Today, 55 million freelancers work independently from home, in coffee shops, offices or park benches. 50% of the economy is estimated to be considered a freelancer by 2020.
Enter the Gig Economy:
“A gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.”
A number of reasons motivate people to work remotely, but 2 driving forces stand out to me:
- The Digital Age — with technology & various landscapes constantly changing, being able to communicate quickly and efficiently allows for the growth of remote work. Working remotely gives freelancers the ability to allot for quick reaction to changes.
- Reduction of Workforce — in this digital age, companies are constantly looking for ways to automate processes and minimize payroll. This makes it much harder for Gen-Xs to enter the workforce. But freelancers are at an advantage to be mobile and find work freely.
Currently 1 in 3 people work independently and this spans all industries. While it started in the tech industry, the Gig Economy has entered many other service industries with tools such as Uber, Etsy and Airbnb.
Oddly enough, only 15% (approximately 8 million) use digital platforms Uber, Etsy, etc. The rest (47 million) rely on traditional word-of-mouth and their portfolios to find work. More often than not, their reputation proceeds them and these freelancers are able to hop from one job to another fairly quickly. So how can we help these traditional freelancers network? Current digital tools have not been able to accomplish this.
In the last 10 years, we definitely have seen the growth and development of more digital platforms. Upwork, Fiverr, Etsy, Uber, Airbnb are just a few that come to mind. While working from Starbucks may seem ideal, there are still downfalls to freelancing, such as protecting the freelancer themselves from bad pays, poor communication and the lack of benefits. Freelancers will tell you that it doesn’t matter though and the perks outweigh the downfalls.
Soon, if not already, companies will start looking for the best employees. They will want the brightest pieces to put together the puzzle. As the landscape continues to change, we will see more and more hire on-the-go. It is the only way to adapt. With technological advancements comes opportunity and more growth. Already, remote work is up 40% year over year. The Gig Economy is the future. The future is the #FreelanceEconomy.
Luxembourg Income Study Database, August 2015
The current distribution of wealth is sickening. Economic inequality is due to the concentration of wealth producing capital in just a few hands. So lets spread that wealth and help millions of people become micro entrepreneurs and realize the American Dream.