HBR Looks at Freelancing Stars

It’s not surprising that the Harvard Business Review article The Rise of the Supertemp has been sparking passionate discussion since it was published in the May issue. It’s a very inspiring look at the prospects of high-caliber freelancers. That means you, $200KFreelancers.

The article looks at the growing number of highly skilled professionals who are opting for self employment–not because they’ve been forced to but because they see it as a more attractive option than being on staff at a corporation, consultancy or law firm. These folks are aren’t scraping by. They’re thriving in a tough economy.

“At the luxury end of the market, independent talent is defined by special skills, and professionals start to behave as if they were George Clooney: Given a choice, they pursue their own stream of interesting projects,” write Jody Greenstone Miller and Matt Miller. “Thought it may seem strange to compare independent marketing gurus, CFOs, engineers, and consultants to a movie star, talented people are going independent because they can choose what to work on and with whom to work.”

The growth of “supertemps” also reflects the desire of big companies to turn fixed labor costs into variable ones by hiring talent when they need it. Supertemps have recognized this trend–and, instead of falling victim to it, are turning it to their advantage.

The writers also look at some of the obstacles to freelancing, like the limited access to reasonably priced healthcare that independent professionals face, even after passage of the Affordable Care Act, “because big business and big labor joined in Washington’s back rooms to preserve a competitive advantage for large employers on healthcare.”

But they see the possibility of relief: “As more affluent and influential professionals demand the ability to go independent, the politics of this issue will surely shift,” they write. “Until then, it’s a real barrier.”

I’m not holding my breath on the healthcare front. But I hope they’re right.

Meanwhile, there’s a lot of great information in this piece that will help you build a business that’s not only thriving but fun to run.

Have you built a  freelance business that’s growing fast? What strategies are working for you? We’ve been running occasional guest posts and would love to hear from you if you are interested in writing one.





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