Freelancing is the future.
As the term has expanded beyond its original meaning to act as a short of umbrella term covering independent contractors, consultants and the otherwise self-employed who don’t run a brick-and-mortar, freelancing is becoming an increasingly more appealing path for many.
This might come as a surprise to those who still associate the term with being less formidable than other careers, but those who work independently understand something fundamental: having multiple contracts or an ongoing series of clients can, in some cases, be far “safer” and often, more lucrative, opening up an infinite potential income stream.
Bunny Studio, a freelance creation services firm, recently surveyed their user base of gig economy workers, and found that an astounding 97% saw it as their most viable long-term career option.
The results were as follows:
- 97% of respondents see freelancing as a long-term choice (lasting more than a year).
- 57% of respondents work in the freelance gig economy as their primary source of income.
- 61% of respondents have been freelancing for over 5 years.
Speaking to those who are actively part of the industry, the consensus seems clear. “I am a woman in her 50s. In the corporate world, this is way past my ‘sell-by date,’” Lynn Cole, a freelance copywriter, tells me. “Age is not an issue as long as you have the chops for the project. Looks like I’m in it until they pry my fingers off my keyboard.”
“I’ve been a full-time freelancer since 2016, but have been participating in the gig economy since 2010,” Ariel Lim, a freelance marketing consultant, adds. “I’ll probably continue doing so for two reasons: First, I have control over who I work with, when I work, where I work, and how I work… the next one is scalability.”
Joanne Cleaver, who has been freelancing for 39 years, agrees with Ariel. “I started as a freelance business writer in 1981, fresh out of graduate journalism school, and have continued uninterrupted except for planned new-baby leave, ever since,” she shared with me. “I have a great mix of association research projects; journalism; and long-form projects, including writing my own nonfiction books and ghostwriting business books.”
Along with having a say over your workload, geographic location is brought up numerous times as a highly appealing factor. “As someone who marches to the beat of her own drum, working for myself is how I can optimize my happiness,” Blaire Kaplan Venables, a freelancer for 12 years, tells me.
“The freedom to be in control of my schedule, my income, my time and my life is liberating and has allowed me to have experiences and achieve career milestones and that typical job wouldn’t. My office is anywhere I choose it to be and I can work from the beach, camping in the mountains or at a local coffee shop. Once you have a taste of this world, it’s hard to go back to the standard 9-5 job, which I will never do.”