that’s where most of the “fat” is in corporate America. The CEO – the person making the big bucks – is considered indispensable by many.
The low-wage workers can’t be paid any less according to minimum wage laws. So, who does that leave? The ones making $75,000, $90,000, $100,000 per year for example -- the ones in the middle. And with world markets opening up, a firm can easily find someone someplace else, pay them half or a third of that – and keep corporate shareholders happy.
Again, it’s business – good ole capitalism at work (for better or worse depending on which side of the fence you sit on).
My Advice to Professionals
I’ve been a corporate recruiter and owned an editorial staffing agency in New York years ago. So I’ve seen the laid off, downsized, outsourced job thing happen soooo many times.
So my number one piece of advice to professionals is this – just like the freelancer mentioned in the Entrepreneur article, always have something going on on the side – even if you have a full-time job. We are moving to a freelance economy and it’s just being career smart to proceed like this. Proof?
Freelancing Is the New Career
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one out of every nine workers were self-employed in 2009 … and according to a survey by Intuit, by 2020 more than 40 percent of the workforce will be freelancing. That’s just over 60 million people.
Could one of those 60 million be you?
About the Author: Yuwanda Black heads New Media Words, a company that specializes in providing search engine optimized content to help businesses get found online. She's also the publisher of Inkwell Editorial, a blog devoted to helping other start successful, home-based freelance writing careers. Ms. Black says, “It’s never been easier to make a living online as a freelance writer. Over the years, via my classes, eg, the SEO writing course, I’ve seen countless professionals make the leap to freelancing and never look back.” The course mentioned here teaches everything you need to know about not only how to write SEO copy, but how to earn $50,000 to $75,000 per year – your first year – as a freelance web writer. You can take it online, or in person – in Jamaica!
Keywords used in this article: freelancing, how to freelance, recession-proof job, career, jobs, freelance writing advice