Last year, it was estimated that two million people in the UK are freelancers, and that number continues to rise. What’s more, as freelancing enables you to work globally, the global marketplace is approximately 75 million freelancers. That’s a large pool, and it begs the question: is freelancing still worth it? With freelancers from various economies all competing for the same work, it also raises the question of whether freelancers are all competing on price? So today, we’ll consider these two questions.
Is it all about price?
In any market—whether you’re buying batteries, looking for a plumber, or perusing holiday deals— you’ll find a range of options from cheap and cheerful to high-end luxury. This is because there are various ways to compete, and price is just one of them. There’s also quality, quantity, speed, precision, value, and so on. It’s the same with freelancing. Just because some people are competing on price doesn’t mean you should avoid the market altogether.
Freelance myths and assumptions
When you look at some of the generalist freelancing sites, it might seem on the surface like everyone is competing on price, because there are certainly freelancers offering ludicrously cheap deals. However, not all freelancers try to compete on price—many compete on quantity and value added. There are also a lot of generic assumptions and myths about freelancing that might lead people to this perception, for example:
- Most clients have extremely low budgets and are only paying peanuts.
- Most freelancers are charging bottom-of-market rates and low-balling the competition.
- The freelance marketplace is oversaturated.
In reality, this isn’t the case.
So what is the case?
- Yes, some clients are only willing to pay extremely low prices for freelancers. However, not all buyers are looking for the cheapest deal; many are looking for quality and will pay more for highly-skilled independent workers. There are plenty of well-paying freelance clients out there.
- Yes, some freelancers are offering bottom-of-market prices. However, this doesn’t mean all clients will go for this, especially if their ROI is looking poor. Low prices can reflect a lack of quality or skills. In addition, entry-level freelancers can expect to earn less than more experienced ones, so low prices can mean a lack of experience.
- Yes, there are millions of freelancers in the world, but they’re not all offering the same service, experience level, knowledge, skills, or traits. Every freelancer is different, and every client isn’t looking for the same thing. Plus, there are millions of clients looking for freelancers, so there’s plenty of work to go around.
How should you compete?
Since there are various points of comparison, it’s up to you to figure out where and how best you can compete. For some freelancers, this will be industry experience, for others it will be specialist skills, and for others it will be personality factors. This means you need to be clear about your own value, worth, skills, experience, knowledge, and traits.
Is freelancing still worth it?
Bearing all of this in mind, it’s still worth entering the world of freelancing. There are always gaps in the market that haven’t been filled. There are more clients than ever willing to hire freelancers and more ways to find freelance work. There are various ways to compete and establish yourself in the field. If you know how to navigate the freelance world successfully, you can earn a full-time income or more—all while enjoying a better work-life balance and the freedom to control your own time and life.
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