There are a lot of times in the past when I thought about what would happen if suddenly, the gig industry goes away.
Fortunately, it’s quite clear now that freelancing is here to stay, for good. In fact, trends indicate that the freelance industry may become the norm in a few years as people get more accustomed to working at home.
For freelancers like you and me, this is good news.
Why Freelancing Is Here to Stay
To back up my claim, I looked into a lot of aspects of why the future of freelancing is bright and permanent.
If you think that any of the items below are not true (or relevant) anymore, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments section below.
1. Cheaper for companies
There are some angles that are worth looking at here. The first one is that for companies, working with a freelancer, rather than a full-fledged agency or service-based firm, is definitely cheaper.
For example, the price of an in-house call center team of four customer representatives could easily reach around $250,000 per year.
A detailed breakdown of this cost would look something like this:
|Salaries and Benefits||$141,284|
|Customer Service Manager||$45,726|
|Software and Hardware||$3,600|
|Total||$259,955 per year|
On the other hand, outsourcing this to a freelancer from Asia, India, or Pakistan could only cost somewhere around $5 to $14 per hour per agent.
That is way too cheap since the company has no infrastructure or software costs to take care of. In addition, the company could opt to only pay the freelancer for productive time (this is a cue for Upwork’s timer).
In addition, which brings us to the next point, is that there are no employee benefits that the company has to pay for. All other payables like taxes and health insurance must be handled by the freelancer.
Further reading: For those who are planning to start freelancing but haven’t really started yet, this is one of the cons of becoming a freelancer. However, I seriously believe that this is only minor considering you can earn more in your own schedule wearing only your work pajamas.
2. Artificial intelligence is overrated
Around September of 2020, The Guardian published a mind-chilling article about how a robot wrote an entire article and if humans should be scared.
How good is it? Well, below is a snippet of an article that was written by the same AI:
In order to get something done, maybe we need to think less. Seems counter-intuitive, but I believe sometimes our thoughts can get in the way of the creative process. We can work better at times when we “tune out” the external world and focus on what’s in front of us.
I’ve been thinking about this lately, so I thought it would be good to write an article about it.
So what exactly does this mean? Well, for starters, let’s start with some definitions.
Naturally, as someone who creates content for a living, I was alarmed. That is until I have read the whole article. The opening salvo may seem okay, but the rest, though still related, can be summarized in one word: trash.
But that is not to say that artificial intelligence isn’t improving. It is. But I don’t believe it will replace freelancers and all the other jobs in the world.
For one, it can’t replicate each person’s uniqueness and inherent abilities. It also can’t connect with other people like how other people do.
Automation and computerization may need to be left with robots. However, creative work and those that need human touch will never be left to non-humans.
Perhaps the better way to put this is that artificial intelligence will not replace our jobs. But most likely, it will transform many of them, which will lead to new kinds of jobs in the future.
3. The reality of job security
Because of the crisis, plenty of people found it the hard way that there really is no such thing as job security. Even established companies, when left with little choice, have to lay off people, even if these companies have to pay them.
Freelancers aren’t new to this. Those who have juggled plenty of clients know that work opportunities, when only coming from one source, could disappear as fast as you can blink.
Since many people have experienced layoffs first-hand, they know that job security is only an illusion, which may lead many of these people to the freelancing industry.
I like what Robert Kiyosaki wrote about job security:
You’ve heard the term “job security.” Job security is a myth. It’s a nice sentiment from a different age. The reality is that to be an employee in today’s economy is to be in the riskiest position of all.
This was written in 2018, yet it’s truer now than ever. This is one reason why I believe freelancing will continue to be a thing. Not having your own business is too risky, and plenty of people know that.
4. More opportunities for recent graduates
Let’s face it:
One of the problems in recruiting new graduates, which has also become a meme now, is how some companies look for “recent graduates” who have years of experience and must be “experts” in the field.
Yet, the compensation is for “entry-level” since they are new.
Can you see the problem here?
Companies look for graduates with years of experience, which is something I really don’t understand, and pay them very little while working them like a slave.
On the other hand, clients only want results. They will not care whether you have a diploma or not. What’s important for them is that you can give them good results.
This is one reason why a lot of recent graduates went freelancing. There are a lot of opportunities here where people don’t need to hassle themselves with pesky HR requirements to secure a job.
I know this to be true since I myself dabbled with freelancing work first, became a full-time employee at a bank, and back to freelancing again.
Further reading: If you are a recent graduate of whatever course and you have a hard time finding a job, becoming a freelancer is a good option. If you’re not sure what skills or services you have, check out my article about beginner freelance jobs.
5. Earning potential
A few years ago, freelancers are often looked down on. The industry is seen as a place where failures go because “they can’t secure a good job from a reputable company”.
But this changed as companies look for specialized skills for one-off projects. Furthermore, as more people knew how much freelancers are earning, the way how they see those in the gig industry changed as well.
And honestly? Freelancers know that the earning part is one of the most attractive parts of freelancing. In fact, your only limitation is your time, energy, and the number of contracts you can close.
If you’re a full-time employee, you get a fixed amount of income every month no matter how much efficiency and diligence you show. Yes, you may get bonuses and get promoted, but those only happen rarely.
When you’re a freelancer, you can pretty much charge how you want: per project or per hour. In addition, plenty of people, like those in marketing and sales, could charge a commission per lead or sale.
This adds up to how much the client has to pay them. Eventually, freelancers could then form agencies or their own companies and create products.
Further reading: Personally, I do believe that there are more ways to increase the earning potential of a freelancer. One of these is mastering the art of proposal. Knowing how to write a proposal and what information to include could dictate your success and earning power as a freelancer.
6. The attraction of freedom
Ah, one of the things I really hated when I was still working full-time was the fact that I had to wake up at six in the morning. Add to this the 1-2 hour commute to our office.
I believe that I’m not alone in this. Who doesn’t want to wake up and work anytime?
This is one of the reasons why I believe freelancing will become a permanent thing. People will get attracted to this lifestyle especially when they tasted both and be able to compare freelancing and working full-time.
Clients and business owners know this, which is why plenty of companies nowadays, especially those in the tech industry, have adapted a flexible work schedule for their employees. Some even allow their workers to stay at home.
The pull of freedom is just too great. Having control of your own time changes everything, especially when you have your own family to attend to.
The Future Is Bright
All these made me think that the future for freelancers is bright and attractive. The gig economy is definitely here to stay and more people will get on in it as time passes by.
Right now, there is still a shortage of freelancers, especially for technical stuff. However, I expect this to change soon as more people jump on the bandwagon and either freelance full-time or as a way to earn extra income.
If you’re someone who is thinking about the future of freelancing and has negative thoughts about it, let me reassure you:
The freelance industry is here to stay, with or without you. So get on in it while you still can and there is still plenty of space for you.
Now it’s your turn:
- Are you having doubts about whether freelancing is really here to stay?
- What’s stopping you from becoming a freelancer?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below.