As a freelance writer and editor, I’m always interested in reading about how freelancing is growing in the United States. For instance, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that there are around 25 million freelancers in the country. Another recent survey finds that approximately 20 percent of employed Americans (one in five) work as freelancers or for themselves.
A recent blog on The New Entrepreneur (on Business Week’s Web site) talks about the “rise of the freelancer,” and how “freelancing is a permanent condition of our economy, not a temporary condition caused by the most recent economic crisis. … Freelancing has been on the rise for decades.”
The blogger writes that “these new freelancers have been celebrated for their independence and entrepreneurial spirit. They are the living example of Adam Smith’s economic actor. They live in the neo-liberal land of our new economy, beholden to no one and rising only by pluck and luck. There is no safety net, most labor laws do not cover them, and they have no benefits–only opportunities. They survive and thrive by their own wits.
“But freelancing is risky. The average freelancer takes no vacations, is scared of the future, and is always frantic to find the next gig. Freelancers do not balance work and family, instead they blend the two into a hybrid lifestyle. Much of the economic risk has been shifted to them and they feel it.”
I can personally attest to the difficulty in keeping my work life separate from my home life—and being a stay-at-home mother of four young children makes that a feat worthy of any circus some days! There’s the inevitable business calls around the lunch or dinner hour, especially since I often talk with article sources who live in different time zones. Nothing like a screaming toddler in the background to make you feel like a not-so-professional person!
But I’ve found most people have been very understanding of my work-from-home limitations, that sometimes there is that childish laughter or screaming when I pick up the phone (usually that starts after I answer, otherwise, I let the voice-mail pick up for me!). To me, this type of article is very encouraging, as it seems to point out the many opportunities there are for freelancers of every ilk and also how commonplace it is for a freelancer to call his office home, too.
Until next time,