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Joe Szynkowski: How – and why – to start a freelance business

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When I ghostwrote the book “Freelance Nation” back in 2015, the gig worker was just beginning to be recognized as a viable professional.

Six years and a global pandemic later, today’s businesses are relying more and more on freelance workers to deliver agile thinking, produce quicker outcomes, and round out their teams.

Today, 25-35% of American workers engage in non-standard or gig work on a supplementary or primary basis, according to data compiled by the Aspen Institute. About 1 in 10 workers identify as primarily gig workers, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics.

And an astounding 77% of executives believe freelance and gig workers will substantially replace full-time employees within the next four years, according to Mercer’s Global Talent Trends.

As the corporate structure continues to evolve toward a more hybrid structure, workers will continue to enjoy a shift in power that forces employers to be more flexible and accommodating toward their people – whether they are full-time, W2 employees or freelance contractors.

Make more money

When freelancing first started gaining popularity with the .com boom, gig workers were considered a source of cheaper labor. Companies viewed freelancers as “extra” and therefore dispensable and less deserving of a regular, professional wage.

Enter the freelance flip

Gig workers are now being handpicked by leadership teams to solve specific problems within their organizations. Half of freelancers provide skilled services such as computer programming, marketing, information technology, and business consulting, up from 45% in 2019, according to UpWork’s Freelance Forward: 2020 study.

Enjoy flexibility

Three in four gig workers say being an independent worker provides them with the flexibility they need to better manage their personal and work lives, according to MetLife.

And two-thirds of non-freelancers say they would consider freelancing as a career option to take care of a family member, according to UpWork.

The beauty of freelancing is you can work 80 hours one week and 10 hours the next. As long as you’ve got a good handle on your debt-to-income needs, and ensure proper healthcare coverage for your family, freelancing can provide ultimate flexibility.

How to start freelancing

All of this extra attention being paid to freelancers begs the question: Why aren’t you taking advantage? If you find yourself dissatisfied with your work, there’s a whole new freelance world waiting for you – one that rewards your hard work and puts you back in the driver’s seat of your career.

Here are some of the top freelance jobs you can do from home, according to the online job search help site, The Balance Careers:

• Writing

• Editing and proofreading

• Marketing and public relations

• Transcription

• Data entry

• Virtual assistant

• Call center service

• Online tutoring

I started my freelance writing business in 2008 as I was still trying to figure out what to do when I grew up. The past 13 years of my professional career have included full-time corporate jobs, as well as full-time freelance engagements.

There are obviously benefits to both types of employment but for my goals, freelancing just makes sense.

Once you find your niche and identify an audience that will actually pay for your products or services, you can work on slowly and steadily growing your portfolio by delivering consistent, quality work.

Freelancing equals freedom. What are you waiting for?

Joe Szynkowski is the happy founder and owner of The UpWrite Group, a small local firm that has offered corporate communications, personal branding, public relations, and ghostwriting services since 2008. Email Joe@TheUpWriteGroup.com for more information.

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