The freedom of freelancing
Freelancers make up about 34 percent of the workforce in the United States. That’s more than one-third of employable adults who choose to be self-employed. Baby Boomers tend to be consultants, while Generation X and Millennials are full-time freelance entrepreneurs. Technology has given more people the opportunity to work on their own from anywhere in the world.
SCORE, a non-profit supported by the Small Business Administration, released an infographic about freelancing. Although freelancing has a great many benefits, it also has its challenges. Intuit expects freelancing to continue to rise, exceeding 40 percent of the workforce by 2020, which is just four years away.
Why do people freelance?
The advantages of freelancing are no secret. Most people choose to freelance because they want control of their own hours (61 percent), but flexibility is a big draw as well. Many people, myself included, want to be their own boss.
Interestingly, only 38 percent choose to freelance because they can make more money. Sure, you keep all the profits, but you’re also responsible for all the overhead and taxes.
For me, one of the advantages is that I can work anywhere. Living in a rural community, it can be difficult to find work that I enjoy. Freelancing lets me do what I love, while living in a smaller town.
Challenges of freelancing
Freelancing has its disadvantages. About 50 percent of freelancers don’t have a steady income or have trouble finding work. One-third worry about getting paid on time or at all. Submitting an invoice to someone and waiting for it to be paid is always worrisome. Bookkeeping takes up a lot of time.
Taking care of taxes can be frustrating, because you’re taxed as an employer and an employee.
It’s also hard to set boundaries with friends and family members who think “you don’t have a real job.”
Even with all the challenges of freelancing, most people believe that freelancers get more respect today than they did just four years ago. SCORE offers free mentoring for small businesses. If you’ve been thinking about taking the plunge into the world of self-employment, get connected with a mentor in your area and do what you love with confidence.