Is Digital Freelancing The Future of Work?

No one would have been able to describe digital freelancing 30 years ago. The internet wouldn’t have been mainstream and people could only get work done if they were in the office. 

That said, a lot has changed in office dynamics over the past decade and remote work has become more the norm than people realize.

With around 18% of people worldwide working remotely full-time, the stage has been set for digital freelancing to define the future of work. The profession allows people to work from home, giving them the freedom to work on other projects and have a healthier work-life balance. It’s also been shown that remote workers are 47% more productive than those who work in the office.

I’ve been freelancing for half a decade now and 2020 has been a defining year for workers like me. The rapid growth of the profession has also been backed up by the development of technology – which opened up the doors for businesses to hire talent from across the globe.

Freelancing is the future of work and in this article, I show you why.

Why is Digital Freelancing The Future?

I’ve noticed these 5 trends permeating the freelance industry and I want to share with you how all these impacts the future of remote work and freelancing

Reason 1.) People want more freedom

It’s no secret that digital freelancers have more time in their hands. With 2020 showing us the importance of work-life balance, many professionals have found a thirst for working for themselves, anytime and from anywhere they choose.

This inherent lack of structure and boundaries is one of the greatest benefits of freelancing. It means you can make time for anything in your life so long as you provide the output. 

Freelancing, after all, is an output-driven industry. As long as you provide great output, it doesn’t matter how long you take to get it done. 

Freelancing allows you to break away from the traditional 9-to-5, allowing you to make time to see your son’s baseball game or run a last-minute errand for a friend.

With this freedom comes overall health and happiness. The time you spent on commuting and getting ready for work, for example, can be replaced with something more valuable like a hobby or extra sleep – which studies have shown can lead to more productivity through fewer mistakes, better decision-making, and reduced burnout. 

Reason 2.) Remote work is becoming the norm

Other than the work-life balance that freelancing allows, digital freelancing enables you to work from anywhere in the world (even from home). 

Over the past 2 or 3 decades, I’ve noticed a mass exodus of First World workers moving to exotic islands like the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

These people call themselves “digital nomads” because their line of work, mostly dealing with the internet, allows them to work from anywhere in the world. 

While the jobs that could become “digital nomads” used to be only limited to bloggers and social media influencers, boundaries continue to be broken, and over the past couple of years, I’ve met and worked with remote professionals whose roles covered everything from risk management professionals to software developers. 

Global Workplace Analytics has reported that the number of people who work from home has risen by 159% since 2009. There’s an obvious trend of people looking for remote work and digital freelancing is one of the forefront jobs that meet that need. 

Reason 3.) Freelancing enables meaningful work

Another huge benefit of Freelancing is that it allows you to experience different kinds of tasks. In many ways, a job description can be very predictable and boring. Sure, you know what to expect for the next day but at some point, repetitive tasks become monotonous. 

When you’re freelancing, you have the opportunity to work on a wide variety of exciting projects with clients and businesses whose visions align with your own. 

The fact that you have the opportunity to choose from so many projects has been proven to improve productivity and happiness

Meaningful work can take on different forms but in this context, I define it as value-adding and satisfactory work. As I’ve been freelancing for the past 5 years, I found that I produce my best work when I’m met with a challenge. I’m happiest when I see progress and attain a certain goal. 

Digital freelancers, such as myself, perceive themselves as business owners, and ownership is seen as a way to stay in control of their careers. In a cut-throat environment such as freelancing, professionals continuously invest in their self-development and are not afraid to step out of their comfort zone to take on exciting and challenging projects. 

In that way, the profession also develops your own sense of creativity.

With exposure to international markets and access to different companies and world cultures, a freelancer can expand their world knowledge, the scope of their capabilities, and their sense of self. 

Reason 4.) Freelancing grows your network

With the sheer amount of people that you get to meet as you start freelancing, you’ll soon get to know business owners and remote workers from around the globe.

At its core, networking is building a web of connections with people who can help further your career.  If you keep your office job, how could you build a network if you kept on seeing the same people every day? 

The only way to grow your network is through exposure and this is what digital freelancing allows you to do. Exposure to different industries, exposure to different people, and exposure to different cultures. 

As you get to know and meet new people, doors of opportunity will start opening up for you. You’ll progress much further along with your career if you have a strong network of people willing to give you a helping hand. 

Reason 5.) Freelancing is sustainable

If you’ve ever heard the saying, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, then you’ll know exactly how freelancing can provide you a sustainable living, even more so than an office job.

Say, for example, that you’re an office worker and your company goes bankrupt. What happens to you then? Where will you get money? Honestly, no one knows.

Freelancing, on the other hand, ensures that you’ll always have a source of income. If one of your clients stops working with you, that’s totally fine – you have 10 more on the waiting list.

Freelancing creates multiple streams of income for you so that you’ll never have to go a day without worrying about putting food on the table. 

On another note, freelancing allows you to save your earnings much more than any office job could. 

If you start working from home, you save on gas and food bills eating out. You’re only expense would be grocery and at-home utilities.

A recent FlexJobs survey has shown that the average remote worker saves $4000 per year by not spending money on gas, coffee, lunches, or any more professional clothes for their wardrobe. 

Think about what you could do with an extra $4,000 dollars. I’d probably put it into buying a new PC every year but hey, that’s just me. 

On Digital Freelancing and The Future of Work

In an increasingly globalized world, boundaries are disappearing when it comes to geographic location. 16% of companies in the world work 100% remotely and as of 2020, 58.6% of the total U.S. workforce are remote workers.

So many people are beginning to see the positive effects of working remotely and quite frankly, we’re still in the early stages. With over 70% of young professionals looking for remote work options, the number of digital freelancers will significantly grow over the next decade. 

I’m proud to say that I’ve been part of this community for the past 5 years and I’d like to share with you everything I’ve learned, so if you’d like to get started freelancing today, check out my Ultimate Guide on Freelancing here.

Good luck and I hope to see you around. 

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