Today’s workforce has seen a shift away from the standard job with fixed salary and paid holidays. For many reasons, more people than ever are choosing a freelance career.
Employers should be aware of this growing trend and how they can tap into this talent pool. As the founder of a coworking space in Elizabethtown, I’ve seen firsthand how well freelancing works in the Lincoln Trail region. We have plethora of talented, creative workers who want to continue living in relatively small communities yet still be a part of exciting technology and developments. Our freelancers are involved in major ideas and innovation that affect projects throughout the world.
Nearly 54 million workers – 34 percent of the workforce – in the United States are freelancers, according to Freelancing in America. They are finding freelance and contract work satisfies their entrepreneurial spirit, and they appreciate the autonomy to choose their own projects and set their own schedule, which allows for a better work-life balance.
Some of the most popular freelancing work includes countless creative avenues such as photography, videography, web development and design and marketing. But from administrative work to information technology to transportation, we’re seeing this sort of small-scale entrepreneurship in a growing number of fields.
These skill offerings are especially helpful for small businesses that may not have the funds to hire full-time staff. For instance, hiring a contracted freelance web developer allows them to save money and still remain competitive and current.
Also, hiring self-employed workers lets employers conduct a long interview, so to say. Pressure is relieved from the hiring process because freelancers usually are contracted for a set amount of time. If an employer is satisfied with the job done and feel the freelancer would be a good fit for their company, they always can offer permanent employment. This creates less risk.
Additionally, independent workers allow employers access to exciting, fresh ideas by integrating different professionals into their work environment.
Another reason to make use of the growing trend of gig economy is for a business to create more revenue streams. For example, a restaurant may rent out a private space for events, and then outsource a freelance photographer. The client will be more satisfied with the full-service nature of the company, and that helps the business grow.
Freelancers see themselves as entrepreneurs. An employer should understand they probably are not a freelancer’s only client. After all, working for multiple clients provides the variety that first attracted many professionals to freelance work. At the same time, working for multiple clients builds the unique expertise from which businesses can benefit.
Experts across the country predict the gig economy will become more prevalent. That’s an exciting forecast as it will offer new opportunities, flexibility and innovative ideas to workers and businesses alike.
Jack Daniel Taylor is president of Jack and Company, partner in Couch Picture Productions and founder of Coworking of Elizabethtown.