Flashback to 1860 when many were living the American dream of working for themselves. Eighty percent of the workforce was self-employed, according to historian Steven Gillon. While it may seem that the American Dream is redefined today, people still have a strong preference to work where they want, when they want, and on the work of their choosing, according to Freelancing in America 2018 (FIA).
In “5 Years of Freelancing: The Future of Work Has Arrived,” Upwork president and CEO Stephane Kasriel details how the future of work—and lifestyle of independence—belongs to freelancers.
1. One out of three American workers freelance
Between 2014 and 2017, 3.7 million more people started freelancing—that’s equivalent to the population of Connecticut. And they’re freelancing by choice: Sixty-one percent of freelancers said they’ve chosen to work this way versus starting out of necessity. It’s clear to say freelancing has gone mainstream.
2. Quality of life is a no. 1 priority
Freelancers and non-freelancers alike prioritize lifestyle over earnings, according to FIA. Yet, freelancers are the ones who are actually getting the lifestyle they want. Half of freelancers said they wouldn’t take a 9-to-5 job no matter how much money they were offered.
3. Technology makes remote work smoother
Freelancing typically happens remotely, and tools like Slack, Dropbox, and Google Docs makes collaboration and communication that much smoother. The FIA study found that 3 in 4 freelancers said technology makes it easier to find freelance work.
4. Millennials seek out freelancing for the freedom it offers
A good way to get insights into the future is to look at the rising generations. Millennials are now the largest demographic in the American workforce, and 42 percent of Millennials now freelance. Not only do Millennials want more freedom to decide when and where they work, but they also want the flexibility to carve their own lives. Freelancing is simply a no-brainer path to this free lifestyle.