The Antidote to Unemployment?
Freelancing Trumps Full-Time Work by Offering
Flexibility, Great Pay, and Job Satisfaction
In this time of 7.7% unemployment, there is a clear growth area where many are finding refuge.
There has been an explosion of freelance work in recent years. Labor lawyer and author Sara Horowitz maintains that one of out of three Americans are freelancers. And that number will grow. Forty-two percent of employers plan to hire more freelancers in the next year, according to a study from online job marketplace Elance.
Lack of job security or longevity in traditional jobs is pushing workers in this direction. People are making a clear choice to go freelance in increasing numbers.
With more and more viable and lucrative freelance jobs, there is a lot of opportunity in this sector.
The Elance survey found that 67% of freelancers expect their income to increase in the next year, with most expecting at least a 43% jump. That’s on top of the 57% of freelancers who reported income growth in 2012. And of those just getting started, most – 26% – were hired for their first freelance gig within one or two weeks.
Driving this trend are the increasing number of companies – both small businesses without many resources and large corporations looking to cut costs – relying on freelance talent instead of full-time employees.
Some freelance opportunities have seen bigger boosts and offer better financial rewards than others.
Copywriting, which deals with creating advertising in formats like ads, sales letters, brochures, and more, has seen tremendous growth over the last year. And specialties within copywriting, like web copywriting, which includes social media campaigns, online ads, websites, and sales emails, are leading the charge.
Demand for writing and content creation – a big part of this niche – will grow by 35% in 2013. And copywriting itself is seeing a big boost in cities hit hard by the recession. Industry watchers have seen a 286% increase in entry-level copywriting jobs in those areas.
The majority of interaction a freelancer has with his or her employers is through the Internet, with almost a third completing all their business online. And that makes working remotely and having control over one’s schedule quite easy with freelancing.
American Writers & Artists Institute contributor Starr Daubenmire has first-hand experience with this phenomenon. Laid off in 2009, she embraced freelance copywriting full-time and was able to bring in just under $60,000 in her first full year in her new career. Recently, she was able to indulge in her love of art and spend several months in Tuscany, sketching and painting in the afternoon, working on assignments in the morning. Only a freelance career gives you that type of freedom.
“As a freelance writer, I have a lot of flexibility. And I recently decided to downsize so I can travel more,” said Starr. “And first on my list was Italy because I’ve been ’saving it. I never wanted to go to my dream destination unless I could stay for a while … and now here I am! My vocation — writing — has made it possible.”
Jason Holland, American Writers & Artists Institute contributor, specializes in web-related copy projects, including email newsletters, as well as website articles and online sales copy.
“Having all my work and client interaction online gives me tremendous flexibility with my schedule, allowing me to spend a lot of time with my family,” says Jason.
And that’s just one element of job satisfaction.
Overall, almost 70% of freelancers are happier in that role than a full-time job. Being one’s own boss, the ability to follow one’s passion, the lack of a commute, and control over what assignments one takes on were all elements that made a freelance career appealing.