In times of economic stress the freelancer economy expands, bringing with it new opportunities to reimagine your career.
Industries hit hard by COVID shutdowns are drastically reducing their headcount and with the end of JobKeeper last month another 150,000 jobs are at risk of disappearing.
In response, millions of workers around the world began freelancing for the first time, as a way to insulate themselves against the economic uncertainty.
In other parts of the economy, new work opportunities are opening up. The nation-wide shift to remote work has opened up more opportunities for digital workers to work when and how they want to.
These changes ushered in during COVID have forever changed the nature of employment, providing alternative paths to success and career development.
The rise in the number of freelancers shows that the nature of work is shifting in Australia. Many people are choosing to work for themselves and businesses are increasingly relying on freelancers to provide skills and services.
According to research from the analyst firm Gartner, many organisations responded to the pandemic’s impact by reducing their freelancer budgets, but there has since been a shift.
Businesses will continue to expand their use of contractors to maintain more flexibility in workforce management post-COVID.
At Fiverr we have witnessed a surge in demand for freelancer services over the past year, as businesses both offline and online look to incorporate project-based talent to solve skills and resourcing gaps needed to drive projects forward.
This is coupled with record sign-up numbers and gig creations as skilled professionals look to alternate sources of income. This period of economic recovery has ignited a wave of activity across the job market.
While workers were unlikely to leave their jobs in the height of the pandemic, after a year to reassess their working lives, we are seeing an increase in turnover as well as more people making the jump to entrepreneurship.
These forces have created a booming market for freelancers, and the ecosystem is ripe for new entrants to take advantage of these trends to advance their careers and use their entrepreneurial spirit to earn an income as their own boss.
Career paths are no longer linear and the days of sticking it out working for one company are long gone. Technology has given employees more choice, freedom, and flexibility over their careers than traditional employment.
As a result, more workers are choosing to take unconventional paths to achieve career satisfaction. Freelancing provides income diversification, schedule flexibility, increased productivity, and the freedom to work wherever you want to.
It also provides the opportunity to hone your professional skills quickly by working with a range of clients and projects. This widespread exposure to different experiences enables freelancers access to growth opportunities faster compared to any full-time job.
For workers who are upskilling or pivoting into a new industry or role, freelance gigs are also an opportunity to experiment with new skill sets. With the rise of online education platforms, it is easier than ever before to acquire new knowledge-based skills.
Freelance workers are empowered with invaluable personal data that can be used to help make future career decisions, whether it be to pursue a traditional role or move a side hustle into a full-time job.
Skills to master
While their motivations for choosing a freelance path may vary—such as wanting a challenge, a creative outlet or to bring in some extra cash—most freelancers have a strong entrepreneurial streak that makes them successful.
As well as their primary work, freelancers gain additional skills in bookkeeping, time management, and pricing and selling their services to clients.
The sporadic nature of freelance work can create cash flow issues, requiring close attention and resourcefulness when it comes to managing finances.
Being a successful freelancer also requires excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to deal with different kinds of situations. All of these factors make people more resilient and creative; two skills that are in high demand in the post-pandemic world.
The working lives of Australians were upended during 2020. This disruption has accelerated trends towards remote work and more flexible work arrangements.
At the same time businesses are relying more and more on independent contractors to help fill resource gaps.
As Australia begins to recover from the impacts of COVID, skilled independent freelancers will play a vital role in the country’s recovery and future of work post-COVID.
This new world of work offers great opportunities for savvy operators. Freelance gives workers the skills they need to create a pandemic-proof career.