There are unending reasons people periodically choose the freelance lifestyle: an entrepreneurial spirit, an independent mindset, an ever-changing schedule, etc. But there are even more reasons people choose to remain freelancers for life, and it seems the word is getting out about those amazing benefits.
Currently, more than 14 million Americans choose to work for themselves, and experts estimate that by 2020, 1 in 3 American workers will be self-employed, eschewing traditional employment for more flexible, more empowering work.
Of course, this major shift away from the age-old employment system will have dramatic effects on the structure of the economy. Here are the biggest ways freelancing will change the world in the coming years.
Alternative Structure to Work
Freelance writers – and all freelancers, in general – want relationships with clients to last months or years. Finding reliable, paying clients is hard, usually unrewarding work, so when a client sticks around, a freelancer hopes it lasts a long time. However, working on a single project for more than a week or two is not so common for many reasons.
Unlike traditional employment, which tends to give workers a small handful of long-term assignments, developing daily responsibilities that fade into monotony, self-employment often requires several quick, easy projects.
Thus, a self-employed worker is constantly shifting from project to project, embracing different roles every day and finding new opportunities every week. Eventually, traditional employment will follow this standard, using more workers to quickly digest small amounts of work to speed productivity and enhance the work experience.
New Ways to Share Money
Freelancers are forever frustrated by the various ways clients prefer to pay, and usually, a self-employed worker has dozens of ways to accept payments. As a result, dozens of new payment systems have appeared to make money transfers especially easy.
Perhaps the most famous success story is PayPal, who has recently launched digital bank accounts and physical debit cards, but several innovators are fast on its heels. Contactless payments, which are available in smartwatches, smartphones, and other mobile accessories, are some of the most exciting, but they are by no means the only new ways to share money that will emerge in the coming years.
Increases in Wages
During the hiring process, job applicants can negotiate their salaries and benefits to a small degree, but once they sign their contracts, they will receive that pay for the foreseeable future. Conversely, freelancers are able to set their rates with every new project, and as a trend, payouts have been steadily increasing for years. With a successful job, a freelancer can boost his or her rate to match the improved reputation in the community.
It is not surprising that traditional workers look with envy upon the easy wage increases of the self-employed, and we already note that young workers are leaving their places of employment in droves. To combat this shift, employers of the future will need to raise their wages significantly and offer frequent raises and promotions akin to the constantly increasing rates and prestige of freelancing.
Expansion of Head Hunters
Eventually, self-employment will become so popular that traditional workers will be hard to find. Companies will continue looking for salaried employees, but unfortunately, because freelancing and self-employment will be so profitable, few workers will bother searching the customary classifieds for work, and those who do may not be attractive to businesses looking to hire.
Some experts predict that this environment will foster the growth of a new sort of talent agency; instead of actors and athletes, these agencies will cultivate a clientele everyday professionals to fill openings at employee-hungry companies. As yet, no such system has arisen ― but freelancing has yet to dominate employment to an overwhelming degree.
Disappearance of Straightforward Career Paths
Twenty years ago, most college grads could foresee their budding careers in immaculate detail: get hired at a company, begin at the bottom, and incrementally ascend to the top. Today, college grads have no such luxury; career paths are constantly shifting, and most workers actually change careers at least twice in their lives. As self-employment gains popularity, the career path with likely disappear altogether.
As freelancers assume sole responsibility for personal success or failure, businesses will be less forgiving of underperforming employees. Thus, all workers will need to be more creative and entrepreneurial to find career success ― regardless of whether or not they are self-employed. Everything, from how workers find work to how they do work, will change thanks to the rise of self-employment.