In today's economy, it isn't always possible to land a traditional, 9-to-5 position in your target field. Many employers are hiring part-time or contract workers to handle the projects and work that full-time employees once did. As a result, competition is fierce, and, in some industries, it may be futile to search for typical jobs. The silver lining is that this situation has pushed the door wide open for professionals interested in working for themselves. If you know how to be productive and have an entrepreneurial bent, you should evaluate your full-time options and business prospects and consider these six reasons to freelance:
You're in good company. Surveys indicate that the freelance workforce will continue to grow in the next decade; it may be the perfect job for you. According to Intuit, by 2020 more than 40 percent of the workforce will be freelancing. Temporary placement service provider, Adecco, predicts temporary workers will eventually comprise 25 percent of the global workforce as employers replace many jobs with contract workers. Mavenlink says that the number of self-employed, independent service firms, "solopreneurs" and temporary workers will grow to approximately 65 million American workers by 2020.
There's no time like the present. If you get started by creating a business now, you will be ahead of the curve and therefore more competitive for opportunities now and in the future. Companies prefer to hire contractors who are set up as official businesses with websites and processes in place that help them function as independent businesses. Even if you are not sure that you want to start your own business and be your own boss, if you begin to create a digital footprint, including your website and social media content demonstrating your expertise, you will be ready to attract interest and attention online when and if you do need to rely on freelancing for your income.
Multiple income streams are all the rage. You can't assume one employer will be there for the long haul. If you work for one company, organization or person and you lose your job for any reason, all of your financial eggs are in one basket. When you cultivate a variety of bosses and projects, you don't lose everything when one company or industry goes sour.
Stretch your geographical limits. In many cases, freelancers work remotely and do not have to worry about location concerns or traffic. As an independent worker, you may be doing work one day for a client in Los Angeles and the next day for someone in Boston -– all from your home base in the Midwest.
Tap your creative juices. When you freelance, you have more opportunities to follow different professional paths. By necessity, you'll probably need to take on a lot of roles yourself: chief marketer, IT expert, financial officer. You name it, when you freelance, at first, it's probably your job. This is great for people who felt trapped in one role in a traditional job and for anyone who loves learning new things.
Win flexibility. When you freelance, you decide what jobs and projects to take on and you set your own schedule in many cases. For example, unless you need a lot of interaction with clients, you may be able to work late at night and have flexibility to do other things during the day. While you may initially accept any work to generate income, eventually, your goal will be to control your own schedule and work stream. When you are successful, you will spend more time doing work you enjoy.
More from Miriam Salpeter:
How to launch a new business online
Break out of your job search rut
3 reasons employers won't hire overqualified candidates