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Why You Should Consider Freelancing in 2017

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Have you always wanted to make more money or have greater control over your work schedule? One way to achieve these is by switching to a freelance career.

Yes there are risks involved, but freelancing is on the rise. Over in the US, 35% of the workforce is freelancing, according to “Freelancing in America: 2016,” a study conducted by Upwork in partnership with Freelancers Union. Why would so many people be trying it, if there was too much risk involved?

Why become a freelancer?

Sometimes you reach a point when you just know you have to make a change. Freelancing is one option to pursue if you want to reinvigorate how you feel about work. The Upwork study found the top reasons people chose to become freelancers were to be their own boss, have a flexible work schedule and a flexible work location.

Who is freelancing and what types of roles do freelancers pursue?

“Marketing, business consulting and design topped the charts as the leading industries for freelance work in 2016,” according to LinkedIn’s survey of more than 9,500 of ProFinder professionals.

LinkedIn’s study reports the most popular roles held by younger freelancers include writing, photography and home improvement. Older freelancers choose to be career coaches, business consultants, real estate professionals and marketers.

As you consider what type of freelancing work you would like to do, evaluate whether you are more interested in selling your skills or knowledge.

Freelancing is easier today

There are more online tools available to help you market and sell your products and services. 73% of Upwork’s surveyed freelancers said “technology has made it easier to find freelance work.” Creating a website and using social media to promote and grow your freelance business should be on your list of things to do.

Be happier with your work.

Freelancers are happier! Almost 80% of freelancers surveyed by Upwork said freelancing is better than a traditional job. In fact, half would never go back to a traditional office job again, even if they were offered more money.

Build new skills

Becoming a freelancer, either full time or on the side, does require new skills. From marketing your services to managing accounts receivable, you will need to enhance your knowledge of certain business elements. Some skills you will learn on the job, others you will need to learn by enrolling in training. Don’t let a lack of skills deter you if you are serious about freelancing, as there are many simple ways to acquire them.

Start freelancing on the side

One of the best ways to start freelancing is while you have a job. Begin taking on projects that are not a conflict of interest with your current employer. 25% of the surveyed freelancers in Upwork’s study categorised themselves as moonlighters, meaning they did their freelancing while holding another job. There is less financial risk to freelancing on the side since you still have income from your primary job.

The Gig Economy is very much here to stay and following a massive shift to more flexible work practices in the US, the rest of the world are eagerly following. Freelancers are more productive, healthy and happy with their work-life balance than those in fixed employment and now firms are taking that on board, freelancing opportunities are becoming much more prolific.

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