Getting started in the freelancer or consultant workforce is nothing short of a challenge, but it offers a number of benefits that might have you considering making a leap into the freelance economy. Today 53 million Americans, or 34% of the U.S. workforce, are considered contingent, temporary, diversified, or freelance employees, and that number is expected to reach 40% by the year 2020.
The top five industries for the independent workforce according to a 2014 Accenture study are:
- Financial Services
- Professional Services
- Public Service Agencies
Contently released a very interesting study last month that gives everyone a good look into the hearts and minds of the freelancer. Their survey found that 82 percent of respondents identified as writers, while consultants and content strategists (like me) accounted for close to eight percent. Photographers, designers, videographers, illustrators, and people who identified as hybrids made up the remaining 10 percent proving that all freelancers come in all shapes, job titles and sizes. You can click here to access their full survey.
Benefits of Working as a Freelancer
As far as benefits to being freelance and working for yourself, I was not surprised by these findings. Top benefits of being a freelancer:
- 39 percent prefer the flexible scheduling that freelancing offers.
- 25 percent believed that taking on new and interesting projects was a top benefit.
- Working from home won out 19% of the respondents.
Unfortunately, the survey didn’t focus solely on full time freelancers with 53% of the respondents working part time. There’s nothing wrong with freelancing part time, however, it doesn’t give us a true picture into what working for yourself without the security of a full time job is really like.
For myself, being a freelancer and independent really gets down to exactly what the top 3 benefits are courtesy of Contently. As a mother to a 6 year old, I love that I have the flexibility to be there for soccer games and school programs while also taking on new and exciting projects and programs. In the corporate world, I was constantly bored. That isn’t the case working for myself. I can take on new projects to stretch me and grow my skills as I need. And while I love working from home, it is a blessing and a curse. I love not having a commute but tend to become extremely isolated. I’ve learned to schedule weekly lunches and meetups with friends to get me out of the house, dressed and interacting with people beyond a computer screen.
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