The Future is Freelance

Change is coming. We all feel it. We all see it.

Modern technology is more ubiquitous, prolific, dependable, and relied upon than any of us could have guessed twenty years ago. It has changed and is changing how we communicate, how we shop, and how we travel.

But for many workers in the US, it hasn’t changed the core of how we work. Yet.

Many workers spend hours upon hours traveling from their homes each week to arrive at a destination meant for no other purpose than to hold working humans, where they sit in assigned seats performing tasks assigned to them by supervisors to earn money for the people who own the company. Broken down in those terms, work in the US hasn’t changed much since …well, the beginning of the country. What technology has changed, though, is the amount of work, and money, each individual worker can produce for the company, while wages for these workers has stagnated or declined over the past four decades. Workers are wising up to this.

Technology has also made work more mobile and more easy than ever before. The speed and ease of communication has many workers looking around them, thinking “Why am I making money for the guy at the top, when I can do this same work from home, earn more money for myself, and have more free time?”

This is why the future is freelance.

Workers are seeing freelance work as freedom. Freedom to choose what to work on. Freedom to choose where to work from. Freedom to choose when and how much to work. If the worker can do all this and still earn as much or more money than he or she could while working in the corporate structure, why would they choose to work in the corporate structure?

The answer: they won’t. Right now 35% of the American workforce is working in a freelance capacity, and we’re on track to hit 50% by 2020. That means that more than 19 million workers will transition to freelance work in the next three years.

That may sound like a bad deal for companies, but it isn’t, necessarily. The average worker is productive for 3 hours per day, but they’re paid for an 8 hour day. That’s five hours of time that a company is throwing out the window for every employee, every day, so the truth is that companies are already getting a bad deal on employees. In a freelance marketplace, however, companies can pick up workers on contract to see specific tasks through from start to finish. They know what they’re paying, and how much to see their job done. This makes far more sense, in a lot of cases, for projects that a company needs done, but don’t need a full-time worker for. Projects like marketing campaigns, website development and maintenance, content creation, programming projects, and accounting management can all be done on a case-by-case basis, ultimately saving money for the company in the long-run, without keeping costly employees in the payroll. It streamlines business costs and timelines, ultimately making those companies more competitive.

Freelance is a win-win for the workers and the companies. Granted, it’s a different structure than the current top-down work environment that we’re used to (and have been for centuries), but technology is changing everything, including how we work.

The future is freedom. The future is freelance.

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