When people think about the future of the business world, they often look to concepts like automation or potentially even machine learning. It’s true these are going to have a part of play in the business world of tomorrow. However, there’s another concept that is rapidly becoming key and that is the gig economy. If you don’t know what this is the gig economy is basically the collective term for freelancing. Rather than working on a permanent or long term contract for a business, you will instead work on your own terms.
This does provide a lot of benefits. For instance, it’s a more flexible situation and it theoretically means that you can switch jobs whenever you want. You could also take on multiple positions as a way to boost your income. Some people will be able to work from home as freelancers while others will find it more beneficial to work in an environment like a hot desk. It largely depends on whether you can remain productive in a completely private environment.
There are benefits for the employer too. They will be able to ensure that you are able to keep costs low and we’re going to explore why this is. Some reports suggest that the gig economy could cover 50% of the total workforce by 2025 in America. To be prepared for this change and the role that you might have, there are some lessons to learn here. So, let’s explore a few key considerations.
This isn’t quite the same as when you are working on a full-term contract. For instance, one of the key changes to keep in mind is based on your physical or emotional wellbeing. Let’s say that you are working for a business on a contract and you develop RSI. RSI is probably one of the most common injuries experienced by office workers today. It comes from working long hours without breaks, often in the wrong environment.
You might be wondering whether you could take action against the business that hired you and the answer is it depends. If you are operating from home then you won’t have a leg to stand on here. They won’t have any real responsibility for your physical well being because you will have chosen your own environment. You can say that the contract required long hours without breaks. However, as a freelancer, you choose the contracts that you take on so this doesn’t really hold water.
On the other hand, you might be working from their office. If that’s the case, then you might have a stronger case. A law firm like Alvine Weidenaar, LLP that specializes in personal injuries could be in the right position to help you out here.
So basically, it depends on your unique set up how much responsibility your employer is going to hold. Usually, though one of the benefits of hiring freelancers is that business owners can avoid this particular headache for better or worse.
To succeed as a freelancer you need to know how to network effectively. Essentially, you will be your own personal agent operating for yourself to ensure that you are going to have the right strategy in place.
LinkedIn can be a great place to start here. While you won’t need all the social networks when networking, LinkedIn provides the clearest avenue to connect with individuals in the business world. It also ensures that you can rub shoulders with the right people. Be aware that there are also platforms specifically for freelancers to use.
One of the issues to consider here is that they are highly competitive. You will often need to fight to rise above those who are seeking out the same clients and projects as you. You can also get into price wars where you will be up against those willing to work for a lot less than you can perhaps afford. This is certainly one of the rougher elements of freelancing that you will be forced to face.
You might think that being a freelancer isn’t going to provide you with that much stability. In a way, this isn’t the case. You may actually find you have more stability if you know how to approach this model the right way. However, there are certainly going to be challenges that you will face.
For instance, you do need to consider the issue for the slow down. Just like with any business there are periods throughout the year where the demand for particular freelancers will rise and fall. For instance, writers are more in demand through the festive season when there are more marketing opportunities. Through January to March, the businesses tend to hold off spending as much money in this area. You need to be prepared for this and the budget to compensate for the change.
In other words, you can’t afford to leave yourself in a position where you are struggling because you weren’t prepared for a downturn.
While employers are able to shift responsibilities as a freelancer you will have more to take on. One of the biggest responsibilities you will have is always going to be handling your own tax. Tax is something that stumps a lot of people and with freelancers, it’s a little more complicated. You’ll basically be operating as a little business. You will need to make sure that you are paying for your tax the right way.
It’s important that you don’t make any mistakes here. Otherwise, you will be penalized and you’ll be forced to pay up. Complete your calculations carefully and consider using an accounting solution. You probably don’t want to shell out for a professional accountant and you don’t really need to. Instead, you will be able to make sure that you simply use a cloud service to keep track of your earnings in real-time.
We hope this helps you navigate some of the challenges of being a freelancer that you may encounter when you are operating in this business model. It’s best to be prepared for the biggest changes here.