The Top Advantages of Freelancing
Medieval knights were professional soldiers. In exchange for fighting for the king, the king paid the knights with money and necessities like lodging, security, and food. There were two types of knights; those who were committed to the king and freelance mercenaries. The second group was professional knights who hired out their expertise to different lords— ‘free lancers’ aka freelancers.
In modern times, freelancers are like both these types of medieval knights. Freelancers are self-employed workers who hire out their expertise to businesses who need their professional skills. In other words, they don’t work for a boss; they are their own boss. Most freelancers freelance by choice. It’s what they want to do. The majority of freelancers choose to freelance opposed to working for one company or business. They are still committed to their clients and to getting work done, but they aren’t tied to one source of livelihood.
There are 57.3 million Americans who freelance. According to the Freelancer’s Union, freelancers contributed $1.4 trillion to the American economy in 2017, a 30% increase from the previous year.
What inspires freelancers to ‘risk’ giving up steady work with the security of a regular paycheck at the end of the month? What motivates them to opt for the ‘uncertainty’ of not knowing where their next dollar is coming from – even though most freelancers get paid weekly? The Indo-European root meaning of free is “to love.”
To love what you do sums up the advantages of freelancers, the reason why so many choose a freelancing career.
The Flexibility of Time and Location
As a freelancer, there’s no getting up early to miss the traffic. You can sleep an hour later and still be on time for work. There’s no need to commute to work; they’re at work already.
Flexible Working Times
Many companies today offer flexible hours, which basically means not having to report for duty at the same time every day. Instead of working from 8 am to 5 pm, worker can start at 10 am or 1 pm, for example, as long as the total hours worked still add up to a 40-hour week.
Flexibility has another meaning for a freelancer.
A freelancer’s time is truly flexible. Although discipline is a key to freelancing, freelancers choose their own working hours. They decide how many hours they want to work that particular day or week. Next week their work times may be different. A freelancer has the freedom to take a day off as needed. They can spend the day with their sick child or go to the beach. They take on the workload that they can manage, and don’t worry about meeting a 40-hour weekly quota. Freelancers who prefer routine also have the flexibility to choose routine working hours, of course.
Freelancers work when it’s best for them. This means that they can choose their peak working hours to produce high quality output. If they’re having a bad day, they don’t need to power through it and end up delivering poor results.
Most freelancers work from home because of the convenience. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average time commuting one way to work in the United States is 26.1 minutes. That is about 200 hours per year that people spend driving one way to work. Public transport can take 57.1 minutes to work and 57.1 minutes home again. In the U.K. the average travel time is 54 minutes. A study showed that adding an extra 20 minutes to travel time has the same negative impact on work satisfaction as taking a 19% salary cut.
Working from home means an additional 2-4 hours quality time per day. It’s additional time a freelancer can spend working, or with family and friends instead of getting up early to miss the traffic, waiting, driving, or being stuck in a traffic jam.
A freelancer doesn’t have to be at a certain location to work. A freelancer can work from any place in the world…on a yacht, in a hotel room, on the beach, at home, and even from an office if preferred.
Flexibility in time and location removes unnecessary stress. There’s no more rushing to work and back home to fetch the kids for recreational activities or to be on time for a dinner appointment with the spouse.
Location flexibility gives the freelancer a geographical opportunity also. It’s possible to work for any company anywhere in the world without needing to move to that town or city. Businesses have the opportunity to outsource globally and find the best skilled freelancer for a specific project.
Freelancers also work where they see fit, in an environment where they feel comfortable and productive. This means that they are primed for work every day to deliver high quality results. With more time on their hands avoiding long commutes, they also have more time to spend building their skills. Free from the rigors of working for a single company every day, all day, they can explore different interests to see what they really love doing and learn and develop skills. This all means the same thing – freelancers are free to choose to do what they love, and loving what they do, they produces better quality work.
Opportunities for Exploration and Skill Building
Battles took knights to other parts of the world where they fought against opponents from other nationalities and cultures. They had the opportunity to explore and discover new weapons and skills. They learned how different nations used specific weapons and their fighting techniques.
Then they came home and honed their skills using the new information they acquired. They learned from battles. Battles, as well as jousting competitions, gave them experience. If a blacksmith introduced a new metal or method of creating a better weapon, the free lancers saw the opportunity to improve their chances of winning the next battle.
Freelancers work with different businesses. With each experience, each new client and business, they learn and hone their skills. They are permanently busy with skill building as they explore new ideas and methods to suit their different clients and assignments.
Like any business owner, freelancers want their business to succeed and to grow. Therefore, they keep up with the trends and needs of the industry. They learn how to solve problems that clients have, and to fill the gaps that others can’t fill.
Some knights preferred to fight with one-handed swords and shields. Others opted for two-handed swords. Although swords were the obvious weapon of choice in that day, medieval knights were skilled with lances, also. They always had a sword, however, as a backup if their lance broke during the battle.
Freelancers have the freedom to choose their ‘weapons.’ They are highly specialized in industries, niches, and skills. Like the medieval knights, freelancers stay current by exploring new skills and building niche expertise. It is easier for a professional freelancer to stay up to date with trends and needs not only because they are specialists in their field, but also because getting that next project depends on it.
Companies are responsible for giving workers opportunities for growth. It isn’t always possible, however, for a company to help workers stay current with specific skills, especially skills that are not often required. This is very limiting. Freelancers, on the other hand, aren’t often given these opportunities at all. They are responsible for their own upward mobility, and the businesses that hire them do so because they are already experts.
Freelancers have the freedom to work in the industry they love. They work on assignments by choice. Therefore, they strive to produce high quality work. They also have the choice of who they want to work with. Freelancers chose clients they get along with and with whom they know they can build a strong working relationship. This means they can choose businesses with the same value system as they have. This is a great motivator, and hiring someone with the same values as you have is actually one key to making a successful hire.
Another top advantage of freelancers is that they set their own rates according to their level of experience and skill, and also according to where in the world they are located. Businesses can find experienced freelancers with varied skillsets for a rate that they can afford by tapping into the global pool of freelance workers.
The demand is high for freelancers because of their specialized skills. Often companies don’t have a regular worker with such specific skills, and the demand for them is not high enough to take someone on full time. Outsourcing is a great solution in these situations.
It takes time to build the business, and many freelancers usually take their experience and skills to a freelancer platform like the FreeeUp marketplace to find clients, which makes these marketplaces a good place to start hiring.
The Freelancers In America 2017 study projected that within a decade the majority of workers in America would be freelancing. Businesses have realized how beneficial outsourcing is to help grow a business. There are more than enough tasks and assignments on every business owner’s plate – start outsourcing to experienced freelancers who love what they do.
Connor Gillivan is a serial eCommerce entrepreneur and an expert in online hiring, eCommerce, and bootstrapping businesses. With his first eCommerce business, he sold over $20 million worth of product and managed over 60 freelance workers. He is now the co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of FreeeUp.com, the hands-on hiring marketplace connecting hundreds of online business owners with reliable, pre-vetted remote workers. He is an avid writer on his own site, ConnorGillivan.com, and his business advice can also be found in top publications such as WebRetailer.com. He currently lives in Denver, Colorado.