Why Are More People Becoming Freelancers?

If you read the news each week, it seems like more and more people are making the move to freelancing. According to recent reports, there are over two million freelancers in the UK, and that number has risen steadily since 2001. The number of side hustlers has increased by 32% in the last ten years. What’s more, if surveys are to be believed, 71% of the current UK employed workforce would consider starting their own business or becoming a freelancer (PPH, 2018). So why is that?

Why are employees considering making the switch?

Several surveys have looked into why so many people are turning to freelancing. The recent PPH study found that employees are considering becoming freelancers due to:

  1. No access to flexible working options (68%)
  2. No passion for their job (62%)
  3. Lack of praise for their work (57%)
  4. Excessively long working hours (57% working 36-60 hours per week)

A Consultancy UK poll found that employees were interested in freelancing as it offered the following:

  1. New skills for a secure future (59%)
  2. Earn more and improve quality of life (54%)
  3. Sharpen under-utilised skills (50%)
  4. Build professional network (42%)

What do people want from work?

As such, the studies suggest that the reason employees might switch to freelancing is because their employers aren’t offering them what they really want from the workplace. And what is it that people want from work? Several studies have found that the top three things people want from work, be it employment or freelancing, are:

  1. Something they are passionate about (43%)
  2. Better work/life balance (39%)
  3. Flexible working hours (32%)

What motivates freelancers to freelance?

It seems that freelancing offers these three important factors more than employment does, which could explain why freelancers are more motivated than employees. In fact, in several surveys of existing freelancers, their top motivating factors for freelancing are commonly:

  1. Being your own boss (freedom/control).
  2. Work-life balance.
  3. Flexible working hours.
  4. Better earnings.
  5. More interesting challenges.
  6. Skills relevant to the work.

Likewise, in the Consultancy UK poll, freelancers found the following the most valuable about freelancing:

  1. Flexibility (79%)
  2. Job fulfilment (42%)
  3. Control of destiny (30%)
  4. Exciting work (30%)
  5. Earning more (28%)

In other words, freelancing fulfils the major things that people are looking for in their working lives, and more.

Why are more people considering freelancing now?

Since the modern conception of freelancing (i.e. not the free-lance-for-hire medieval kind) started to boom in the early 2000s, it’s continued to grow as a career choice. And why is that? Well, there’s a range of factors, but common ones include:

  • Rapid increases in technology that make remote work possible and easier to complete.
  • The growing availability of freelance work as more companies are willing to use freelancers, rather than just hiring in-house employees.
  • The rise of freelancing platforms offering a variety of generalist and specialist work, which makes freelance work much easier to find.

It’s likely that for most freelancers, a variety of these factors contributed to their decision.

What made you want to become a freelancer? Get in touch or comment below.

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