The Freelance Economy

With sites like Elance, Freelancer, and Guru, it’s easy to see that many people have already turned to freelancing either to supplement their income or as a full time occupation. Even for those in the US who haven’t yet participated in freelancing, a few statistics suggest that this will become a very important part of the economy in the coming decade. Here is a quick overview of what freelancing is and why it’s so important:

What is Freelancing?

A freelancer, or independent contractor, is someone who isn’t committed to a single employer, but rather works independently for several different clients.

Freelancing is increasingly becoming a very large part of the US economy. According to, there are roughly 53 million freelancers in the US contributing $715 billion in earnings to the national economy.

Who Benefits from Freelancing?

The people who will benefit the most form freelancing will be writers, designers, and programmers. On average, writers earn $58-$82 per blog post written, designers earn $52-$90 per hour, and programmers earn $63-$180 per hour. If you are among the best of the best, your earnings can go much higher.

Why Freelance?

So why would anyone actually want to freelance? Well it carries a number of advantages over traditional work. The one that will resonate with most anyone who has held down a job is that you get to be your own boss. This means the right to accept and deny whichever jobs you want, and to determine your own work schedule. There’s also great potential to make more money than the average employee; some reports have found that freelancers earn an average of 45% more than traditional workers. You also get a greater sense of work-life balance, as only about 29% of freelancers work more than 40 hours a week. Finally, studies have found that freelancers are typically happier and healthier than their employee counterparts.

Challenges of Freelancing

Freelancing does come with its own challenges, many of which ironically stem from the nature of being your own boss. You’re responsible for signing clients, accounting, and you face the challenge of inconsistent work. Freelancing is certainly not for everyone, as you must have an entrepreneurial spirit to be successful. However, for many who are looking for a new model of work, this just may be the opportunity they’re looking for.

The rise of the gig economy, coupled with the fact that today’s business environment is very friendly towards entrepreneurs and non-traditional work, makes it seem that freelancing will play an increasingly important role in the US economy going forward. If you’re looking to leave the corporate world or are having a tough time finding a steady job, freelancing could be a viable option. This is particularly true of talented writers, programmers, and designers. One need only glance at a freelance website and see the quantity of jobs being ferried out to freelancers to see that there is demand for this type of work.

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