Let’s Talk About Freelancers: The Opportunities and Risks in 2021

    With companies having to cut jobs, diversify, and handle more customers or clients than ever before all at the same time – there’s a gap (frankly, a dark and deep chasm) that needs to be filled. Who handles short-term projects, seeing companies don’t have skilled full-time employees for all jobs? The freelancer.

    As a result, freelancing has grown in popularity over the years and now many companies are beginning to outsource entire departments. While that may seem exciting, there are still some risks to being a freelancer that need to be strongly considered.

    Alt – 2021 offers plenty of freelancing opportunities. Link.

    The First Thing to Consider is Supply and Demand

    Although the demand for freelancers has increased quite handsomely, the supply has also fattened. Nearly all positions and opportunities on freelancing platforms have plenty of professionals to choose from.

    This has led to many freelancers never securing a contract and having the majority of the work go to a concentrated group at the top. With an ever-inflating freelancer supply, it’s hard to stand out or get enough work for many freelancers.

    So, even though it feels like a no-brainer to assume that with increasing demand, the freelancers of the world are doing much better – reality would suggest otherwise. The job losses amid the pandemic don’t help either, pushing more professionals to seek refuge on freelancing platforms.

    Payments

    One thing that has surely improved amid the increased demand (and supply) of freelancers is choosing an ideal payment method. Certain projects can only be done at a one-time cost. But for nearly everything else, hourly pricing helps the freelancer more in the case of additional changes or revisions.

    In many cases, hourly rates also inspire a feeling of relief for the buyer. For example, imagine a buyer’s project that doesn’t necessarily have that many nuances and can be done swiftly by a professional. No need to invest in expensive $500 packages when you can hire a freelancer for $50 per hour.

    On the other hand, the freelancer can get their worth – nothing more, nothing less. Samuel Adams, the Managing Director of the digital marketing brand Promo Leads, rightly points out that “once you eliminate all kinds of middlemen and leave the communication to the service giver and the service receiver, pricing can work out more fairly.” Hence, there aren’t many losers. Not to mention that it makes the life of freelancers easier and more financially stable. How?

    Say, a full-time freelancer adds up the daily living costs (bills, rent, food, clothing), savings goals, and any entertainment expenses to come up with a monthly expense (let’s say they come up with $3,000 – which was the median US wage in 2019).

    This 3,000 is then divided by 200 (roughly the work hours, 25 days times 8 hours). Ergo, 3,000 bucks to be made in 200 hours – $15 per hour. This way a freelancer can arrive at an hourly rate that’s deserved – in a more scientific, trustworthy, and explainable way than “I feel I should charge $200 for this”.

    Employers are Pickier Than Ever

    Alt – Clients have become pickier and more informed. Link.

    When it comes to finding a freelancer, employers are more informed than ever. For example, suppose a client has a logo design requirement for their new website project. On a spectrum from “I’ll know it when I see it” to “I specifically need a logo based on basic shapes, minimally created, with shades of brown, and bold sans-serif type – and here are a few references” – they’re quickly moving towards the latter. 

    What does this newfound wisdom mean for the freelancer?

    • Is the time of the add-ons gone? Buyers now know specifically what they are looking for. When hiring a video editor, they might be familiar with common terms such as timelines or dissolves already. This is a consequence of more and more buyers hiring freelancers and familiarizing themselves with the lingo, sometimes unknowingly. As they’re better equipped with information on the process, you cannot oversell. “High-quality version of the logo included” can now easily be countered with “I need the open file anyway, and why would you intentionally downgrade the quality before sending it to me?”.

    Cutting corners isn’t feasible anymore: Freelancers have already been in abundance. Now, even more than ever before, there’s simply no scope for cutting corners or doing a half-hearted job. Clients know and expect certain things and if you fail to meet an expectation then a quick goodbye is in order.

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