1 in 3 Americans have done some form of freelance work in the last year. Freelance workers range from full-time freelancers, to side-gig workers that use freelance to supplement their finances.
Is freelancing worth your time though? There are many pros and cons to freelance gigs. There are a couple of freelance stats that can help you decide if it’s right for you.
Freelance Stats at a Glance
Do you want the quick numbers on the freelance market? I made an infographic for you to get the summary.
This can only give you a superficial understanding of the gig economy though. If you’re serious about researching your options, let’s dig a little deeper.
The Freelance Workforce
A cursory glance at the freelance demographics shows that the younger generations are dominating freelance work. 35% of freelancers are 22-34 years old. You have to remember that this takes in all aspects of freelancing.
Some of these younger freelancers are only doing work part-time to supplement their income. If you break it down, you’ll see that only 28% of the freelance workforce are doing it full-time.
When you look at the full-time, self-employed demographics, you’ll see that 25% of them are 45-54. This is the largest age group of self-employed individuals.
Finding Freelance Jobs
You can work as a freelancer anywhere, but some cities make it easier than others. A look at the best places to work as a freelancer shows the top 10 U.S. cities include
- New York
- Los Angeles
- Washington, DC
- San Francisco
Even if you don’t live in these cities, you can still find freelance work though. The freelance marketplace relies on online efforts more than anything else to source jobs.
73% of freelancers find jobs through online marketplaces, and 15% also use social media. You can also get jobs through referrals and networking. 33% of freelancers rely on referrals to get new jobs, and 14% use networking sites, such as LinkedIn.
Skills for Freelancers
A college degree is useful for any business venture, but 53% of freelancers have found specific skills training more valuable to their efforts than their degrees. What are these skills you need though?
You can find a niche for any skills, but the skills that prove most useful for freelancers include
- Writing & Editing
- Graphic design & Web design
- Accounting & Bookkeeping
- Customer Service & Sales
These skills will help you manage your freelance business. They’ll also help you enter the top freelance industries.
Top Freelance Industries
The top freelance industries include:
- Customer Service
- Software Development
- Medical Admin
- Project Management
- Research Analysis
- Education & Coaching
You will need to strengthen your skills in these specific industries to get started, but most of them have training programs you can access to do so. Some will require certifications, such as many medical and IT positions.
Others require proof of your abilities, such as writing. It’s up to you to decide where your skills will match.
The Cons of Freelancing
Freelancing isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. If you do freelance work full-time, you’ll have worries to contend with. Many worry about their current jobs becoming obsolete.
As the freelance economy changes, you can find yourself dealing with financial insecurity. In fact, 63% of freelancers have to dip into their personal savings to cover dry spells in their industry.
As a freelancer, you’re responsible for your income, healthcare, and taxes. These are all financial issues you need to plan for before getting started.
What are the biggest issues for freelancers? 31% of freelance workers struggle with keeping steady work. You have to plan for these dry spells with savings. You’ll also need to find multiple sources of work to reduce those months with no work.
17% of freelancers have trouble getting paid fairly. This includes finding people willing to pay what your services are worth, and dealing with people who won’t pay on time. You can have them sign a service contract to reduce these issues.
15% of freelancers struggle with staying productive. You have to remember, you are your own boss as a freelancers. It’s up to you to keep up with your deadlines and track your progress.
As a freelance worker, you’re responsible for getting your work done. You’re also responsible for finding the work.
As a freelancer you need to get ready to market yourself. You need to keep your resume and portfolio updated. You need to tell people about your business.
You also need to get shameless about asking for referrals and reviews. The more people talking up your skills, the more jobs you’ll find.
Freelance work isn’t an easy gig. You will likely spend more time on your freelance work than you would at a traditional job. This is especially true in the beginning.
If you do it right though, freelancing can prove a rewarding career option. You have many niches to choose from, so make sure you choose something that will be worth your time.
Do You Want to Get Started in Freelancing?
If these freelance stats make you excited about working on your own, you need to plan well. Take the time to plan your business and understand the best marketing practices.