There are approximately 55 million freelancers in the United States — that's 36% of the working population.
By 2027, it's projected that more people will be freelancing than traditionally employed.
The economic motivation for going freelance seems sound, given that nearly 2 in 3 freelancers earn more now than they did as employees. Plus, freelancers enjoy their work more than their traditionally-employed counterparts.
Freelance lays the groundwork
Just about every entrepreneur I know started as a freelancer first.
Being able to fend for yourself economically is the first step toward spotting the next big opportunity, and that usually means simply switching from W-2 to 1099 while doing what you're already good at.
After I quit the big law firm in 1998, my first success was as a solo attorney. That's not a role that gets called freelance, but it's essentially what it was — I worked from home, met clients in coffee shops, and learned how to generate a steady source of gigs.
I started to think like an entrepreneur during this time. When you're solely responsible for your economic well-being, you begin to see unmet needs everywhere.
When you think freelance, it's generally writers, designers, and coders that come to mind.
But these days, some of the fastest growing freelance sectors are human resources, recruiting, project management, research analysis, and technical support.
If the projections are correct, soon the self-employed will outnumber the people with a J.O.B. And if you're happier and making more money, what's not to like about becoming the new normal?
The Fastest Growing Job Sectors for Freelancers (The Balance)