Did you know that there are over 660,000 creative freelancers working in the UK right now? With the global gig economy valued at £204 billion in 2018, set to double by next year, the notion of being freelance is becoming increasingly mainstream in society. What’s more, the fashion and luxury industries are also evolving to embrace more agile ways of working.
To help support our community in making the right career choices for them moving forward, we spoke to professor and Forbes editor Jon Younger about the #freelancerevolution and his recent research in the global freelance community. During the event he shared 11 points that give us a 360 view on the state of freelancing right now – read on to see what he had to say.
It might sound obvious, but freelancing isn’t a career in itself: it’s a way of carrying out work in your own specialism. It’s becoming increasingly mainstream, with 40% of US workers now choosing to be freelance. Through his research, John has found that many people start with a ‘side hustle’ alongside full-time employment, giving them the confidence to eventually take their business full time. What’s more, there’s incredible diversity in demographics across age, gender and location, with 30% of freelancers choosing this career path over the age of 50.
Following the pandemic, an incredible 87% of employees would consider freelancing. However, many of them are afraid of taking the leap due to fear of volatility in their monthly income and available benefits. The good news is that with so much opportunity out there, 60% of freelancers surveyed said that they had sufficient work to match or exceed their employed income, while 66% believe that they will meet their financial goals this year. On the other hand, a growing number of people are concerned about feeling lonely if they decide to work for themselves. It’s just one of the reasons why Dweet is so passionate about building community, whether it’s through our Slack channel, live events, mentoring or speed networking.
As demand for freelancers grows, people are now freelancing in all kinds of fields: from rocket science and diplomacy to aerospace and hospitality. The same can be said for the fashion and luxury industries. The pandemic has shown businesses the benefits of working with agile teams. As a result, more companies are onboarding and hiring through Dweet each and every month.
There’s no doubt about it that freelancers and small business owners have just been through some of the toughest years of their career, thanks to the rapid changes in the global business market. Yet of those surveyed, 60% said that they enjoy freelancing, 80% say that they are comfortable with change and 70% feel resilient in the face of adversity. What’s more, 83% of people feel that because of this, they are willing to try out new ideas within their work. Those are the kind of people that businesses want to invest in right now.
The Covid pandemic and advances in technology have finally disconnected many jobs from a physical location. This means that more opportunities are open to you globally, no matter where you happen to be based. Rates of pay can now be based on your contribution to your client rather than your location. This in turn will have a ripple effect across the world, reducing social inequality on a global scale. A great marketer in Europe is ultimately worth the same as one in Asia, it’s the talent that matters.
There are a few key things that workers are looking for. The main one, of course, is the amount of available opportunities and the hope that they will grow in number as the platform expands. However, they also want support on those business management tasks that aren’t their main focus at work: think chasing payments, networking and staying up to date in their field. Not only does Dweet take all the business admin out of your missions, but we’re constantly looking to give you more benefits too, bridging the gap between traditional employment and short-term assignments.
50% of freelancers believe that working client relationships could be improved: it’s a huge statistic that’s hard to ignore. So what are they looking for? According to John, it all boils down to three things: vision for the final outcome, clear milestones as well as good performance management and feedback. It’s all about working with clients to help them get the most out of your services, and giving you the tools to help hone your craft too.
The happiest and most fulfilled freelancers say that they handpick their missions to give them variety across the board. Paying the bills is a great place to start, so maybe it’s a case of taking on a long-term retainer client to give you some stability in your income. But it’s important to mix things up too. Do you find that you feel energised bouncing ideas off colleagues in small start-ups? Seek out those passion projects that you can’t wait to get started on, as they’ll bring joy to your working week. This will also give you a great mix to show potential clients when you’re interviewing too.
With freelancing becoming more mainstream, there’s a lot of competition out there right now. But sometimes, it’s a case of pivoting to create the opportunities that you’re looking for. Perhaps there’s a new service you can add to your offering that will help you to stand out from the crowd. Dweet is constantly talking to a range of brands and business owners across the luxury and fashion industries, so we always have our eyes fixed on where the market is headed. If you need a little advice on how you can reframe your skills to clients, our team will be more than happy to help you find that clarity.
There is strength in numbers. That’s why Dweet are always looking to collaborate with industry experts to help to build the market together. As we continue to grow our community and onboard new clients, we’re also helping the traditional staffing world to understand what they can achieve if they choose to work in a more agile way.
We have the pandemic to thank for that one. More people than ever have had a taste of what it feels like to work remotely. Employers have seen that in many cases, productivity levels have been equal to (if not more than) pre-pandemic levels. So, if you’re thinking about going freelance, it’s the perfect time to give it a try. Make a start by creating your free Dweet profile today.
John Younger is the author of titles such as ‘Agile Talent’ and ‘HR From the Outside In”. What’s more, he’s helped to IPO two startups, is a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, Copenhagen School of Business and Indian School of Business, as well as speaking regularly at freelance community events and conferences. Want to hear more? Watch him speak about his recent study at our event replay here.
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