If you’re spending time around here, you’re ahead of the freelancing curve. And that’s a good thing, because it’s shifting again.
A recent survey from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and Fiverr reveals some findings that mean you might be in an even better position as modern work continues to evolve. Here’s what stood out most to me:
- 20% of work in the companies surveyed on average, is performed by freelancers
- 51% of respondents say their organization will likely increase the number of freelancers they work with
I always take these kinds of partnered reports with a grain of salt (freelance growth is a good thing for Fiverr), but I’ve been seeing the same thing in my work as a freelancer over the last 10 years. So what’s this mean for you? It means you likely have more opportunities emerging on your freelance horizon…if you get ready today.
Besides being the best employer you’ve ever had, here’s a few things you can do today to take advantage of the changes happening in the freelance world.
Give yourself some credit
If you’re paying attention to freelancing as a serious career option that can provide long term growth and even stability, give yourself some props for staying ahead of work trends.
Wondering what kind of career freelancer you want to be? Start here.
Refine your skill
“49% say their organization’s biggest challenge when considering whether to employ freelancers is finding freelancers with the right skills.”
If I see freelancers struggle with anything early on, it’s being too internally focused when deciding on the skills they want to present to the market. It’s why I always push freelancers to stop trying to reinvent the wheel, and instead piggy back off all the work employers have already done in testing the labor market.
Master your niche
The foundation of being a great employer for yourself is being a responsible business owner. That starts with taking responsibility for understanding and navigating your market.
Learning and mastering your niche is an ongoing process, but it always comes back to some key fundamentals. You can explore those here.
But remember that you can’t do this alone. You should be having regular conversations with people in your industry, so take advantage of webinars, conferences, professional orgs, and LinkedIn whenever you can.
Own your role
You’re meeting a key need for employers. So speak with authority.
If you’re not feeling confident, it’s probably because you haven’t internalized the value you offer. In that case, spend some time here.
Make their job easier
The survey revealed that most organizations don’t have a plan for engaging freelancers…that’s an opportunity for you.
Focus on long-term relationships and making things easier for them. Communicate well and often, listen to their business challenges, and look for little ways to make your contacts’ lives easier.
Keep your marketing going
Now isn’t the time to take your foot off the marketing pedal. You’ve got a chance to solidify your position and push ahead of people who aren’t keeping up with the reality of modern work.
Make sure you’re hitting your marketing minimums and look for ways to automate and outsource (after you’re comfortable with a task).
Keep an eye on enterprise solutions
If you’re less comfortable with approaching an employer directly and still want to work with bigger names, some platforms offer options targeted toward large organizations who want to work with multiple freelancers.
Both Fiverr and Upwork offer enterprise programs that you can apply to, and platforms like Skyword and Contently have always worked on this model.
Most importantly, know your boundaries in terms of time and pay and these can be a good option, especially for newer freelancers.
The survey is long with a ton of insights (I’m working through it myself), so give it a good review if you’ve got a few minutes. Things might be moving slightly differently in your niche, but it’s always good to have a general understanding of how potential clients see us.