At this point it’s no scret that freelancing is on the rise. According to a report done last year by MSN, from 2012 to 2013 the rate of self-employed Americans went up 1.2 percent. It’s risen 24 percent since 2003.
Likewise, everywhere I turn lately there’s some new person who quit their job to freelance full-time. As someone who has been freelancing since 2010 and as someone who was a recruiter from 2011 to 2013, it’s been interesting to see the shift going on in the economy.
Granted, I think the shift actually started during the Great Recession. Back when I started in 2010, people were finding ways to make money because regular employment wasn’t available. For many of them, including myself, freelancing became the way out of the Recession.
The success of many of these freelancers has made freelancing go from being a last resort when you can’t find a job to something people are now willingly doing. Here are just a few of the reasons why people are ditching their day jobs to freelance.
Millennials aren’t the only ones who are craving more flexibility in their careers. While they are certainly at the forefront of the movement toward more flexibility in the workplace, other generations are calling for it as well. In fact, this one of the most widely cited reasons as to why people quit their jobs to freelance.
People want the flexibility to telecommute, work when they want, travel and not be bound by a location or time frame. This also helps them show up for things that matter – like when your kid is sick and needs to go to the doctor.
The same MSN report noted how, on average, self-employed individuals make at least double what their regularly employed friends make. According to a recent survey by the Freelancer’s Union, most of the respondents claimed to be making more than they did at their last desk job.
Granted, money isn’t everything. I’ve also met plenty of people who would gladly take a pay cut if it meant they could have more flexibility. However, the opportunity to make more money is present and people know it.
Many people cite more independence as one of the reasons they are quitting their day jobs to pursue freelancing. They don’t want to answer to a boss, have a project forced upon them or ask for permission to do simple things like go to an annual doctor’s appointment.
When I was a recruiter, one of the biggest complaints I would hear from people about their jobs was that they were stagnant and bored. There was no opportunity for growth and they felt like they were wasting away. Many of them have found what they were looking for – independence and new challenges – with freelancing.
All the reasons why people are ditching their day jobs to freelance can be summed up in one word: Freedom. Freedom to do what they want with their time, freedom to make more money, freedom to work from anywhere and freedom to take the the projects they actually want.