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Why we have become a nation of freelancers

Jill Jacinto

Did you know that a third of the workforce freelances in some capacity?

That comes out to 53 million Americans, according to a study run by Freelancers Union. Are you one of them?

The world of work has been changing rapidly, especially after the recession. Professionals lost the security they once felt from having seemingly stable jobs, only to lose them during a time of crisis. The years of working for one company for a large part of your career have ended — and that is a good thing.

Professionals now have the control to be entrepreneurs and business owners more so than ever before. Technology has enabled them to work from anywhere and everywhere. It’s enabled them to enhance their skills and follow their passion by strategically selecting projects. It has also given them the power to decide when and how they choose to work. Want to take two months off to surf in Costa Rica? Done. Need to pick your kids up from school at 3 p.m.? Done. Need to care for a loved one? You can.

While companies have begun to lean more on consultants to build their businesses, the tools that help them find the right person remain a decade behind the needed technology. Finding the right freelancer, aside from a word-of-mouth suggestion, can be a very time-consuming and costly task.

Conversely, being a freelancer and needing to find the right project can be equally disheartening. Then, you need to add on administration duties like filing, billing, payroll on top of obtaining decent rates for health care and other financial services that are often out of reach to 1099 professionals. The needs of 34 percent of freelancers are not being met.

By 2020, only five years from now, 60 percent of the workforce will act as 1099 employees. The conventional workplace systems need to adapt to this growing amount of professionals who are choosing to work in a freelance capacity.

If you are a freelancer or 1099 professional, I would love to hear your insight. I have created a survey aimed at helping your needs. Please take three minutes to fill it in and disrupt the workplace.

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