Increasingly, more and more professionals are migrating to more self-employment methods of earning a living.
Freelancers are doing better than ever before, and with the introduction of practical technologies like Zoom, Slack, and other organization apps, self-starters are highly empowered and equipped to control their own destinies in the modern age.
The stop-and-go nature of freelance work isn’t for everyone. It can be an inconsistent, anxiety-inducing, and unreliable career choice bereft of essential benefits like health insurance, 401k, and PTO. Also, rates can fluctuate for certain freelance gigs where the freelancer doesn’t get to set their own prices.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the strongest self-starter in human history, certain fields are not optimal for freelance work— you don’t see a lot of freelance doctors.
So what industries are full of thriving freelancers? And what qualities make up a strong freelance worker? According to Upwork, one of the world’s leading freelancing websites and job platforms, a whopping 59 million Americans—over one-third of the entire U.S. workforce—performed freelance work in one capacity or the other in 2020.
Statista predicts that by 2027, 86.5 million people will be freelancing in the U.S., which will make up over half of the total American workforce. Below is a breakdown of five different industries that harbor and cultivate strong freelancers.
1. Art & Design
According to Upwork, 77 percent of workers in art or design fields participate in freelance work.
This makes sense when you think about the vast variety of jobs available in these fields through freelancing, including graphic design, personalized art pieces, interior design, photography, digital artists, independent social media artists, painters, freelance art directors, and other positions.
These workers are able to easily work from home and choose their own projects, which helps them take on more work and earn more profits.
2. Journalism & Marketing
Marketing comes in second on Upworks’ report with 58 percent of workers participating in freelance work. A strong freelance marketing consultants can market themselves to companies, create strong campaigns, improve and elevate brands, and develop strong marketing strategies for businesses to implement.
SEO professionals have had a ton of success recently in doing freelance work for companies. For freelance journalists, there are always opportunities for local magazines, newspapers, community publications, and websites that are willing to pay per piece or agree to a temporary contract.
3. Computers & Mathematics
Computer and cybersecurity services are becoming increasingly essential for businesses of all sizes. Every company needs a website in the modern world. Strong freelancers can design and develop websites and have a strong hold on coding practices.
Freelance software developers can optimize and operate specific programming technologies and applications for a company’s specific needs. Freelance mathematicians and data analysts are in high demand as well, along with tutors, Matlab software professionals, numerical analysis pros, etc.
Computer specialists and mathematicians make up 53 percent of workers in the field participating in freelance work, according to Upwork.
Hiring freelance construction professionals allows businesses to get specialized, high-quality labor at a cheaper and more efficient rate than hiring a company. With 52 percent of the workers in the field performing some freelance work, construction is an emerging field in freelancing.
Deciding on pricing rates per task or project can save companies money and allow for solid payment for freelance construction workers, and can limit downtime that could be seen from hiring companies per contract or hour. Independent construction workers can be a stabilizing force when the market is fluctuating.
2. Personal Care & Wellness Services
Fifth on Upwork’s list is personal care and wellness services, with 48 percent of workers performing freelance work.
This can cover a wide range of services, from personal caretaking, personal training, and physical fitness, dieticians and nutritionists, freelance psychiatric and counseling services, personal development, and several other fields. These freelancers can be consultants, coaches, motivators, or caretakers for certain audiences.
What Qualities Make A Strong Freelancer?
How well or often you can perform freelance work depends on a number of factors, such as your financial situation, your access to necessary tools or equipment to do your job, your transportation situation, and how much you rely on your freelance earnings.
Four main factors that determine one’s ability to freelance and explain why freelancing is growing so popular are:
1. An Increase In Remote Work
Assuming you have the equipment necessary to perform your freelance work, such as connection to the internet, and certain software you may need to do certain tasks, an increase in remote work can explain why freelancing has skyrocketed in recent years.
For those that work in hybrid work options for a company, working away from the office allows for more time and flexibility to pursue freelance opportunities.
Freelance workers are drawn to the flexible nature of doing their own work, setting their own prices and schedules, and allocating their time accordingly. The work “freelance” indicates a certain level of freedom itself; it’s in the name. Self-employed people like the freedom in choosing how they operate their businesses.
3. Earning Potential
Since most freelancers don’t use their freelance work as their primary source of income, having a little extra money on the side that they can control is an enticing factor.
Roughly 44 percent of freelancers do use freelance work as their primary source of income. But freelance workers often are pursuing a passion project or something they want to build a career in. Getting that experience and making money at the same time makes for a great stepping stone toward a new career.
4. Career & Life Satisfaction
Freelance work provides workers the freedom to dictate their field of work and dedication to a certain occupation. Nearly half of all freelancers say there is no amount of money that would convince them to take a traditional job.
Freedom really is the driving force in freelance work. Sixty-three percent of freelancers say they would prefer to freelance over traditional jobs. During the pandemic, countless workers left their field of work to pursue a job more meaningful to them, and many turned to freelance in a new field.
Freelancers are thriving in more industries each year, as workers increasingly are shifting into new careers and leaving their traditional jobs. Self-starters with skills will do well freelancing, as freelancers generally have to work harder than traditional workers to keep profits coming in consistently.
Social media now allows freelancers to advertise their services easily and market themselves effectively. Job boards like Indeed, Upwork, LinkedIn, and others have extended their freelance work postings massively in recent years, and freelancers are becoming a highly valued pillar of the U.S. job market.