Who is the Modern Day Freelancer?

by Lynn H

Quick question – what does a freelancer look like?

When you think of a freelancer, you might envision someone sitting at a home computer and writing content, creating graphics or writing a program for a client they have never met. You might also think that freelancing is a relatively new concept.

You might be surprised to learn that freelancing has been around for a long time. In fact, the very word “freelance” comes from Sir Walter Scott’s 1819 book, Ivanhoe. In that book, one feudal lord exclaims, “I offered Richard the service of my Free Lances, and he refused them—I will lead them to Hull, seize on shipping, and embark for Flanders; thanks to the bustling times, a man of action will always find employment.”

Thanks to the bustling times in the gig economy, men and women of action will always find employment as freelancers. Today, 57 million freelancers of action are finding work in the gig economy, according to Forbes. From crafting handmade lances to sell on Etsy to writing content, workers are performing side gigs to add a little cash to their fulltime pay. Many freelancers have embarked for Flanders on their own, and do gig work on a fulltime basis.

There are many benefits to working as a freelancer. Most gig economy workers set their hours, create the rules, make decisions independently, and can pick and choose the clients with which they would like to work – luxuries most traditional employees could never imagine. Many self-employed people make more money doing gigs than they did working for someone else. Plus, there is always a sense of satisfaction in accomplishing something on your own terms.

But being a freelancer is not always easy, and it takes a certain someone to succeed alone.

 

Profile of the Modern Freelancer

Back in Sir Walter’s day, freelancers wore armored skirts and chain mail underwear, rode around on ponies, and tried to poke each other in the eye with long sticks. Today’s freelancers have traded their lances for a computer or other tool and very few freelancers ride horses to work today. Clothing has changed too, although there might be a freelancer or two who still wear armor – some fashions are just too fabulous to give up.

They miss important social events due to work

In a QuickBooks survey of 500 self-employed people age 18 to 54+, nearly 55 percent of respondents said they have missed an important birthday because of work; 16 percent missed a child or spouse’s birthday. Freelance work prevented almost 13 percent from attending a wedding, more than 15 percent from going to a reunion, and more than 14 percent from taking a vacation. More a quarter of respondents said they missed an event once every week.

They worry about money

Except for gig workers aged 18 to 24, freelancers of every age worry about cash flow. In fact, half of the 45- to 50-year-olds name money as their largest concerns, followed by “uncertainty about the future.”

They stay up late and work weekends to get the job done

Twenty-nine percent of freelancers surveyed by QuickBooks say that they work late several times a week. An astounding 61.2 percent of all self-employed individuals say they labor every weekend or every other weekend; specifically 36.5 percent say they toil every weekend and 33.8 work every other weekend.

They are dedicated

The majority of freelancers – 58.55 percent – reported working while on vacation or sick. In fact, 81 percent of gig workers in the survey said that they never take time off for illness.

 

While there are many rewards of being your own boss, it takes a lot of hard work, long hours and dedication to be a successful freelancer. For more information about hiring a freelancer, contact WriterAccess. Armored skirt and chain mail underwear is optional.

Lynn H


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