A November 2018 survey gathered responses from nearly 1,000 freelancers about key topics related to their freelance career, lifestyle, and workstyle. Based on this survey, the profile of the average worker who freelances as their sole source of income is a female Gen Xer working in the writing, marketing, editing, and creative career fields, primarily for small companies and individuals, juggling 2-3 gigs at a time. She freelances by choice, has been freelancing for at least three years although has also worked at a traditional company, and envisions continuing her freelance career for the long-term.
“Some might think the freelance economy is growing because workers can’t find traditional jobs, but recent studies clearly indicate that workers are freelancing more and more out of choice—they are proactively opting out of the traditional workforce,” said Sara Sutton, founder and CEO of FlexJobs. “This growing interest in and passion for the freelance economy is yet another indication that the 9-5 office arrangement isn’t compatible with much of the workforce’s lifestyle.
Watch out if you use freelancers in California! A recent California Supreme Court case has made it even harder for employers to classify workers as independent contractors.
The California Supreme Court has found that a hiring entity, in order to prove that an independent contractor is not an employee, must establish each of the three factors embodied in the ABC test—namely, that the worker:
A. Is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact;
B. Performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
C. Is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.
More highlights from workers that freelance as their sole source of income:
- More members of Gen Xers (35%) and the Baby Boomer generation (33%) are freelancing as their sole source of income than Millennials (22%)
- The majority choose to freelance rather than have a traditional office job (63%)
- Only 19% work more than 40 hours a week (average American works 44 hours/week)
- 40% have 2-3 active gigs at one time; 23% focus on one gig at a time
- 83% do most of their work at home, not at a coffee shop or co-working space
- One-quarter make more money as a freelancer than they did working a traditional job
- Even though 52% make less money as a freelancer than they did working a traditional job, 68% of those folks are less stressed
- The biggest challenges are finding clients and predictable income flow
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