More and more freelancers?

It seems like at least once a week, there’s another article in a major paper predicting and/or observing the rise of the self employed.

We’ve seen it coming for more than 5 years, when in 2008 we launched the first Creative Freelancer Conference.

Today, there is an article in the Business section of the NY Times called, “The Rise of the Independent Work Force” by Alexandra Levit, in which she links to our longtime and steadfast partner, The Freelancers Union, as an excellent resource and offers tips for those just taking the reins of their own self employment:

“Brand yourself as a contributor that any organization would love to hire. Create strong profiles on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, and build an eye-catching Web site around your personal domain name. Learn about client recruitment and retention from other sales people and business owners, and incorporate their techniques.”

(BTW You can learn all of these things at the next Creative Freelancer Conference in Boston, June 21-22.)

And recently there was another article in the Orange County Register, focusing on the rise of Baby Boomers in this category and citing a study done by consulting firm, MBO Partners. “More than 4.7 million Baby Boomers are independent contractors with another 8 million considering such non-permanent employment.” They predict another 2 million will join in within 2 years.

“In the face of recent financial uncertainty and a tumultuous job market, many in the boomer generation have turned adversity into opportunity and taken charge of their lives by working independently,” said MBO Partners CEO, Gene Zaino.

Indeed we have seen more and more “veterans” posting on this blog and attending recent Creative Freelancer Conferences (next one is this June 21-22 in Boston, BTW).

Call us what you will — freelancers, independent contractors, the self employed or temps — there’s no doubt in my mind that our ranks are growing as the economy shifts and changes.

What do you see?

3 thoughts on “More and more freelancers?

  1. Matt

    Well, besides unemployment and inflation (more DIY), while those could be some of the current catalysts, I think it’s also been a long time coming. You could say the internet helps with your basic distribution, leaving more time and resources for your creative talents. How that’s actually done is another story but nevertheless it is a change that should have much more value, hopefully it’s getting better.

    But also from if or once people succeed, I think chances of them ever going back to non-freelancing are about nil. Maybe if only to lick their wounds a bit from one detour or endeavor too many but that’s it, once you get a taste of more control of your life, hard to give it up again quite so easily.

  2. Stacey

    I agree with Matt. I attribute part of the growth in freelance to our need for work-life balance. Boomers are beginning to realize what Generations X and Y already figured out, and that is that traditional employment does not have to remain the standard; reasonably intelligent people can make their own work-life rules in this regard. Employers are realizing that as well, thus all the telecommute positions that are cropping up; they’re bending to accommodate the new employment mindset. Hell, they have to.

  3. Mark

    I’ve been a freelancer for the last 25 years. I have a client that has kept me somewhat employed 3-4 days a week for the last 15 years. Even though I have an office at home, I have to work on site. Their schedule for me is so irregular that it makes it real difficult to have other clients. I make enough money to survive, but have never made enough to survive and have health insurance, disability insurance or a retirement plan. So here I am at 57, downwardly mobile, no health insurance, no prospect of retiring and way too old for most 30 somethings to consider hiring. My BIG regret is that I didn’t get a real job with benefits and a retirement plan. I don’t know where I’ll end up… best guess is a cardboard box under a freeway overpass. My advice to you hipsters is… get a real job before you end up like me.