The Freelance Headlines: July 2019

breakfast-1869772_1280Last month, we covered the freelance headlines for the first time. As a busy freelancer, with clients to please and invoices to send, you often don’t have time to check the news affecting you. So we decided to make the freelance headings a permanent monthly fixture on A Freelance Life.

#1 The freelance world is growing rapidly

Back in 2017, Upwork reported that by 2030, freelancers would make up 50% of the workforce. However, new data from Fiverr suggests that this might happen sooner. For example, the number of freelancers in the U.S. increased by 14% from 2011 to 2016, which is faster growth than expected.

What this means for you as a freelancer: Growth of the freelance marketplace is both a good and bad thing for freelancers. On one hand, it means more contract and project opportunities, as more clients will look to freelancers to complete work. It also means more freelancing platforms will appear, and potentially will lead to a push for better rights for freelancers. On the other hand, it means more competition, more saturated markets, and the need to develop and improve faster to stay ahead of the competition.

#2 Freelance hiring is more diverse

While the traditional employment world is still dealing with hiring biases, trying to establish effective blind hiring processes, and striving to reflect the diverse communities they serve, the freelance world isn’t struggling with these issues. In fact, studies suggest that freelance platforms have removed many of the issues with hiring, as clients are focused on skills, talent, and experience—rather than location, age, gender, or ethnicity.

What this means for you as a freelancer: This can only be a good thing for freelancers. Clients hiring care less about your background and more about your foreground i.e. what value you can add for them. This means you’re more likely to be competing based on fair factors, rather than ones you can’t control.

#3 Brexit woes for freelancers

With the potential for a no deal Brexit by the end of the year, freelancers are as worried as anyone about the effects of Brexit, only with the additional concern of lack of job security. FCSA and FreeAgent surveyed 500 freelancers on their views regarding Brexit. Only 8% of freelancers feel that Brexit will have a positive impact on their business, while almost half feel that it will have a negative impact. One in eight are planning to stop freelancing or contracting when the IR35 rules come into force in April 2020. And 12% are considering closing down their business, while 13% are looking for freelance work abroad.

What this means for you as a freelancer: Unfortunately, nobody can say for certain whether and how Brexit will affect freelancers, but in the meantime there are things you can do to mitigate the risks, such as building up a solid client base and having emergency savings. If you’re a contract-based freelancer, speak to your client or agency now to discuss the implications of IR35.

#4 Freelancers contributing to the economy

The rapidly growing freelance world is also having a positive effect on the economy. In the UK, freelancers contributed £119bn to the UK economy in 2016, a figure that is growing each year. In the U.S., freelancers contributed over $135 billion in the top 25 markets according to Fiverr. These figures are also having a positive effect on employment rates, with the UK experiencing the lowest unemployment rate since the 70s, at less than 5%.

What this means for you as a freelancer: A thriving economy is better for everyone, though it may not be something you notice directly. A thriving economy leads to improved health, living standards, jobs, and opportunities for all.

Have any of these issues affected you? Comment below or get in touch.

And follow A Freelance Life for more freelance tips and news on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays…


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