The State of Freelancers on International Freelancers Day

As you may know if you’re on the same email lists as I am, today is International Freelancers Day. I’m going to set aside some time to attend the free, virtual International Freelancers Day Conference, which has some interesting sessions on getting your creativity flowing, improving your sales strategies, crafting proposals, thriving as a free agent and more. Registration is now closed, but you can sign up on the site to get session replays.

It’s hard to make time to attend events like this. But when I went to a taekwondo class with my daughter last night, I was reminded of why it’s important. I’m usually the worst student in this martial arts class, which consists a rotating cast of students who are mostly teen-age boys. (“Well, you’re not always the worst,” my daughter said last night. Yes, I know. Occasionally a new student joins, and has not learned any of the moves yet). Honestly, it’s a little discouraging to do something, week after week, that I’m not good at. But every once in a while, I make some progress, and it reminds me that it’s possible to master things that are way outside of pursuits I’ve worked on for decades, like writing.

With our economy and technologies changing fast, we all need to keep our mindset fresh, take risks and keep our skills sharp–and sometimes, break away from our core areas of expertise. So I’m going to keep trying to learn taekwondo…and try to attend more professional development events this year, too.

Ed Gandia, the freelance guru who organized the conference, commissioned some research that was published last month on freelancers that may interest you.  Nearly 1,500 freelancers in 50 different fields were interviewed for the survey. The vast majority were based in North America, and the most commonly represented professions were designers, writers, editors, translators and web developers.

Here are some interesting statistics:

* 65.5% are full-time freelancers, with no other day job

* 47.2% are the primary income earner in their household

* The biggest reason for going freelance was to have a more flexible schedule (cited by 28%)

* 64.1% of women and 55.4% of men said they were happier since they started freelancing.

* 59.9% get paid flat project fees; 34.5% charge by the hour.

*38.3% now earn more than they did in traditional jobs in the same field. Software developers, virtual assistants and designers are most likely to exceed their past salaries.

*  The most common hourly rate is $70 to $79 an hour (cited by 17.2%). (There are some fascinating survey results on what people in various fields, from copy writer to business consultant, charge per hour).

* 20.8% said finding clients was their biggest challenge.

If you’re interested in learning more about how other freelancers work, you’ll probably find this report as compelling as I did.









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