The Freelancer’s Advantage

by Jay Deragon on 01/25/2013

Advantage is defined as any state, circumstance, opportunity, or means especially favorable to success, interest, or any desired end.  In the current and foreseeable future economies freelancers have an advantage.

AIC AdvantageTom Watson writes in Forbes: The gig economy. The freelance economy. Independent labor. You’ve heard the buzzwords for years. More Americans are working for themselves than ever before, a trend that says as much about the future of full-time work in large enterprises as it does about lifestyle choices among freelancers.

Yet, the contribution of this expanding section of the workforce can’t really be overstated. And when the Federal Reserve Bank of New York  named Freelancers Union founder and executive director Sara Horowitz to its board of directors last week, it quietly sent a signal that the role of the third of all Americans classified as “independent workers” is growing in the quasi-public halls of big finance. As businesses re-examine resources, the number of professionals who defined themselves as freelancers has increased to over 40 million in the United States alone, and many of them turned to social-networking sites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, to build their businesses.

Call them entrepreneurs, solopreneurs or simply self-employed the landscape of Freelancers has become a critical force of time, talent and value to the American enterprise system.

What Are The Advantages?

For corporations the primary advantages for use of freelancers is obvious:

  1. Lower cost of onboarding
  2. No health Insurance cost or unemployment benefits
  3. No employment contracts
  4. No office space, cell phone, computer or supply expenses
  5. On demand sourcing of specialty skills
  6. Variable vs. fixed human resource cost

For Freelancers the primary advantages include:

  1. Flexible work hours, no dress codes and less time commuting
  2. Use of primary skills and knowledge inventory
  3. Work at home or in “freelancer hangouts”
  4. Diverse streams of income rather than single source
  5. Networking with other freelancers thus increasing the pools of opportunities
  6. Freedom from corporate BS, cubicles and power games

Some freelancers build small companies while most remain as solo-preneurs. Age doesn’t matter however the majority of freelancer’s age range is 25 – 35.  The 35+ crowd of Freelancers are usually those who by necessity of being unemployed simply hung up a digital “for hire” sign and found opportunities through their networks. There are both advantages and disadvantages of being a Freelancer.

The disadvantages include uncertainty and the high cost of health insurance. However, such disadvantages also ring true for employees of corporations. Freelancers enjoy the advantages and soon learn the disadvantages are easy to overcome simply because of the freedoms gained.  After all, freedom is a major motivator for the human network and a serious advantage for those that find it.

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