“A Rising Global Army of Freelancers”

Freelancers are in the news a lot lately, which means to me that freelancing is becoming a more and more viable option as a way to make a living.

Here’s what Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, Thomas Friedman, wrote about freelancers in yesterday’s New York Times: “It has never been harder to find a job and never been easier — for those prepared for this world — to invent a job or find a customer. Anyone with the spark of an idea can start a company overnight, using a credit card, while accessing brains, brawn and customers anywhere.”

He then goes on to reference one of the crowdsourcing sites as a “rising global army of freelancers.”

And in a September 8th Special Report from The Economist, there is a series of articles about The Future of Jobs (sent to me by Laurel Black). Here are my two favorites:

  • The Great Mismatch: In the new world of work, unemployment is high yet skilled and talented people are in short supply. (Intro article)
  • My Big Fat Career: How individuals can survive in the new world of work (a “self help” article for freelancers)

Laurel wrote to me, “I found the articles of great interest and also disturbing, especially coupled with the Seth (Godin) blog post about the forever recession. It appears to be more crucial than ever that we designers learn how to make an effective and specific business case for our services.

And Sara Horowitz, founder of The Freelancers Union (also referenced in The Economist articles), has been writing a regular column on her theory of “new mutualism” and the new economy for The Atlantic.

Where else are they talking about us?

5 thoughts on ““A Rising Global Army of Freelancers”

  1. Shaleen Shah

    I love that you mentioned freelancers as a rising global army… because, they are simply doing just that – breaking the conventions, where work is no longer defined by your place of work or ‘the office’, as many would call it. Soon, freelancers will become just as indispensable and the only question now left is: Are people ready to make the switch?

    Thanks for sharing links to intriguing reads, by the way. Cheers!

  2. Adam Kaynan

    I second a thanks for this resource. Though we go it alone as freelancers, our community is indespensible. Freelancing can lead to further job creation too. As each respective person develops their trade they connect with other freelancers who at any moment may be their counterpart or collaborator. The potential that a startup or co-op may emerge may becomes greater and if workload increases, and dare i say revenue one might even hire another freelancer… I cant imagine where they wouldnt be discussing us.

  3. Susan Bodiker

    It’s great to be a part of a growing and increasingly important community but I found the article very disturbing. Friedman’s story about hundreds of freelancers competing for a very low-paying project demonstrates how desperate people are for work–any work–and how easily this desperation (and talent) can be exploited. E-Lance, O-Desk and Bag-a-Writer, to cite a few examples, are an interesting business model but are a significant barrier to a freelancer’s ability to get paid what s/he is worth. It undermines what we do (writing, design, production, whatever) and defines productivity/profitabilty downward, at least on the freelancer’s side. It’s a good deal for the “employer,” but for the rest of us, not so much. The last thing we want is for the freelance world to replicate the disparities of the “full-employment” environment.

  4. jennifer

    I Find all of these crowdsourcing sites for Graphic Design disgusting!!!! Its a gathering hole for mostly low level designers from fly by night colleges or no degrees at all who cut each others throats slashing prices on jobs just to make a buck!
    If your a cheapskate please go to them and use them, because real designers don’t want to deal with you anyway since you obviously don’t care what the work looks like your just cheap. You get what you pay for remember that!