The rise of the freelancer is one of the most impactful workplace trends of the decade. Today, millions of people are taking on side hustles or leaving full-time jobs to freelance.
Meanwhile, small businesses need to keep their budgets under control. When it comes to cutting costs, talent often bears the brunt. Because hiring a freelancer is generally cheaper than hiring a full-time employee, small businesses often outsource important but short-term tasks like writing copy, designing a logo, or conducting financial analysis.
The article, titled “ We studied freelancing for five years: Here’s how work is changing ,” was published in Fast Company in October It’s written by Stephane Kasriel, the CEO of Upwork ― the “largest freelancing website, where businesses connect with talented freelancers to get more done.”
In the article, Kasriel describes a report commissioned by his organization and the Freelancers Union, titled “Freelancing in America: 2018.” The study, which “surveyed more than 6,000 U.S. workers,” indicates that many millennials are choosing to freelance because of flexibility, quality of life and technology.
Recently, there have been a number of predictions that by the year 2020, the majority of Millennials will no longer be in an office job, instead choosing the life of a freelancer. Why would this generation leave a cushy, guaranteed paycheck from a corporate career to go and do odd jobs and contracted work on their own? Here are five reasons why Millennials love freelancing, and why it’s definitely here to stay:
- You can use multiple skills.
Millennials tend to have a variety of interests and skills, from graphic design to charity work and everything in between. Being tied down to a job where they are forced to use the same skill set on a daily basis is exhausting and frustrating for this generation. Being able to freelance means Millennials can pick and choose which skills to use, and don’t have to narrow down their interests to one specific field. For Millennials, freelancing means one day they could be shooting and editing a viral video campaign, and the next raising funds for a charity event.
- You remain connection-conscious.
This generation is well aware of their network and how to use it, probably because the idea of social media and digital connections has been a part of their lives for so long. Unlike previous generations, Millennials have no problem calling upon even the loosest of connections, like one of the distributors you worked with for a month years ago. Because of this value they place on networking and their ability to grow connections, freelancing makes perfect sense, since they have so many contacts to call upon for referrals or contracted work.
- You have flexibility.
There has been an abundance of research on how Millennials hate the standard 9-5 job, yet for the most part, the corporate world has yet to respond by allowing flexibility in these hours. Instead, some Millennials have opted for a freelance career, where they can choose their own hours, and still make time for life outside of work. This generation of employees doesn’t want to punch in and out on a daily basis, but rather work at their own pace, during hours they feel the most productive. That’s not to say that this generation is lazy, but rather that they see the importance of a work-life balance more than any other generation, and are willing to switch to a freelance position to obtain it.
- You incur less risk.
It may seem like freelancing carries more risk than a steady office job, but to Millennials, that’s not the case. This generation entered their careers at the height of the recession, so they’re all too familiar with cut-backs and layoffs. By being a freelancer, Millennials are able to invest less in one client and therefore, carry less risk. If one client does decide to make cuts and get rid of the freelance work, the Millennial still has others waiting in the wings.
- You can create your own culture.
Many Millennials leave office jobs or job-hop from one to another not because of pay, but because they are dissatisfied with the culture or the work value. Being a freelancer means Millennials get to define their own work culture and make an impact with their own decisions. Millennial freelancers do not have to deal with office politics or rigid rules, and do not feel low on the totem pole when it comes to decision-making. Freelancing gives Millennials the power of being in control without slaving away to climb up the corporate ladder.
Being a Millennial freelancer also means being your own leader. See if you have what it takes to drive your career to success with this free leadership assessment.