The pandemic’s silver lining: a rise in entrepreneurial freelancers

Laptop and phone with pens on desk

Covid-19 has caused havoc throughout the world and impacted so many people’s lives and livelihoods. While 2020 will likely be seen as one of the worst years of our lifetime, I like to reflect on how the crisis brought about positive change – the silver linings. Such as the opportunity to embrace virtual working, to think ever more creatively, and to accelerate thinking about becoming an entrepreneur.

The pandemic led to countless businesses closing their doors and individuals being locked down at home. The economy suffered; many people lost their jobs and were forced to find work elsewhere, leading some to take the leap into starting their own businesses.

As a result, the freelancing industry is now booming. A leader in the field is Upwork, an online marketplace for freelance talent. In a recent CNBC interview, its CEO and President Hayden Brown reported a 40% increase in freelance demand. And this demand is only set to continue its upwards trajectory.

So the pandemic has fuelled the recent rise in freelancers. However, the trend was picking up well before that, for two reasons.

First, many companies need an agile, flexible workforce with skills that they simply can’t find in their locality. By tapping into an online talent pool, business owners can find precisely the right freelancer for the right job at the right price, with the restricting factor of location stripped away. It’s possible to access highly skilled workers, no matter where they’re based in the world.

Second, workers are looking for more flexibility in when, where and for whom they work. Freelancers are their own boss; they set their own rates, manage their own time and take on projects of their choosing. The freelance lifestyle is highly alluring – in the same interview, Hayden confirmed that over 20 million Americans entered the industry for the first time last year, and 60% of them said they wouldn’t go back into traditional employment for any amount of money.

I’m so excited to see this tremendous growth in entrepreneurial freelancers. It’s such a win-win – great news for the freelancers who are charting their own course – and also for creative founders who are looking for the right talent to help grow their business. I can speak to this firsthand, having hired my own team of freelancers to help me supercharge Creative Entrepreneurs and take it to the next level.

By utilising a freelance workforce, you can benefit from specialist expertise and fresh perspectives without adding to your fixed overheads. And here’s the icing on the cake – because freelancers choose their work carefully, they’re fully invested – exactly what you need to help your business succeed.

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