Gen Z'ers are leading the trend in freelance work. Freelancing used to be viewed as a risky endeavor, a break from the security of a 9 to 5 job that wasn't always guaranteed to pan out. But as employees are increasingly less willing to stick to a traditional work routine, freelancing is skyrocketing in popularity and feasibility. The number of freelancers in the US boomed from 57.3 million in 2017 to 70.4 million by 2022. That number is expected to keep growing, with estimates of 90.1 million freelancers in the US by 2028.
So what does this mean for anyone looking to set off on their own? Freelancing and the gig economy is a viable option worth considering. There are numerous avenues for people to find freelance work, as I’ll explain in this article. Read on to find out more about the ins and outs of a freelance career.
What Is Freelancing?
So what is freelancing? Freelancing is the act of performing specific work for clients while not being employed full-time by any one organization. One of the most attractive benefits of freelancing is that you are essentially your own boss, working for yourself instead of an employer. Freelancers can work for multiple clients at a time, whereas employees are typically committed to one company.
Freelance projects come in many shapes and sizes. While freelance jobs are generally short-term in nature, satisfied clients often request follow-on work from the same professionals again and again. Freelance professionals are available across a wide range of skills, including copywriting, programming, engineering, and marketing.
Who Can Be A Freelancer?
Freelancing comes with the freedom to work in the capacity of your choice, but how do you determine what niche to focus on and prepare yourself for success as a freelancer?
Freelancers have a wide variety of job opportunities available to them, including writing, graphic design and dog walking. Freelance job portals can help you find work in your preferred field.
One of the most important attributes of a freelancer is discipline. As your own boss, you’ll have to hold yourself accountable for your actions. You won’t be able to rely on a fixed income as a freelancer, so you’ll need to work hard at finding new opportunities if one falls through. This can be difficult at times, but there are plenty of people out there who have managed it. You may have to keep hustling for a while, but if you have the drive and persistence to keep going, you'll earn enough to see yourself through the various ups and downs.
Gen Z And Freelancing As A Career
Freelancing gives up the comforts of a full-time job, such as healthcare and retirement benefits. While you do have to pay your own health insurance, and you don’t get paid time off, you also gain freedom to set your own boundaries around work. You can work for whomever you want, whether it's multiple clients or just one. Your salary is up to you and your skills—in some cases, your salary can be comparable with or better than what a regular job earns.
The median annual personal income of freelancers has increased significantly over the last few years. Between 2014 and 2018, the percentage of freelancers earning over $75,000 a year leapt from 17% to 31%. The more time you spend freelancing, the more clients you will attract and the higher your earning potential will be. Gen Z and Millennials have found that freelancing is a lucrative and rewarding career option.
How To Become A Freelancer
Becoming a freelancer isn’t as hard as it looks, and it’s easier than you think. Simply go to any website that offers freelancing jobs and assignments, and apply for them. Working on a freelance basis can be slow-going at first, but you can build up a client base and earn higher rates as you go.
Freelancing sites can help you find work or clients to work with. Here are some websites where you can find freelance jobs:
Fiverr is a valuable resource for freelancers of any kind. You can create a gig for pretty much anything, from creating graphic designs to writing online articles and content. You set your own rates, and clients find you through Fiverr’s search feature.
99Designs is a graphic design company where you can create logos, websites, book covers, and more. Depending on your niche, you can offer any graphic design service under the sun to interested clients through a secure and trustworthy platform.
Upwork is similar to Fiverr, although it’s the freelancer who seeks out the client rather than the other way around. This makes it easier to get started, however, as you can submit detailed applications to gigs that fit your qualifications.
Audo.com is a career-building ecosystem that uses AI to recommend which skills you need to succeed in your career. I founded this company to provide Gen Z with the tools they need to learn skills and earn money at the same time. All you have to do is fill out your interests, abilities, and experience, then watch as Audo provides you with a personalized skill path towards making money. Once you’ve completed coursework, you can use your new skills in our marketplace to earn money as you continue to learn more skills.
Freelancer.com is another site that works similarly to Upwork. Freelancers can create a profile and bid for projects with their own pitches that explain why they’re the best person for the job. Freelancers will work out an agreed payment amount with the buyer, which will then be delivered to them through the site.
Like any career, freelancing has its benefits and drawbacks. Before you go down that path, make sure you’re willing to assume the risks that come with freelancing. While it offers you professional independence, it can also come with insecurity and the danger of failure. But the more you’re willing to take risks in order to follow your professional ambitions, the more opportunities you’ll have to establish your brand and reputation as you achieve your goals.