• Finance, Advice

5 facts about freelancing that may surprise you

For those of us who freelance on a regular basis, we may wonder: Who else is doing this?

I know I’ve asked this question before. Of course, we can tap into our own personal networks or rely on social media or anecdotal information, but what if there was actually research that got at the core of this question. Well, thanks to a recent article that was published by 1099 Nation, we just may have the answers.

The article is based on meta data and summaries that are derived from numerous studies that were conducted by various groups, all with one common goal—trying to get a handle on what the article refers to as the “gig economy.” Gig as in freelancing.

After reading the study, which I highly recommend, there were several interesting facts that surprised me and I’d like to share 5 of them with you. Some of these may inspire you, some may motivate you, and some may, well, just be random facts that you can share at your next dinner party or social gathering.

We Rock (By Choice)!

You already know freelancers rock, but did you know that most of us did not just ‘fall’ into freelancing and that happenstance was not, necessarily, the catalyst for our career choice?

Instead, according to The 2016 Field Nation Freelancer Study, 86% of professional freelancers chose freelancing. This means that the overwhelming majority of us, for various reasons, entered freelancing of our own volition.

6 Figures is Realistic

When we think about lucrative careers, we often associate them with working for someone else or climbing someone’s ladder.

Well, the good news is that you can climb your own.

19.8% of full-time independents earn more than $100,000 according to MBO Partners State of Independence In America 2017. At almost 20%, this is a significant number and as more or us navigate e-commerce, I suspect that this statistic will increase over the next few years.

Over 1/3 of Us Freelance

In fact, there are a lot of us. 35% of the US workforce, to be exact, is engaged in some form of freelancing according to Freelancing In America, 2016, from UpWork and Freelancers Union. 35% equates to 55 million people.

Imagine this the next time you feel isolated, alienated, or disconnected: There are 54,999,999 other freelancers out there. Personally, this is refreshing to know.

Working Remotely is Feasible

My first experience with working remotely was amazing. A company laptop, VPN, and WiFi were all that I needed. The flexibility of working from home and being able to engage in webinars, leading meetings, and writing all from the comfort of my personal desk made the idea of returning to a brick and mortar space less than ideal.

Now I have a home office and I use a designated co-space office a couple of days a week. The point is that for many of us, we would prefer it if brick and mortar became a thing of the past, especially since an office can be less tangible and more conceptual.

According to, 50% of U.S. jobs are compatible with remote work arrangements, and 80% of the workforce says they would like to work remotely at least part time. Yet only 7% of employers make flexible work available to most employees.

The Economy is Changing

By nature, freelancing often provides a level of flexibility that is not found within the traditional 9 to 5 corporate arena. As more Americans are demanding work-life balance, there are elements of the freelancing world that are seeping into other industries. Specifically, 44% of business leaders say the top socio-economic driver of changes in industry is the “changing nature of work, flexible work.”The Future of Jobs Report, World Economic Forum.

These are just 5 of the things that are addressed in the article and there are even more topics that may stand out to you.

As we think about the growth of independent workers in America, it is energizing to know that freelancing is being embraced by so many people across industries.

As with all studies, there are margins of error and if survey instruments were used, then there is always the issue of self-reporting, but the fact is that this article is a great starting point in terms of getting a more comprehensive view of what the world of freelancing looks like beyond our own individual lenses.

Tyra Seldon Tyra Seldon is a former English Professor turned writer, editor and small business owner. Her writing addresses the intersections of race, gender, culture and education.