3 Reasons Why Freelance Entrepreneurs Will Dominate the United States Job Market in 2019

The era of “gig economy” is long upon us. More and more freelance entrepreneurs are entering the independent job market.

What is a gig economy?

Lesser-known musicians have traditionally used the lingo “gig” to refer to their low-paying side hustle. Either for the love of music or hopes of “making it big,” they nurture their hobby looking for the next “gig.”

Highly-skilled, non-payroll workers in the United States and Europe participate in this rapidly-expanding world. But they’re not just musicians anymore.

Now, the Gig Economy is the emerging workforce, occasionally a breeding ground for a powerful, new startup.

Most will do this on the side, but experts predict that full-time freelancers will jump from 10%-30% of the job market in the next year.

Technology, in short, has opened the door to full-time freelancing, where studies show that over 20% of American freelancers are already making six-figure incomes.

Not only that, more and more traditional employees are longing to make the switch toward independence and flexibility. And then there is the skilled, yet still unemployed population paying off their college debt, doing their best to make ends meet.

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More than half of payroll employees will use their personal time to nurture their “side gig” in hopes of making it a full-time career.

Here is a look at why many experts are saying that freelance entrepreneurship will overtake the United States job market in 2019.

1. Higher Education has Failed the Career-Minded.

In their book Higher Education?: How Colleges are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids, Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus note that…

Higher Education is a $440 billion dollar industry. What are individuals – and our society – gaining from it?

Hacker and Dreifus hardly disguise their point of view in the title of their book. Both are college professors. They continue…

Our conclusion: Colleges are taking on too many roles and doing none of them well. They are staffed by casts of thousands and dedicated to everything from esoteric research to vocational training—and have lost track of their basic mission to challenge the minds of young people.

For entrepreneurs considering investing in formal education, this is alarming – since the main reason a person seeks entrepreneurship is to be great in their field.

Many of us have invested the money into formal education (I myself have four college degrees from 3 different liberal arts universities). We are likely too tired paying off debt and learning employable skills from free resources online to give thoughtful comment.

Big businesses don’t really need college grads – they need agility to keep up with the times.

Recently, Gallup did an education poll among employers.

While 96% of chief academic officers of colleges and universities believe that their institutions are very or somewhat effective at preparing students for the workforce, only 11% of business leaders strongly agree.

This misalignment has critical implications for businesses. Companies in major industries report that they are unable to grow and compete because they struggle to identify properly skilled talent: 49% report unfilled job openings, and 37% can’t take on a new project or major initiative.

As a result, most of these businesses turn to independent freelance entrepreneurs. Freelance entrepreneurs – regardless of their formal education – are not bound by the higher education’s inability to keep up with the Information Age.

Gallup further noted that…

Only 35% of college students say they are prepared for a job, and over half of recent graduates are unemployed or underemployed… Meanwhile, as of 2017, 44 million Americans carry $1.3 trillion in student loan debt.

If you are lucky enough to get a payroll position in your field, then you likely won’t make what you need to start a life and a family. Self-taught skills convert dissatisfied employees into hopeful, freelance entrepreneurs. They utilize the “side hustle” as their true career-builder, dreaming of the day when they can leave payroll job.

If you represent that “over half of recent graduates,” then you have likely already established yourself as a freelancer. But more so out of necessity rather than by choice.

2. The Gig Economy Empowers an Improved Work-Life Balance.

The 40-hour (in reality, 50+) workweek is not satisfactory to today’s workforce. Those bound by the traditional 9-5 look longingly out their office window at the freelancer half-way through his 2-hour work day while sitting on bench in their favorite park.

Very few Americans are satisfied with their traditional job, even though statistics show that they ought to be thankful to be among the rare, successfully-employed.

It’s not about the money anymore: it’s about lifestyle.

One-third of professionals globally say that work-life balance is becoming more difficult. Excessive overtime and a lack of flexibility are among the top reasons people leave jobs. 24 percent say they would take a 10 percent pay cut to be able to telecommute.

Freelancers can create their own work space. And they are only a few steps away from their loved ones.

The flexibility of a freelance life allows for taking breaks or re-evaluating priorities. Freelancers are far less likely to burn out than their payroll counterparts.

Freelancers manage expectations for themselves.

When one is not bound by what Google describes as the HIPPO hierarchy (that is, Highest Paid Person’s Opinion has final say), one can be their own boss and excel on one’s own terms.

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Want training to troubleshoot a specific problem? There are literally thousands of free resources and other freelancers excited to help.

Want to choose your clients? No one is there to tell you to shove an unwanted product/service down the throats of ill-matched prospects.

Not satisfied with the work? Fix it according to your standards and work directly with the client to adjust the timeline.

Retired and employed are no longer mutually exclusive.

Baby Boomers have proven that retirement at 65 is not only no longer the goal, but it’s not a feasible path. A combination of factors, ranging from an economic recession and poor financial planning to overall longer, healthier lives have left many workers unable, or unwilling, to retire from the workforce.

Today, technology empowers freelancers in their 20s to enjoy what Tim Ferriss calls “mini retirements.” And technology equally empowers freelancers in their 70s and 80s to work part-time and full-time from the comforts of their home.

There’s no need to kill yourself for 30-40 years. The money you want to retire on will probably not keep up with the rate of inflation anyway.

3. New Startups Depend on Freelancers Over Agencies and Traditional Employees.

With many powerful startups founded by skilled freelancers, freelance entrepreneurs understand the value of leaning on other freelance entrepreneurs.

Freelancers are generally the better experts.

Product development, online branding, and business coaching are all industries where freelance entrepreneurs are pushing the envelope. New, powerful startups will need this cutting-edge expertise in 2019 and beyond.

The need for – and interest in – part-time independent work continues to grow. Economic pressures and the continued growth of platforms and technology are contributors to this uptick in interest and size.

Advances in technology are moving too fast for traditional establishments moving at the speed of 1980 corporate America. A startup fighting for investors doesn’t have the time for entire departments to get their heads to together and develop an exhaustive strategy.

A freelance entrepreneur in his closet is more likely to keep up with and challenge the status quo than are his big business counterparts. He is also going to be way cheaper, and that is our next topic.

Freelancers can do more, faster – all on a smaller budget.

The Start-up ecosystem is predominantly fast-paced and dynamic. Most often, start-ups run on tight budgets and strict deadlines. According to Geetha Prabhu, Founder and COO, Workflexi.in, one of the perks of outsourcing jobs to freelancers, contractors or consultants is saving on costs and simultaneously getting the job done as soon as possible.

Established agencies require fatter budgets. The smart startup team knows that all it needs to do is develop a great product that effectively targets major pain points for customers.

A freelancer with expertise in product development and coding can help with bug fixes and iterations. The marketing freelancer can help the startup create effective communication. Viral-ity levels the playing field for both startups and freelancers.

If you are already an established freelancer, you’re in good company, and the world is coming around to your way to getting things done. Your future is bright (as long as you are striving to be great in your field).

For the freelance entrepreneur wanting to go big or go home, this is a good year to build your plan and seek funding.

And for the payroll employee seriously considering a career change away from traditional employment, don’t be afraid. You can move slowly but decisively into a more promising way of life.