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All About Freelancing

A recent survey conducted by Fox Business reveals that freelancing is on the rise; more and more businesses are looking to “employ” professional and experienced workers to fulfill specific and usually temporary assignments that the businesses do not want to hire full-time employees to do. According to the survey, the creation of freelancing economies in certain recession-prone cities around the US has been helpful in reversing high unemployment rates and economic hardship.

The article about this survey is maybe one of at least five articles about freelancing I came across this week alone. And so, after reading so much about freelancing, I thought I’d share some of my new accumulated knowledge with you.

Let’s start with some facts gathered by recruiting firm 24seven. The three main drivers for a professional, once fully employed, to become a freelancer are: desiring greater work flexibility, seeking more freedom, and being laid off from a previous job. The main factors making freelancers happy about their work situation are getting paid by the hour, enjoying greater work/life balance, having a flexible schedule, and being able to seize skill development opportunities. The main issues keeping freelancers up at night are meeting deadlines, staying professionally relevant, and having no clear career path. From a broader perspective, 24seven data reveals that the longer they work as freelancers, the happier people are, the more money the make, and are less likely they are to ever return to traditional employment.

All in all, it seems being a freelancer is a great thing, but there are some reservations. First, being a freelancer is not for everybody. In a business world characterized by eroding loyalty between business partners, a freelancer must be assertive in order to stay relevant and profit. Having great self-marketing skills is crucial to success because being a freelancer often means going through the job interview process over and over again for every project.

Second, freelancers have to also be assertive when it comes to their pay and benefits. Since there’s no regulated employee/employer relationship between the freelancer and his or her employers, it is the freelancer’s responsibility to negotiate and sign work agreements with each and every future employer to secure both parties’ satisfaction.

I’ll end this post with a question. Are freelancers actually small-business owners, or are they highly dynamic employees? What do you think? I think that as the freelancer economy is shaping and changing, the safest answer is that they are both.

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