The Rise of the Freelance Economy

This my friends, is an important time in history.

It’s a turning point, of sorts. A changing of the guard, as we usher in a new generation of progressive ideas, actions and entrepreneurs.

If you hadn’t guessed yet, that’s where you come in.

Freelancers, solopreneurs, and micro agencies represent the future of this new economy. It’s an economy where expertise is the de facto currency. No longer will the fanciest offices and largest ad budgets guarantee a business’s success.

Instead, those who possess in-demand skills will be calling the shots.

Don’t believe me? Consider this . . .

A report published by Freelancer’s Union found that 53 million Americans are working as freelancers. Representing 34% of the US workforce.

Contrast that with the total amount of employees working for fortune 500 companies, which is only 26.8 million.

Let that sink in for a minute.

That’s right, freelancers outnumber employees of Fortune 500 companies 2 to 1. It’s hard to grasp the enormity of these figures, but I think you see where this conversation is headed.

It’s time for you to find your place in the Freelance Economy.

How to win in the Freelance Economy

As with the old economy, the new Freelance Economy will have a collection of winners and losers. An increase in freelancers also represents an increase in competition; this means individuals with similar skills clamoring for a finite number of clients. It’s the economic equivalent of Darwin’s natural selection.

Here are a few tips to help you survive this economic evolution.

Let’s get started.

Start thinking like a business owner, not an employee

The most common mistake most freelancers make is getting stuck in an employee mindset.

The employee mindset is simple. It goes something like this; “If I show up to work, I will get paid”.

That works when you’re clocking hours, nine to five, on someone else’s dime. It doesn’t work when you’re a freelancer.

The truth is, to be a successful freelancer, it’s best to approach your business like an entrepreneur, not a practitioner of your trade.

The day you become a freelancer, you’re a business owner, plain and simple. You book clients, sign checks, file your taxes, communicate with clients, present your work, manage customer complaints, promote your business, and much, much more.

Therefore, the winners of the Freelance Economy will be those willing to step outside of their circle of competence to learn the fundamental skills required to run a business.

Cooperation and Collaboration

We are entering a sharing economy, one in which people share everything from cars to power tools.

Today, we rent our apartments on Airbnb and pilot our personal vehicles on Uber. We have community gardens, and land sharing programs. And, businesses crowdfund projects (to the tune of millions of dollars) through average people as opposed to banks.

The concept of sharing and collaborating can also be applied to your freelance business.

Partnerships with other freelancers represent a significant opportunity for winning in the Freelance Economy. These symbiotic relationships create a new form of company, one based on collaboration, where hand-picked experts work together to provide the best services possible.

The economy of the future belongs to specialists

The world is accelerating at an increasingly fast pace. Advances in technology, software and communication are rewriting the rule book and painting a dramatically different picture of tomorrow’s business landscape. It’s one many people/businesses are not yet prepared to accept.

What’s a person to do?

I firmly believe specialization is the calling card of the true professional in the Freelance Economy. Specializing has many benefits, such as:

  • It encourages the development of processes and replicable services
  • It creates a cohesive portfolio (i.e., your body of work)
  • It provides the opportunity to earn more money by charging a premium rate
  • It provides a higher level of service to customers

Are you ready to join the Freelance Economy?

I’ve shared my thoughts, now I’d love to hear yours.

 

Written by: Calin Yablonski
Calin is a freelancer, local search marketer and founder
of the Freelance Business Guide.