Freelancing provides you with the opportunity to make more money and greater control over your work schedule.
Sure, there are risks involved, but freelancing is on the rise. 35% of the workforce is freelancing, according to “Freelancing in America: 2016,” a study conducted by Upwork in partnership with Freelancers Union.
Why would so many people choose to freelance if the risks were too great?
In short, freelancing provides you with control and power over your career (and income).
But it is also important to note that many employers are moving away from (or hiring fewer) full-time employees. Instead, the trend is to hire freelancers/contractors to work on a specific project and when the project is completed, you’re done.
Here are some of the pros and cons associated with being a freelancer.
Here’s Why You Should Consider Becoming A Freelancer
Sometimes you reach a point when you just know you have to make a change. Freelancing is one option to pursue if you want to re-invigorate how you feel about work. The Upwork study found the top reasons people chose to become freelancers were to:
- be their own boss
- have a flexible work schedule
- have a flexible work location
Do any of these sound like your reasons for needing a change?
Greater Opportunity For Work
If you do decide to freelance, you’ll find more options for real, scam-free freelance work today.
FlexJobs released its Flex 250 list, which shows the top 250 companies offering the greatest number of flexible jobs since 2013. These companies offer jobs that are pre-vetted and defined as professional-level jobs that have a telecommuting, flexible schedule, part-time, or freelance component. You can find a wide range of roles for all career levels.
Who Freelances and What Do They Do?
“Marketing, business consulting and design topped the charts as the leading industries for freelance work” according to LinkedIn’s survey of more than 9,500 of ProFinder professionals.
LinkedIn’s study reports the most popular roles held by younger freelancers include writing, photography and home improvement. Most older freelancers choose to be career coaches, business consultants, real estate professionals and marketers.
As you consider what type of freelancing work you would like to do, evaluate whether you are more interested in selling your skills or knowledge.
Freelancing Is Easier Than Ever
There are more online tools available to help you market and sell your products and services.
73% of Upwork’s surveyed freelancers said “technology has made it easier to find freelance work.”
Creating a website and using social media to promote and grow your freelance business should be on your list of things to do.
And don’t forget, there are many reputable sites you can search to find freelance work.
Freelancers are happier!
Almost 80% of freelancers surveyed said freelancing is better than a traditional job. In fact, half would never go back to a traditional office job again, even if they were offered more money.
Develop New Skills
Becoming a freelancer, either full time or on the side does require new skills.
From marketing your services to managing accounts receivable, you will need to enhance your business acumen. Some skills you can learn on the job, others you will need to learn by enrolling in training.
A huge bonus is the experience you gain from working on new projects with new clients. These experiences enrich your knowledge and make you a much better value to future clients/customers.
Don’t let a lack of skills deter you if you are serious about freelancing, as there are many simple ways to acquire them.
Start Freelancing On The Side
One of the best ways to start freelancing is while you have a job. Begin taking on projects that are not a conflict of interest with your current employer.
25% of the surveyed freelancers in Upwork’s study categorized themselves as moonlighters, meaning they did their freelancing while holding another job. There is less financial risk to freelancing on the side since you still have income from your primary job.
Freelancers’ Greatest Concern
The primary concern for not becoming a full-time freelancer is income predictability, reports Upwork.
There is definitely a level of hustle and salesmanship that goes into being a freelancer. Freelancers need to have thick skin, too. Risk can be scary, but if you are determined, don’t let it hold you back from trying something you really want to do.
Create Your Own Career Security
You may not have realized it yet, but job security is a fleeting concept. At any time, without warning, your employer could eliminate your job. And then, you have nothing to fall back on.
When you freelance, either on the side or full time, you are fully in control of your career and income stream. It is up to you to line up new clients and assignments. It is also your call as to whether or not you want to accept an assignment.
The bottom line. As freelancing opportunities continue to grow, will you be willing to accept a side gig?
Want to learn more about shifting to freelancing or starting a side gig? Check out these articles:
This post originally appeared on US News & World Report
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.