In years past, donning the title, “Freelancer,” seemed to strip one of any professional credentials. It disassociated the people who sell their skills independently and contractually from the sense of ingenuity and determination that comprise entrepreneurs. Albeit, freelancing and entrepreneurship are slightly different from one another, so a closer look at recent employer/non-employer business trends should shed some light on the freelance tsunami engulfing our economy.
Employer businesses are companies that the Census Bureau reports have at least one employee while non-employer businesses have no employees. What is concerning economists is the drop from 26.4 percent to 22.4 percent of employers’ share of total business in the U.S. from 1997-2007. At this point, there is no reason to believe that those numbers are going to level out. More over, non-employer businesses are growing. This is tremendous and speaks wonders for the resilience of the people in our country. However, the fact remains that non-employer businesses do not generate the wealth or jobs that employer businesses do. To further the glass-half-empty argument, according to U.S. Census data since 2000 non-employer businesses have dropped approximately 12 percent of their total annual revenue, which was at $50,000 to begin with.
Some believe this trend could be linked to the difficulty of building a business and accommodating employees with benefits such as healthcare plans and 401k options. Not to mention, managing yourself is usually an easier task than managing an office full of people. Nonetheless, this trend is pulling some of the positive aspects away from startups that used to make them so economically desirable. They simply aren’t contributing enough.
But change isn’t always bad and there is definitely something to be excited about here. At least for the freelancers putting food on their tables, which is every American’s right regardless of whether it stimulates the economy or not. Freelancing allows people to pick and choose their greatest assets and then exploit them for profit doing something they’re passionate about. When you are forced to conceptualize your work, do the work, then market it and perpetuate the process, you’ve just ran the same gamut all companies do to be successful. Self-sufficiency is an admirable quality in all other facets of life, why should work be any different?
It’s obvious that while freelancing you don’t have the assurance or security that an on-staff position provides. The nature of freelance requires you to constantly prove yourself, but therefore you also produce the best work. It would be difficult to make a career out of freelancing, especially if you have a family, but if you’re dead-set on gaining a variety of experience and spreading the news on your abilities, then freelancing could be the professional liberation for you.