Freelancing in various industries continues to gain in popularity for many reasons. First, it is no longer something people do between jobs. Instead, more people see this type of work’s vast opportunities: The ability to develop profitable and fulfilling self-defined careers.
These workers have the flexibility to set their hours. They choose the type of work that interests them most: working with like-minded clients and maximizing their earnings. As a result, freelancers are more likely to enjoy their work than the general working population, 65% to 55%, respectively.
According to respondents in a FlexJobs survey, freelancing’s intangible perks include a healthy work-life balance, no commute-related stress, and saving time.
The IRS classifies a freelancer as an independent contractor. Their earnings come from short-term work, typically paid per job or per-task. The average hourly pay range for on-demand jobs is between $10 and $250, according to Upwork.
Other freelancing jobs offer higher paychecks: The median salary for a web designer is over $77,000 annually, and SEO specialists average $60,000. Notably, skilled freelancers can become millionaires in the writing, entertainment, and technology industries.
A 2020 Upwork survey revealed that 75% of freelancers earn as much or more than they did working a traditional full-time job.
How Do Freelancers and Clients Connect?
Since freelance workers depend on paying clients, they must learn the art of self-promotion. Ben Weger summarizes this important, sometimes challenging, task: “Network like it’s your job (because it is).”
In other words, freelancers must continually market themselves to grow their businesses.
The good news is that resources and training are available to assist in making marketing more manageable.
Freelancing platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, 99 Designs, Toptal Enterprise, Guru, Demand Media, SimplyHired, Freelancer.com, The Blacklist, Hectic, and Coverfly support the Talent Economy. These client/project management systems manage marketing that brings together customers and talent (freelancers). In addition, they help facilitate the buying and selling of the talent’s expertise.
Marketing experts add the following tips for building an online freelancer business:
- Identify the freelancing specialty offered and ensure it is mentioned in every bio and “about me” content.
- Join an industry-related organization like The Freelancers Union and Writers Guild of America.
- Maintain a consistent profile photo and bio across all social media, professional networking sites, and other platforms. Using the same information and image will make it easier to connect with potential clients.
- Build a website. WordPress, WIX, Hubspot, Squarespace, and Web.com are popular among business owners.
- Create an online portfolio. Sites like Authory automatically add published content.
- Regularly update social media and professional networking sites like LinkedIn with new posts.
- Create an About Me page.
- A constantly updated resume is essential.
- Create and maintain a database of contact information of current and past clients. Also, include meeting notes and project(s) details.
Writing Revolt reports that cold emailing and referrals could result in more clients. Sixty-one percent of freelance writers earning over $3,000 a month said their clientele came from both cold emails and asking for referrals.
Freelance Workforce Expected to See Continued Growth
The freelancing industry has a bright future. DDIY explains: “Freelancing seems to be a huge industry with nowhere to go but up.”
Freelancer.com’s marketing indicates that customers can complete work in over 1,800 categories. In addition, the platform boasts over 50 million professionals.
Statisticians report that there are about 1.1 billion freelancers globally. Furthermore, they project the Talent Economy will reach $455 billion by 2023, and by 2028 the projection indicates there will be 90.1 million freelancers.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
DDIY: 55 Freelance Statistics; by Stefan Schultz
Toptal Enterprise: The New Millionaires: Establishing a Lucrative Freelance Career
Freelancing School: Best Freelance Jobs for Beginners & Experts to Earn Income Online ; by Jay Clouse
ScreenSkills: Freelance Toolkit
The Script Lab: How Screenwriters Can Market Themselves (Without a Billboard); by Ben Weger