Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of professionals pivoted their careers toward industries that weren't impacted by the downturn in business and could be done virtually. Freelancing presented enormous opportunities that would have otherwise remained unavailable previously, such as added job flexibility and creative freedom. In addition to providing additional income, these positions made it easier to manage time between professional and family obligations.
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Are you wondering what the future of the gig economy holds and how you navigate it to maximize your potential for success? Continue reading to learn how to thrive in the gig economy, how much freelancers make, and the most sought-after, top-paying positions in the rapidly growing world of freelancing.
Is Freelancing the Future?
As you may know, the pandemic forced many employers to transition their employees to fully remote positions. What wasn’t expected was this new workplace preference to become a trend for years to come. Having been exposed to the luxuries of the work-from-home model, more than 65 percent of full-time workers prefer to remain remote post-pandemic. Why? With the autonomy to build a flexible work schedule, your mental health and wellness can be more easily prioritized throughout the week.
However, it’s important to note that there are industries not allowing this job status change, which has sparked an increase in freelance work. In addition to the number of people who lost their jobs due to the effect of COVID-19, these limitations caused a rise in the desire for freelance positions. At the gig economy’s current rate of expansion, the U.S. is expected to have a workforce made up of more than 50 percent fully remote workers by 2027.
Related reading: “Working from Home? How to Organize Everyday Life with Work and Family.”
Keys to Capitalize on the Gig Economy
The gig economy is a unique job market. It can be viewed as intimidating because your success relies heavily on your professionalism and work experience. Still, it can also be reinvigorating because you can function as your own boss. Having some guidance on how to navigate the market to set yourself up successfully can make the transition much easier.
Below are some tips to keep in mind when first starting out as a freelancer searching for or working on a new gig.
Know What Type of Freelancer You Are
Take some time to consider the type of freelancer you’ll be before deciding to pursue this profession. As a gig worker, you can function as an independent worker or contingent worker. Independent workers, also known as freelancers, are responsible for performing their own services and billing practices for clients. Contingent workers have an overarching employer but have the job flexibility to work independently. These positions often have fewer benefits and little job security compared to regular employees.
Establishing routines for day-to-day job functions as freelancers or budding entrepreneurs will help promote focus, productivity, and performance. However, it can be challenging to remain on task when first starting out as your own boss. The new liberty of getting to choose what and when you do things can be tricky, especially if you’re accustomed to extrinsic motivation. Creating daily schedules and priority to-do lists will help add a bit of accountability to complete what you want to get done.
Find Passion Projects
Choose the clients you want by only selecting projects that you are passionate about. If you can find a client project that aligns with your interests and values, then you’ll likely produce better quality work, which can help to establish them as returning customers while also getting referrals. Plus, there’s nothing better than being able to say you are absolutely in love with and passionate about all the work you get to do.
One downside to working as a freelancer is the limited human interaction. It’s essential to prioritize going out of your way to make new professional contacts and build quality relationships. Try frequenting co-working spaces or coffee shops with like-minded professionals. You may be able to collaborate with fellow freelancers who could offer helpful insight into a project you’re working on.
How Much Do Freelancers Make?
Anyone would want a career in a field that guaranteed their ability to control when and where they worked. However, the real question is whether that profession will allow you to make an honest living to support yourself and your family. Freelancing is many things, one of which being unpredictable. The average salary for a freelancer in the U.S. is $63,448, according to freelancer statistics by ZipRecruiter.
This figure is significantly higher than the averages of most other countries, and it’s important to note that not all professionals will be able to earn this much, especially just starting out. Actual salaries and compensation vary depending on the industry, billing method, and professional experience.
Top 5 Highest Paying Freelance Jobs of 2021
The good news about pursuing independent work is that most industries hire freelancers for their services. With a global economy generating vast opportunities virtually, there are plenty of choices, yet typically some positions earn more than others. Continue below to learn the most profitable freelance jobs.
Social Media Specialist
Social media specialists are responsible for managing various tasks and projects such as content creation, media planning, and brand management. Professionals in this field should have proficient reading, writing skills and be well-versed in social media strategies and techniques. The average salary for this position is $45,631.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialists optimize their clientele’s content to help them reach the top rankings on highly used search engines such as Google and YouTube. This specific niche is profitable because most businesses want to increase their visibility online to see a return on their investment of an online presence. The average salary for this position is $59,871.
Freelance web designers work with clients to outline, create, and code web pages. This profession requires extensive knowledge in UX design, coding, and web design in order to be successful. Those interested will have a passion for design, experience with basic SEO principles, and the ability to create on multiple platforms. The median annual salary for this position is $77,200.
Copywriters are particularly known for being freelancers making a good chunk of change. As a copywriter, you’ll write on a wide variety of topics spanning several industries, depending on a client’s needs at the time. Expect to create blog and social media posts, web pages, scripts, and email marketing campaigns. One of the best parts about being a copywriter is that it’s in high demand, additionally, mostly anyone can obtain work and increase their earning potential if they are a good writer. The median salary for this position is $67,120.
Every company producing products meant for consumption needs a team to do the selling. Freelance sales specialists are able to work anywhere in the world to give presentations, email prospective clients, and manage inventory levels. Professionals in this field should have experience making cold calls and be resilient to the rejection incurred to be truly successful.
Understanding the gig economy and how to successfully maneuver a freelancing career is no easy challenge. However, if one thing has been proven true over the past couple of years, it’s that today’s professionals are as resilient as ever. Unforeseen challenges are met with new innovative solutions and agility that improve industries for the better and make our personal lives more enjoyable. With the growing gig economy, we can be certain that workers are going to be diligent in finding their own avenues for success.
Related reading: "Why Time Management for Moms Is a Myth"
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