- 16th April 2018
- Posted by: Manolis
To call 2017 “the year of the freelancers” would be an understatement. For more than a decade now people have been abandoning their 9-5 jobs for the freedom of freelancing.
1. You’re in demand
Brand new research out of Princeton revealed that 94% of the ten million jobs created in the US between 2005 and 2015 are temp or freelance. That means businesses actually want to hire you. They’re on the lookout for temp or freelance workers, so you don’t have to rely on cold pitching to prove your worth.
So how can you leverage this? Don’t undersell yourself. Only 34% of US workers today are freelancers, but nearly all the job growth has been in this area. You’re in demand, and should set rates that reflect that. Don’t let your clients weasel you into giving discounts or doing extra work for free. If they want you (and they do), they’ll agree to your terms.
2. It’s no longer a one-man show
Most think of “being a freelancer” as running a one-man show where you’re both the boss and employee. That works well because then 100% of the profits go to you. But then your business growth is limited by the hours in your day.
That’s why many freelancers are turning to other freelancers to help them take on bigger projects. For example, there are many content writing businesses out there that are made up of a team of freelance writers led by a lead “boss” freelancer. My company, Oxygenmat, is a good example. The more you collaborate, the more you can scale.
And luckily, there are new tools out there that make it easy to build and manage a virtual team. For example, there are platforms like Asana or Trello, that help you assign, manage and track progress of tasks for different team members.
3. Say goodbye to hourly jobs
More and more freelancers are pushing away from hourly work and taking advantage of the benefits. Profinder surveyed a pool of their freelancers and found that two-third of them charge by project, feature, or on retainer.
One reason to say goodbye to hourly work is to avoid the challenges of time tracking. Another reason is to boost your earnings. With fixed-price jobs, your productivity becomes a financial asset. Finish a job quicker and get more money for your time. Working quickly on hourly tasks just means less money
You can also bundle your skills and offer package deals for clients at a fixed price. This is the foundation of product tiering so you can charge more for higher value packages. Say you’re a writer. You can create a bundle of services including SEO research, writing, and promotion for clients who need help with everything. Then charge more for the package than you would have for each task individually.
4. The rise of content marketing
Content Marketing Institute recently released their latest research on the state of the industry. They found that businesses now allocate 29% of their total budget to content marketing and 39% plan to increase their content marketing spend over the next 12 months.
Content marketing is finally starting to get the executive buy-in it deserves, and freelancers can take advantage of it. Businesses most often manage traditional advertising in-house, but content marketing requires a wide range of skillsets. They’ll need to supplement their current team with freelancers (like you) to create content, promote it, create landing pages, and more.
Make yourself available as a content marketing specialist on job sites, and illustrate how your skills can improve their strategy. Consider cold pitching big businesses to offer a helping hand with their content marketing efforts.
5. New ways to find work
In 2016, there was a huge shakeup in the freelance job site market: oDesk and Elance merged and were reborn as Upwork. In the wake of it all, there are now plenty of marketplaces and online communities to help you find work.
For example, LinkedIn launched into the freelance economy with Profinder, a tool specifically designed to help freelance professionals find jobs. It now has over 420 million members. There’s also Contently, SimplyHired, Toptal, 99Designs and many more.
Hang your shingle on as many platforms as possible. Even if you don’t actively pursue all their job boards, there’s an opportunity for businesses to reach out to you as well.
The world of freelancing is always changing. If you want to succeed, you need to find ways to take advantage of an evolving marketplace.