Freelancing's Increasing Appeal
In recent years, freelancing has increased in popularity. Since 2014, the freelance workforce grew 3x more than the total US workforce, and experts estimate that by 2027 the majority of the US workforce will be freelancers. The main desires driving people to start working as an independent contractor are: 1) to be their own boss, 2) to choose when they work, 3) to choose their own projects, 4) to choose where they work and 5) to earn extra money.
In the last year alone, top professionals choosing to work independently jumped from 56% to 67%. On top of this, 2 in 3 full-time freelancers make more money than they were making in traditional jobs. 50% of freelancers would not take a traditional job, no matter the pay, due to the benefits freelancing offers.
However, working full-time as an independent contractor causes one important concern: financial predictability. Many are hesitant about the idea of freelancing because of doubts about where the next paycheck will come from. These concerns are more than justified; freelancers get paid per-contract as opposed to a consistent salary. When times are good, one can work many contracts and be well off. However, when opportunities dry up unpredictably, things get tough. Studies found 63% of freelancers use some of their savings at least once a month, while only 20% of non freelancers did. How, then, can one mitigate this problem and take full advantage of the benefits freelancing has to offer?
Versatility is Key.
The key to success as a freelancer lies in diversity and good relationships. Two thirds of freelancers agreed that having a diversified portfolio is more secure than working with a single employer. The average freelancer works with around 27 clients in a 6 month period. In other words, the more relationships you have, the more consistently you will find work. This concept applies to your skill set as well. About twice as many freelancers regularly update their skill set than traditional employees. First, this widens the scope of contracts you are qualified for, as you have a more versatile skill set. In the longer-term, it also helps mitigate the threat of job market transitions and leads to greater stability in the future.
A diverse portfolio also means having a strong network of fellow freelancers. Karen Schwitchenberg notes that after giving "advice to people about becoming independent consultants, they will sometimes come back when they have extra work or forward [her] name along to a potential client.” Help others in the gig economy, and they will help you. By having trusted relationships with other independent contractors, you can help ensure stability by knowing you have referrals to count on if work opportunities dry up.
Quality is also an important factor in a freelancer’s network. Around 50% of freelance contracts are with repeated clients, meaning the freelancer impressed in the past and was brought back on for more projects. Being a trusted relationship will help your success as an independent contractor, as clients will bring you back for contracts instead of taking the risk on a new, unproven freelancer.
Take it slow.
Look at making the jump to full-time independent contracting in the same way any other business ventures can. The key to success here is starting small, and developing your work into something sustainable. Given the importance of a professional network for freelancers, it is important to take the time to develop that network.
Many begin with ‘moonlighting’: part-time freelancing to earn supplemental income on top of a traditional job. Through moonlighting, new freelancers can slowly build and diversify their portfolios while still enjoying the stability of a traditional position. It also allows them to get experience under their belt so they aren’t surprised by the contrast between traditional work and individual contracting.
Swarmsales could be the key to launching a successful career as a freelance sales representative. By allowing you to target your existing accounts, Swarmsales not only allows you to reinforce your relationships with them, it also presents you with the opportunity to scale up your sales work. Without any exclusivity clauses, you’re free to work with as many companies as you please.
Furthermore, representatives can work simultaneously with small startups and publicly traded, multinational corporations. For a sales representative looking to diversity and widen their portfolio, this is crucial. The platform also facilitates starting small Reps move deals at the rate they can, and gradually increase their number of clients and accounts. With enough activity, can earn monthly retainers and take one more step to successfully working full-time as a freelancer.
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