It’s no doubt that freelancing has drastically grown in popularity over the last few years, especially since so many companies have moved to working remotely.
If you haven’t started freelancing yet and wondering if it is still a viable option, then keep reading (and don’t forget to share your comments at the end).
While many years ago people either held a full time job OR freelanced, there is a good portion of the American workforce, as well as internationally, that are currently doing both.
Freelancing has become a way for people to earn extra money or just do something on the side that they are passionate about and want to have fun with.
While freelancing was popular among the younger workforce, it has quickly grown in popularity among workers of all age groups and abilities.
But why would someone be interested in freelancing if they already spend 40 hours at a J.O.B. or don’t need the extra money?
There are many reasons why people choose to freelance either as a side gig or full time.
From the graphic you can see in 2019 freelancing was a highly popular option and it continues to thrive even today!
Freelancing offers greater flexibility than a normal working arrangement.
While money is certainly important to people, having the time to be able to pursue their passions or spend more time with their family can be more valuable to them than how much is in their bank account.
This was a big thing for me since I was home with twins and didn’t want to leave them!
2. Extra Income Potential
At the same time, having a full time job and freelancing on the side gives workers the opportunity to pad their bank accounts.
Maybe they need to catch up on bills, save up for a vacation, start a college savings for their kids, or save for their own retirement.
Freelancing also allows people to set their own rates.
Unlike a job where you are capped at what you are able to make, when you freelance, your only limit on how much you make is how much your clients are willing to pay.
Being a freelancer also opens workers up to greater opportunities that they might not have had in their day to day job.
Perhaps someone is passionate about being an artist and wants to become a food artist but has no experience.
Rather than applying for artist jobs or trying to open their own art studio, they can start by freelancing to build up their portfolio.
This is a great way to transition from a full time job working for someone else to working for yourself on your own terms.
4. Benefits for Companies
Freelancing not only benefits the individual, it also has enormous benefits for companies as well.
Through the pandemic, freelancing thrived.
While traditional jobs were being cut left and right, freelancers were working more.
Not only were people able to pick up extra side jobs in order to make ends meet, companies and small businesses were also able to hire people on shorter terms and a project basis rather than having to worry about the expense of full time employees.
Freelance Stats That May Surprise You
In 2020, 41% of the American workforce was freelancing in one form or another.
In addition, 28% of working Americans freelance full time rather than work for someone else.
Furthermore, 58% of workers that aren’t currently freelancing are considering it in the future.
A staggering 34% of Americans started freelancing when the pandemic started.
As Home Working Club put it “freelancing always thrives in times of adversity and uncertainty.”
53% of current freelancers think that demand for freelancing will still increase as the pandemic carries on.
But do we ever have to worry about an imbalance of supply and demand?
Will there be too many freelancers and not enough gigs?
Too many gigs and not enough skilled and qualified freelancers?
The consensus seems to be that the rise in the number of freelancers will be met by the availability of gigs.
Top Freelancing Gigs
According to Out of The 925, these are the top 10 most in demand freelance gigs as of the end of 2021.
- Seo manager
- Mobile app developers
- Online course creators
- Social media content creators
- Freelance writers
- UX designers
- Virtual assistants
- Graphic designers (specializing in logos)
- Web developers
Some other, higher level gigs that are going to require more experience and most likely some education, according to Nasdaq are:
- Data analyst
- Video production
- Search engine optimization
- Machine learning
- Mobile app development
As you can see, there is some overlap, so these might be some freelancing gigs to consider.
There is also a huge need for everything related to social media and tech.
But what kind of skills do you need to land these coveted freelance gigs?
Top Skills You Need to Freelance
According to LinkedIn here are the fastest growing 10 skills that freelancers can benefit from going into 2022:
- Content marketing
- Creative problem solving
- Brand awareness
- Adobe premiere pro
- Marketing automation
- Customer experience
- Facebook marketing
The current top skills for the end of 2021 and going into 2022 include:
- Press releases
- Web analytics
- Sales promotion
- Administrative assistance
- Digital marketing
- Adobe acrobat
- Retail sales
- Google analytics
- Content Management Systems (CRMs)
But what do you do if you want to get into one of these freelancing fields and don’t have the experience?
First you can start by offering your services for free or highly discounted to friends, family, and solopreneurs.
There are always small business owners that are looking to build their personal brands, update their website, have copy written, or automate their processes.
This can help you to build up a portfolio.
Once you have started to build up a portfolio, you can start to reach out to and apply for other gigs on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork.
Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself and take a class or two on these topics.
Udemy is a great place to start to gain the necessary skills to level up as a freelancer.
What About Soft Skills?
While knowing how to maneuver WordPress and write a press release is going to be a huge advantage for landing a freelance gig, what no one seems to really talk about is the soft skills that it takes to be successful.
While in 2020 and 2021 freelance and remote work went mainstream, in 2022 is when it will become more refined and you won’t be able to land a gig with sloppy CVs and half-hearted Zoom meetings.
Freelance workers that stay abreast of the times are able to jump on a Zoom call and make it short and productive while collaborating with colleagues across time zones using live Google docs and interactive whiteboards.
If you haven’t mastered these things, then practice!
Companies need to keep up with the times as well.
Those that are imposing strict working hours and dress codes aren’t going to attract the highest quality freelance workers.
Companies need to understand that kids are going to interrupt Zoom calls and workers are going to be able to demand greater flexibility from their clients.
The Pros and Cons of Freelance Work
Often people talk about how great it is to freelance and “be your own boss,” which for many is true, there is a lot of upside to being a freelancer.
There can also be a lot of downside for freelancers as well. So let’s talk about those…
The Pros to Freelance Work
Flexibility is one of the greatest upsides of being a freelancer.
Work from wherever you want (as long as there’s WiFi) when you want.
If you’re a parent, this can certainly help on childcare costs if you are able to work around your children’s schedules. (this can also be a downside, we’ll get to that in a minute)
No commuting, unless you go to a coffee shop or you rent a little office downtown.
Pay is often higher for freelance work rather than a salaried or hourly employee.
The ability to choose who you work with.
Have a terrible client that causes you nothing but stress-fire them and get a client that you love working with.
The Cons to Freelance Work
If you are working at home with your kids, depending on their ages, it can be really difficult to get things done.
Ever try and have a Zoom call with a screaming kid in the background, you can’t get much accomplished.
Your income can drastically fluctuate from month to month, so you have to know how to manage your bills and your money if freelancing is your only source of income.
No sick pay, holiday pay, health insurance, life insurance, short term disability and so forth that is covered (at least impart) by your employer.
Your income is primarily tied to how much you can work.
Unless you have some passive income set up or recurring streams of revenue from your clients, if you’re not working, you’re not getting paid.
Will You Freelance in 2022?
Everyone has their own personal reasons for freelancing.
With the huge increase in available freelance gigs going into 2022, what are your thoughts on freelancing?
Is it something that you’ve tried already? Is it something that you want to try?
Are you going to take your freelance gig full time and say goodbye to your boss and that stuffy office?