Freelancer, Contractor, Entrepreneur: Why These Titles Are On The Rise and What You Need To Consider
Every Monday (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday...) I dread 6:00 am. The alarm goes off. I'm awake by then, however, that alarm means its "go time." It's time to rush around to get ready to sit in traffic for over an hour, to sit at a job I hate, then to drive another hour home to my temporary oasis. At night, I hunt, like a starving lion, except my prey is any potential match on Linkedin/Indeed/Monster.
I have dreamed of starting my own business since I was little. Yet, everything that I think of seems not realistic. I once thought it would be cool to build, and sell, space shuttles. Yes, I was 8, and had no knowledge on engineering, but my dreams have always been lofty. More recently, I've started looking around into freelance situations. Yet, what does that truly mean?
As technologies continue to develop, more and more people are choosing to give up their typical 40 hour work week. In fact, an independent study commissioned by Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk found that in 2014 there were 53 million Americans working as freelancers, roughly 33% of the population. They believe that by 2020 half of the population will work as freelancers, contractors and entrepreneurs. The report broke down freelancers into several groups: independent contractors, moonlighters, temp workers, diversified workers and business owners. What do these titles mean?
- An independent contractor is basically a fancy phrase for saying "freelancer." People with this title do not have a steady employer. They work on various projects. This is there full time job, and they must be great at what they do to produce an income.
- A moonlighter typically is a person that works a regular job, but works as a freelancer on time off (think nights and weekends). A moonlighter may see their freelance business as a part-time gig.
- Temp workers are workers who may/may not have a typical job, but they take on a project for a set length in time. They may work on this project full-time, but it is temporary.
- A diversified worker has many things going on. They may work multiple part time jobs, freelance, invest etc. Their income streams are diversified, and thus the monetary risk involved in each activity is limited.
- According to the study, a business owner freelancer is still someone who freelances, but owns a similar small business.
Freelancing could be a worker's dream. No rigid hours. No dealing with negative co-workers. No nasty daily commute. You run the show. You are the boss. You produce income for YOU! Yet, there are many things that may not be so ideal.
- Finding the project(s). You have to go out and network yourself and your skill. If you don't, you will not have money coming in
- The money is not consistent. In a typical work situation, you know what to expect out of every paycheck, and when to expect it. As a freelancer, there will not be a constant money flow. One month you may make $12,000 and then the next month you may make $0. A freelancer must have discipline to realize to budget the money flows.
- There are no employee benefits. Given you work for yourself, it is your job to finance your medical insurance. Also, you will not have access to a 401(K), and forget about PTO.
- You have to be a people person and know how to "sell" yourself. Furthermore, to get hired, someone has to have confidence that you can truly do the job.
- Can you think of any other possible cons of being a freelancer?
There are many websites that you can go to try to market yourself as a freelancer such as Freelancers Union, Peopleperhour, Guru and Upwork. I have listed these sites below. If you are like me, you could look into side gigs to see if you can make enough to eventually put in an official two-week notice. I would love to hear about your ideas and experiences.