The future of independent work will be led by an emerging class of intrepid professionals who have rewritten the definition of freelance. This study gives us the insights.
Two-thirds of the freelancers we surveyed went independent within the last three years.
Going independent is a conscious choice for the lion’s share (94%) the freelancers we interviewed, and 41% said they intend to freelance forever (foreva eva eva?).
They’re optimistic, too: 45% of the freelancers in our study said they feel more secure in their employment this year compared to last—that’s twice as many who said they felt less secure.
As vast majority of freelancers we interviewed—95% of them—are what we call “Slash Workers,” or independent workers whose services or skills vary by client and project. Most freelancers (61%) specialize across two to three talents.
Only 5% of respondents said they focus their work around a single skillset, and just 13% work for one client at a time.
Moreover, 40% of freelancers in our study said their leading reason for going independent was for “personal growth.” The second most-cited reason was “flexibility.”
A majority of freelancers we surveyed, 77%, admitted they’re not more financially stable since going independent: 43% say they are worse off and 34% say they’re about the same.
And yet, they’re markedly happier: 68% of respondents said their quality of life has improved since going independent. For freelancers, happiness isn’t about the money. It’s about the freedom to do what they love on their own terms.
More than 48% of the women we surveyed fell into the lowest income bracket (34% of men were in this income range). Men were 4.5X more likely to be earning $150,000+ than women.
Interestingly, men were more likely to be stiffed than women: 49% of males in our study have been stiffed vs. 38% of females.
Digital nomads, many of whom live and work abroad, were more likely to cite an improved quality of life since going independent (76% vs. the 68% of all freelancers surveyed).
Looking ahead, 60% of freelancers we surveyed said they’d be interested in pursuing a nomadic lifestyle in the future.
In our study, 44% of respondents told us they’ve been stiffed by a client before. Nearly half of respondents who had been stiffed said the reason was that companies don’t take freelancers seriously. Another 35% blamed vague or shoddy freelance contracts for not getting paid.
More than 60% of respondents believe the freelance stigma is real, and that there’s a general lack of respect for the community.
Oliver Ginsburg, Chief operator
Sixty-one percent of respondents said they miss the feeling of community that a traditional workplace offers.
Nearly half of the freelancers we surveyed would like companies to offer more remote work opportunities.
The way people navigate their careers is rapidly changing. Savvy professionals, broad in their talents and entrepreneurial in spirit, are customizing their career paths independently. As they write their own rules, they are collectively rewriting standards of labor that have existed for centuries.
While we cherry-picked the most interesting insights in the main report, we also wanted to share the full findings. The graphs below reflect the full breadth of our survey and covers everything from where freelancers prefer to work to their perspectives on globalization. If you’re a journalist or blogger, you can download the graphs here.
Fiverr Workspace surveyed 300 independent workers in February and March 2017. The respondents reflected a 52%/47%/1% male/female/other split. Twenty-nine percent of respondents live outside of the United States. Of the independents we surveyed, 33% describe themselves as creatives, 21% as professional services consultants, 17% writing and content experts; 15% tech and development contractors, and 14% “Other.” The median income of the respondents was $25,000 to $49,999, in line with the U.S. median single taxpayer income (2014) of $34,940.
Male: 52% (155)
Female: 47% (142)
Other 1% (1)
Consulting – Professional Services: 21%
Tech/Web Design: 15%
Non-U.S.: 29% (87)
U.S.: 71% (213)
Fiverr Workspace is the support structure for freelancers. It’s an app that proactively helps you manage your business from proposal to payment, freeing up time to do more of what you love: the work. It’s free to start!
Manage your business with Fiverr Workspace, and get back to the work that drives you.