In a survey of over 200 organizations, the Aberdeen Group found nearly 22 percent of their employees would be considered freelancers by the beginning of 2015 — and the numbers are only climbing. But what exactly is freelance work, and should you, as a job seeker, become a part of this growing sector of the talent market?
Essentially, “freelance work” means one can pursue as many or as few jobs as they’d like, with as many companies as they’d like, for as long as they’d like, from the comfort of their home (or really anywhere) without having to open their own business.
The Pros and Cons of Freelancing
If this kind of work sounds interesting to you, you’ll want to consider the pros and cons of freelance work arrangements before diving right in. Some of the perks of freelancing include:
- work anywhere, anytime — while still minding deadlines, of course;
- freelancers are independent workers who manage themselves and make their own creative decisions – within the parameters of the project, that is;
- freelancers may take on as many or as few projects as they wish;
- freelancers don’t have to work on site;
- and more flexible, self-directed work schedules.
“Getting paid to do things I love in my jammies with my cat on my lap? Sign me up!” Slow down, cowboy. While freelancing can be extremely rewarding and ideal for many busy lifestyles, there are disadvantages to freelancing as well:
- no guaranteed job security;
- freelancers must handle their own tax burdens;
- freelancers are paid per project, not per hour, which can be dangerous is a freelancer takes on a time-consuming project from an especially picky client;
- no employer benefits;
- little or no collaborative work;
- and freelancing requires a highly disciplined work ethic.
Nobody said freelancing was easy! Lucky for you, you’re not alone. See what experienced freelancers wish they knew when they were starting out.
So, You Want to Be a Freelancer?
If, after reading the pros and cons above, you decide that freelancing sounds right for you, the first thing you need to do is build a freelance resume. Instead of just listing your skills, as you would on a normal resume, you should also include recent projects that demonstrate your use of those skills as well. Freelancers Union suggests that listing projects conveys a clear message to employers what they can gain from you as a contractor, rather than leaving them to guess what you could do, based on your skills.
Once your resume is up to par, the next step is finding a place to shop for projects. Popular sites for freelance job postings include Elance, oDesk, TaskRabbit, and Fiverr. Head to these platforms to find projects, connect with clients, and get your freelance career started.
Ultimately, freelancing is as good as you make it. Though freelancing is not a cakewalk, nearly 79 percent of freelancers claim to be more productive working on their own terms, and 69 percent say they are happier working as freelancers than they were as traditional employees.