The rise of the independent worker: Freelancing is a fast-growing market

The unemployment rate for the population overall remains near the historic lows that it has been since the 1970s. Yet, the unemployment rate for a particularly tight market like New York City is about twice that of the national average, according to Federal Reserve statistics. Part of the explanation for this high unemployment rate is that there are still a significant number of jobs that companies can’t fill. Some of those jobs are part-time and require more than a high school diploma.

Because so many people today want to work full-time but aren’t able to find it, organizations in New York City are exploring ways to boost the pay and job options available to independent workers, reports the New York Times. At small companies, finding talented and flexible part-time and freelancers is the fastest growing part of the workforce.

But while it’s easier than ever to pay for services provided by freelancers, contractors, independent contractors, and other small business owners, a bit of good news is sinking in. Here are a few changes to note.

Individualized employment

A few years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for independent workers or business owners to be freelancing anywhere from just a few days to a couple months at a time. Today, more organizations are growing their sales forces, marketing teams, and support staff through hiring independent contractors. In other words, freelancers and businesses can combine forces.

Giving agencies more power

As this changing workforce continues to unfold, the hiring and firing of freelance workers is being considered by some as a kind of black market. Consequently, recent changes in legislation related to contractors may give businesses more flexibility when it comes to the legal status of independent contractors.

Freelancing jobs are proliferating

Already, the number of freelancers has skyrocketed, according to calculations by the National Center for the Web & Social Media. Some freelancers make enough money to cover the bills.

More organizations are hiring freelancers as a means of expanding their sales teams. This is good news for entrepreneurs, who are able to hire part-time writers, social media managers, product developers, and developers, without worrying about taking a leave of absence from work. Plus, some of those smaller startups and businesses are considered mom-and-pop businesses by the Federal Trade Commission and don’t require that an employee be on staff. This allows companies to hire freelancers and offer them perks like free food and even health care.

There are downsides to hiring freelancers. Freelancers need to understand and manage their schedule to meet the specific needs of each customer. For these reasons, there is a growing demand for managers. Those managing freelancers will also need to meet the needs of the customer and the business.

Given the flexibility that freelancers offer and the flexibility that some businesses need, organizations are becoming increasingly attracted to the small contingent of workers. While it may feel like some freelancers are freelancing by convenience, most really don’t mind being paid for their time.

Freelancing gives you the best of both worlds. You can work in a variety of industries or time zones. You can manage your schedule, work in industries or industries that you like, and still feel like you’re doing some form of work.

Freelancing opportunities are increasing while revenue opportunities seem to be growing in this market, according to a recent report by The Resources Group. Just as independent workers have multiplied, so, too, have the number of organizations that have become interested in incorporating freelancers and independent contractors into their operations.

Freelancing has become a growing source of income for more people, which means the market for independent workers is expanding. Just as it was for other market segments, some freelancers get too much and others get too little. But the stories coming out of New York City, as well as other places, show the flexibility and control freelancers get to work with. Not only that, but the resources available to freelancers in many of the industries they work in can pay for their expensive experiences.

But those who work with freelancers also experience their own share of drawbacks, even if they are not real freelancers. Their unique demands are going to determine the work they get and the quality of that work. That makes this industry much more like having a high-performance coach and a high-growth technology startup. There will always be a waiting list for tickets to their events. Some companies, such as Path, will pay for all of the fun, but the prices will certainly be on the high side. There will always be a market for freelancers, and the opportunity to work with them continues to grow.

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