Freelancers of the future: our future may be as we know it

Freelancing has rapidly shifted, evolving from a simple alternative to traditional labour markets to a cohesive structural change to the world of work. Since freelancing gained ground in 2007 it has exploded in new ways: the start-up hiring model has become part of the essential working environment, meaning the traditional workforce that has traditionally built it is constantly being upended. Freelancing has become an integral part of the lifestyle choices for millions of people, and is, itself, one of the biggest and fastest growing businesses around. This shift is not only changing what we do in our free time, but also what we do for a living. Freelancers are increasingly opting to work from home, doing one project at a time, and are moving into personal tutoring and freelance creative writing.

From freelancing work to starting a side business

Recent research and analysis from Freelancers Union and the Freelancers Union Global Workforce Index reveals that freelancers are increasingly opting to work more from home and helping others on their side. The survey shows that the skills and habits that went into their career choice often become skills and habits they want to pass on, and this has led to growing movements of freelancers offering support to other people on their side, working with freelancers to run workshops and provide online learning tools for people to get started in the industry. This isn’t only happening in Europe, however, and the UK will certainly see an increased move of people opting to freelance from home as new technologies bring up greater possibilities for making microbusinesses more flexible and more personal.

Fundamentally, flexibility has changed the way we think about and work, as well as the nature of our relationships with employers. It is not only about starting a side business, but also a way of reaching out to the world, and combining that with the healthy lifestyle lifestyle to pursue it. Freelancers have become a key ‘vanguard’ that helps to change and shape how people think and live.

Work is not a kind of time, it is the work – a means to an end, and not a time to ‘check your Facebook’. The desire to work around the world can be a powerful symbol for freedom of expression and expression of people’s opinions, particularly after Brexit and recent election results. Having the right to choose one’s own time, at one’s own pace, has never been more important and also has the potential to be a crucial part of social-economic movements.

Work is not any simple job, it is a job that includes finding a replacement for years of experience, finding time off, and time when the business is running, all coupled with the genuine needs of the individual.

The rise of a team of freelancers

For Freelancers, sharing the work that they have created, no matter how tiny, helps pave the way for others, in much the same way that the sharing economy has started to bypass the traditional structure of the traditional economy. This is a pivotal growth factor for the way that future businesses will build themselves, too.

More and more businesses are finding their growth and success through the ability to turn a network of freelancers and contractors into a truly vibrant group, helping to incubate future founders. The popular Y Combinator model sees the relationship between investors and entrepreneurs closely aligned, which has now led to ventures like StubHub, Airbnb, Dropbox, Zenefits, and many others. Founded by fellow Y Combinator alumni, these ventures have grown strongly and successfully, and now see significant profits, while sharing their success with other communities of enthusiastic and ambitious freelancers. The reputation of the more successful companies in this group helps to lead to other ventures succeeding, and the latter community has become a unique coalition of founders, innovators, providers, and experts eager to create a more effective structure for building ventures.

It is a new generation of people, who as students have been used to the opportunities of being able to ‘outsource’ their learning and can now be ready to contribute in this way, therefore helping all to become more flexible. The cost of being a true employee, especially for corporate ventures is undeniably high. It has become now easier and cheaper to act like a freelance, and this market of independent freelancers is changing the marketplace, fuelling new forms of businesses and major developments in the way that the economy works.

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