The prospect of becoming a freelancer has long been attractive for professionals, whether it’s to earn a little extra on the side or cast off the shackles of the nine-to-five daily grind entirely.

By trading in the city commute and limited vacation time, budding freelancers have the freedom to choose projects and clients, more flexible hours and working locations, and a significant degree of autonomy. And with the continued rise of the flexible economy, demand for freelancers and independent contractors has never been higher.

This sentiment is reflected in an infographic from SCORE, which surveys the state of the freelance economy in the United States. Drawing from sources such as the Freelancers Union, it found that technology has made freelancing a more accessible prospect – with well over two thirds of respondents saying that the internet and social media have expanded their professional networking opportunities.

Of course, being a freelancer is not without its challenges. Nearly half of respondents (47%) reported difficulty in finding work. Another issue was that, in the US, a freelancer faces an increased tax burden compared to salaried employees.

Nevertheless, freelancers remained optimistic about their prospects, with 65% reporting an improved perception of the profession among the general public and a significant 77% believing the most prosperous era of the sector was still to come.

Other observations include:

  • There are approximately 54 million freelancers in the US, accounting for 34% of the workforce.
  • The age breakdown of freelancers was 30% Millennial (21-34), 33% Gen-X (35-50), 29% Baby Boomer (51-68) with the remainder aged 69 or older.
  • 38% valued freelancing for its extra income.
  • 50% of those surveyed found lack of a steady income to be a significant challenge.

 

freelancer infographic 2016

 

Source: SCORE