As the Freelance Economy Nears $1 Trillion, It’s a Good Time to Be a Freelancer

The freelance industry in the U.S is booming. 

The labor market is getting stronger and many people are choosing to work on their own terms. The stronger economy offers more opportunity and optionality. These are the sentiments of Adam Ozimek, the chief economist, Upwork. 

Freelancers in this case refer to computer programmers, Etsy sellers and dog walkers. According to a recent survey, they prefer the terms “self-employed” and “independent worker” instead or “gig worker”. 

In 2019, the freelance industry brought in almost $1 trillion (all gigs considered). It towered over mainstay industries like construction, transportation and mining. The report also showed that 53 million people, that is 35% of U.S workers, freelanced. 

From that number, 80% freelance exclusively. This is like a career choice for them. 

How to Get a Piece of the Pie

You can also tap into that $1 trillion. Here is how. 

Get on Freelance Websites and Build a Portfolio

If you are just getting started, freelance platforms will be comfortable for you and you can easily find clients.

The fees charged by most of these sites are not sustainable. You should, therefore, use the platforms as a launching point. You will not be getting traditional benefits and there are quarterly taxes to consider. 

The sites include Upwork, Guru, Freelance and Fiverr. 

Network in Professional Organizations

Networking is a huge part of freelancing. If you know more people, you will be less likely to work with freelancing websites. 

Who is your ideal client? Once you have an answer to this question, go directly to them. 

Land Gigs with Apps

There are so many apps that specialize in service-industry work. Gigs such as running errands, package/food delivery and ridesharing are the most common here.

  • Chauffeur people using Lyft or Uber.
  • Deliver different things to houses and offices.
  • Use the Papa app and be a “Grandkid on demand”. 
  • Become a pet sitter. 

These are just a few of the things that you can easily get started on. 

Watch Job Boards

Remote/freelance jobs are becoming more popular. Consequently, job boards are listing related opportunities. They may not be comprehensive but they compile jobs for free. 

Some of them include:

  • The Penny Hoarder’s Work-from-Home Job Portal
  • Mediabistro

If all the platforms seem to be failing you, go the old-fashioned way. You have nothing to lose if you cold-pitch. 

Challenges of Gig Work and Freelance

Freelancing is great but it is not perfect. There are setbacks. 

Finding Healthcare

Key pain points for this industry include access to healthcare. Employers are the main private health insurance provider in the United States. Freelancers have to foot these costs without any help. 

However, you can still access affordable healthcare through private insurance plans and Freelancers Union benefits. 

Work Outside 9 to 5

Many people joined the freelancing industry due to issues like disability and caretaker responsibilities. Some are forced by situations—they don’t get in by choice. 

Exiting the Gig Economy

Income from freelancing is not always reliable because it is inconsistent. It is, therefore, important to have a side hustle. 

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