How Freelancers Can Save The Futureon 27th September 2016
Whilst many of us choose and hustle to do freelance for a profession, to work our own hours in our own space, it’s also the case that people fall into freelance by accident or as simply the best last hope of an income. Young adults, graduates and the redundant have to fight so hard for employment that it is becoming a lost cause for many. As a result, it’s possible, even likely, that turning to self-employment and becoming a freelancer could be the standard career path in the future, instead of chasing a full time job. Necessity drives direction in industries, so welcome to the fast growing gig economy – a place for the lost generation to find its feet and thrive.
Whilst the gig economy is growing, the reasons it is growing, often have more to do with necessity than choice. Job applications for a single entry level or middle weight job can go into high double figures or even three figures. This will be no great news to anyone out there reading this and looking for a permanent role, whatever the age bracket. If you put all those candidates in a corridor and lined them up to comprehend your battle for that single place, it would be disheartening. It’s unreasonably competitive to secure a life these days. Freelancers are sometimes those people who know they have to do something because the alternatives are bleak and there is no shame in that.
Time to defeat the downward spiral
There is nothing that can whittle away self-confidence more insidiously than constant rejection letters or in worst cases, having no responses at all. As one consequence there is a whole generation of young adults living with their parents, some until they are 30, who have had the self-esteem and hope knocked out of them by the hive of the job market. The same goes for older people who have lost their job – perhaps their industry or their company collapsed and they are left high and dry in a world that is more crowded with less opportunity for full time work.
If you have skills, whether a graduate or a seasoned professional in this position, the only real way to access money, get your profession on track and take back some control of your life, is to morph into a freelancer. Far from being a desperate move, this can be a life changing decision that will make you earn more in the long run but it does depend on you. Hiring freelancers is becoming a standard practice in industries that want to be agile or get quick fixes for clients. Those who reach out, email people, network and go straight to the director in the right firms, they do eventually find project work. A lot of success hinges on finding that confidence and belief.
In contrast, a job application can get lost in the deluge of responses. If you are one person striking out – who has a manager’s attention straight away – you are suddenly a real person and not a CV. What’s more, their risk to one initial project is minimal compared to an employment contract.
Finding a new way, through freelance
We have to focus on freelancing as a brilliant life choice, by offering positive counsel and support that is not currently there, certainly not in abundance.
In the future there must be a more solid infrastructure for freelancers, or rather, aspiring business people, as available as ‘real-skills’ courses. We need a wider, more invigorating approach to teaching true entrepreneurship – to get willing students to understand processes, the realities of being self-sufficient and to be confident enough to strike it out by themselves.
We need comprehensive training platforms and structured programmes, where people can learn soft skills, admin skills, technical know-how, be inspired by those who have succeeded, to help them to go out and bait that work. Business basics can be taught, like how to define and promote yourself, pitch and close business, set terms, chase invoices, work out ROI and the accounts. As for the long term unemployed – why not make a concerted effort to encourage this kind of freelance lifestyle, at least for those who have learned valuable skills, so they can reboot their lives. At present many are ‘punished’ with having to apply for jobs that don’t fit them, or worse they may have to work for nothing to keep their benefit entitlement.
To promote, nurture and train for the freelancer lifestyle effectively will foster an entrepreneurial spirit in a currently lost generation. It will revive and reinvent people’s chosen professions that would otherwise diffuse into nothing.
Freelancer work is a powerhouse for the economy, so we should not sideline it but champion it and give it every opportunity to flourish via anyone who believes they have skills that are of value.
At Find a Creative Pro we are primarily aimed at experienced creative freelancers who can prove their history but we are also busy behind the scenes working on ways to support those who are aspiring to become full time freelancers in the creative industries. The next generation of freelancers are rising up and we want to make sure they have the best start.