Sunday Feb 05, 2023

Freelancing in America 2017 Is Out!


Hey everyone! Freelancers Union and Upwork just released the Freelancing in America 2017 survey results. I was part of the survey (through Upwork). It actually came out a couple of weeks ago, but until I went to visit Freelancers Union’s Facebook page, I had no idea the results were ready.  I dunno…I probably just missed the official announcement made in the middle of October. Anyway…here are some highlights (view the full study, including the ability to download a PDF here):

More than 57.3 million people freelance(d) in 2017. 

The survey predicts that most workers will be freelancers by 2027. I doubt it because of people like this…that, and not everyone has the skill-set and discipline to work from home.

47% of millennials are freelancers. And before you pop off something about it’s because millennials are lazy or some other ridiculous bullshit, consider three things.:

  1. I am not a millennial and I work from home…so, I’m part of that 53% not mentioned there. Although what I do is commonly referred to as freelancing, I hate that term. I’ll explain why on another survey highlight. I am almost 40. I have three sons (one is now an adult, one is 17, and one is 8 and has special needs). Freelancing isn’t about being lazy. It’s about being able to attend to certain obligations. You can read about a day in my life here. Millennials can have perfectly legitimate reasons to freelance.
  2. You’re saying the same thing about millennials that people said about Gen X, Baby Boomers, and every other young person during the driving force of the prominent older generation. So, congrats. You’re doing what you said you’d never do.
  3. People hate or are afraid of something they don’t understand or something they think they can’t do. Make sure your irrational feelings of something that has little to no effect on you isn’t really an indicator of you throwing your hopes and dreams in a garbage can years ago.

Freelancers contributed around $1.4 trillion to the economy. And, yes, we do pay taxes. In fact, many freelancers pay more because they don’t get the proper guidance on business formation and taxes they so desperately need.

On average, freelancers work with 4.5 clients per month. 

71% of freelancers state that thanks to technology, they’ve had the opportunity to get more work over the last year. And technology is one of the main reasons why we’re able to work from home successfully.

49% of freelancers wish that ‘gig economy’ would be called ‘freelance economy,’ 25% wish it would be called an ‘on-demand economy,’ 13% wish it were called ‘sharing economy,’ 10% of freelancers like the term ‘gig economy,’ and 3% of us chose ‘other.’ I was an ‘other.’ I hate, hate, hate the term ‘freelance.’ I hate the term ‘gig’ in relation to work. I’ve worked from home for a few years now. In the beginning, I was excited to tell people that I was a freelance writer and editor. But the response was usually, “Oh, so you’re between real jobs?” And referring to it as a ‘gig?’ Well, most of my clients are long-term (not just a gig) and it’s difficult as it is to get people to understand that working from home is real work (especially when you have a family).

Top drivers of freelancing include: freedom, flexibility, and earning extra money.

Top barriers to freelancing include: income predictability, finding work, and benefits. 

Over half of freelancers surveyed reskill (learn new skills) to keep up with the change in demands. 


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