If you haven't heard, the "gig economy" is all the rage these days. Brands of all kinds are increasingly turning to freelancers to pick up the slack on specific projects. And it's because of people like you — freelance creatives blazing their own trail every day.
As such, you’re in a fantastic position to take advantage of this evolution. By growing your freelance business to attract startups and recruiters, you benefit in more ways than one. If you haven’t taken the plunge — or haven’t fully invested yourself in freelancing yet — here’s six undeniable reasons to grow your freelance business this year.
1. The timing is perfect
The American Dream is transforming to prioritize experiences over material goods and quality of life over quantity of stuff. Most important, the absence of job security opens up new possibilities for a portfolio of gigs to provide a more meaningful and robust sense of income security than any full-time job can.
–Diane Mulcahey, Who Wins in the Gig Economy, and Who Loses, Harvard Business Review
There has never been a better time to be a freelancer. It used to be that you’d graduate from college, get a steady job, and spend the rest of your working life at that company.
Those days are long gone. Most adults now switch careers at least twice in their adult life.
In fact, a recent article on CNN's money blog explained that millennials are switching jobs four times in the first 10 years after graduating college, on average. Plus, more companies are starting to outsource work overseas and hire freelancers or consultants rather than full-time employees.
Because of this shift, it’s estimated that 50 percent of the U.S. workforce will be independent freelancers by 2020, according to Forbes.
Lucky you, you’re already freelancing. Growing your business allows you to take advantage of the changing tides faster than someone who hasn’t built their brand or portfolio yet.
2. The financial perks are undeniable
45 percent of full-time freelancers say they make more money working on their own than they would in a traditional job.
–Mark Peyser, Freelancers Make More Than You Think (and Maybe More Than You), Time
If you’re already making a good income from freelancing, you know that, financially, a freelancing business often makes more sense than a salaried job.
In fact, 45 percent of full-time freelancers say they make more money working on their own than they would in a traditional job. And 2.9 million full-time freelancers report making over $100,000 per year, according to Time.
Growing your business provides you with more opportunities to make money. Better yet, you can start charging higher rates to make more money while taking on less work.
3. You can work where you like
Thanks to our increasingly mobile life, it’s easy to set up an office virtually anywhere — from your living room to your favorite coffee shop down the street. When you shake your full-time job to grow your freelance business, you have more freedom to live your life on your own terms.
If travel is important to you, for example, a freelance business can allow you to visit more places while maintaining your usual work load. I was able to work easily while traveling Europe for three weeks, whether I was in my apartment rental or a nearby café.
This is especially appealing for working parents who need to be there for their children or caretakers that need to work around doctor's appointments. Freelancing gives you complete control over your schedule and, as long as you have internet, you can even get work done while waiting for your kids at school or sitting in a doctor’s office.
4. You have the best boss: you
Autonomy isn’t easy to achieve in a traditional job, but if you’re a freelancer, it becomes one of your biggest perks — it was also cited as one of the greatest factors in job satisfaction in a recent survey.
As a self-employed creative, you’re directly responsible for the work that you do, which can make it more engaging and exciting. (After all, one big gig could take you to the next level if you hit it out of the park.) You also avoid office politics and the constant grind of climbing the leadership ladder.
At the start of your freelancing career, you may have to deal with some less-than-pleasant clients, and some may even micromanage your work. But as you grow and build a stronger brand, you can start to turn these opportunities down.
5. The tax benefits
In the U.S., as a freelancer, you're a business owner in the eyes of the IRS. That brings both complexities and bonuses — one of the later being that you can write off certain expenses as tax-deductible. Some things you can write off include computers, phones, tablets, your car, a portion of your home, travel expenses, books, and memberships to groups and organizations that benefit your business.
On the complexity side, remember that you do need to pay quarterly taxes as a registered business and/or contractor. Check out this list of some of the important tax dates for 2017. Missing a pay date can result in fines, so mark them on your calendar in advance.
For more info on freelancer taxes, check out the Freelancers Union’s Quarterly Tax Guide for Freelancers and the Self-Employed.
There are many benefits to growing your freelance business, from autonomy to flexibility. Live the life you love and make more money by taking your freelance business to the next level this year.