Over the past few years, freelancing has blossomed into an industry of its own. Contributing billions of dollars to the economy annually, it now employs over 50 million workers.
While this may seem surprising to the older generations, middle-aged to younger generations are already enjoying the benefits.
The year 2017 promises to be a great year for freelancers because demand is growing rapidly.
Businesses that seek to cut costs by doing away with traditional office buildings are hiring as fast as they can accept applications.
So what does this mean for people who crave a more flexible and potentially portable livelihood?
Job Security (Really!)
Despite the belief that nine-to-five jobs offer greater job security, the reality is that increasingly freelance jobs may offer the same or better security just because there are so many opportunities available that don’t rely solely on the leadership of a single business.
The freedom offered by freelancing allows workers to select and interview for as many jobs as they want. It puts power back in the hands of those doing the labor yet costs businesses less.
Best of all, benefits are evolving. The Freelancer’s Union even offers help acquiring affordable healthcare specifically for freelancing workers, including medical, dental and vision.
New York City is also now a great place to work from thanks to their recently passed act that protects freelancers against non-payment. Other locations are likely to follow in 2017 and beyond.
Competitive Wages (Really!)
One of the more obvious reasons for increased entrepreneurial success in the freelance market is the increase in financial opportunities, with high-end freelance jobs offering over $100 per hour.
The better-paid opportunities go together with modern technological education. With so many new graduates focused on education in the tech industry, companies have a considerably greater hiring pool. For many companies, that equates to easier growth as the difficulty is no longer in finding qualified workers.
Talents involving coding or graphic design can be worth big bucks—particularly in areas without nearby tech colleges—and freelancing usually doesn’t require the worker to move anywhere to get paid.
The impact will be most significant in areas where the job market is very limited, giving remote workers the opportunity to live high-quality lives in otherwise poorer areas or countries.
They have continued to simplify the process of applying for work and for posting work, making it easier for ideal candidates to meet with ideal employers.
Plus, the pool of work is more varied than ever; there are even in-person (non-digital) freelance gigs available now through Uber and Lyft (for these services you work as a sort of on-call taxi driver).
Freelancing companies take care to make their process straight forward. If you’ve never done freelancing work before, consider making a profile on one of the above sites just to get a feel for how things work. You’ll be surprised at just how easy it can be to start earning.
Better Online Safety (Which Matters!)
Despite the growth in hacking and data theft, online workers are becoming smarter and more experienced.
As freelancers spend most of their time online, they are exposed to new scams and malware regularly.
As a result, 2017 is poised to be the year that freelancers utilize more tools than ever to ensure their internet safety. They will utilize two-factor authentication type logins (which require two passwords, one randomly generated), create stronger passwords and subscribe to modern security software.
The growth in the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) speaks to the needs of freelancers’ mobile work. Needed to stay safe on unsecured public networks, VPNs afford protection to these workers at a small cost while also granting them anonymity.
SEO workers will also take advantage of the ability to change virtual locations to work more effectively on improving local search results for their clients.
According to Secure Thoughts, a website that provides information on VPNs, foreign workers will also benefit by navigating around geographic restrictions in the same way.
Obsolescence of Old Jobs Creates New Opportunities for Y-O-U
As technology continues to improve, we also see old jobs removed or replaced. Anyone that’s visited a major retailer in the past year can see that the introduction of automatic checkout lanes means fewer hiring demands in big box stores.
The success of Amazon’s shipping model also threatens many in-person retail jobs and small business owners who own brick and mortar shops.
These positions are instead being replaced with a need for remote workers to accomplish data driven tasks. Because business needs vary, some of these jobs are short-term freelancing positions while others last much longer.
Many of the jobs being cut are underpaid with few if any benefits. Freelance work may not guarantee benefits, but it definitely offers greater opportunity to those looking for non-traditional jobs or who live in communities with weaker economies.
Marketing Has Changed — And Companies Need Y-O-U to Help
The continued expansion of social media into nearly every corner of our lives has also changed the way companies market their products and services. Paying big money for a commercial slot on TV is no longer the only (or even best way) to get your product out there.
Many companies have started relying on freelance marketers to push their products on social media, on blogs, and even direct to consumers.
Realizing that people power is best, their budgets are shifting to focus on manual digital efforts; this is reflected in the listings seen on the previously mentioned freelance sites.
Some of that is driven by how Google curates content; web searches are still a top source of traffic, and getting higher on the search list means creating quality content that is useful to the consumer.
As a result, blogs, guides and other informational sources are an increasing source of work for freelancers and a bigger part of business investments.
Success is Waiting — So What Are Y-O-U Waiting For?
The bottom line is that 2017 offers newfound success to any freelancing entrepreneurs willing to put in the work.
With wages higher than ever, opportunities abound for workers with skills in the big three areas: writing (content creation), coding, and design (web and graphic).
Don’t yet have the needed skills? Once again, the Internet to the rescue!
If you’ve thought about freelancing or already work for yourself, how do you plan to make 2017 a successful year? Tell us your strategy in the comments.