Should you move to freelance in 2021?

Should you move to freelance in 2021

Becoming a freelancer is a very tempting option for many workers, especially after we’ve all become accustomed to remote working. Freelancing can be a side-income or a way of life, depending on how much time you invest and the motivation you have.

Making the jump to freelancing should be done carefully and thoughtfully, making sure you have a contingency plan and financial savings in case things don’t go well. But if you have in-demand skills to offer, freelancing is a worthy consideration as long as you remember a few things. In this article, we’re going to consider whether you should move to freelance in 2021.

A few statistics on freelancing and growth opportunity

  • Freelancers represented around 36% of the global workforce in 2020.
  • 91% of freelancers believe the future only looks brighter for them.
  • Job postings for freelancers rose by 41% in 2020 due to the pandemic.

High earn potential, but unpredictable client availability

Your earning potential as a freelancer is theoretically unlimited because you can earn as much as you’re able. If you can negotiate higher rates for your work, and have a consistent flow of contracts and clients, your earning potential is really quite large depending on your industry.

On the other hand, you can find yourself constantly needing to find new clients, which grows tiresome, and there may be stretches of time between clients where you don’t have any income. You’ll be competing with other freelancers for clients, and even if you have returning clients that provide you with consistent work, you never really know how long the relationship will last.

Certain freelance jobs may also compete with AI-driven software in the future, such as freelance accountants, data entry, copywriters, and some types of image processing and photo restoration.

You’ll also be responsible for reporting your earnings and paying taxes as a freelancer, which is a different process than having taxes taken out of a weekly paycheck.

Pro, you make your own time. Con, you have to stick to it.

For many people, having a structured schedule, and a team leader or project manager checking in on them, certainly helps them to be more productive. Good office culture can improve employee morale, and being able to interact with friendly co-workers in person.

Some people who become freelancers previously thought they hated office hours and wanted more freedom, but begin to miss the predictable routines and accountability. Humans really do crave structure, they just dislike it when it's externally imposed and overbearing.

So you have to consider if you really hate your office hours, or if you just hate your office, the management style, feeling like a cog in a machine, etc. Maybe you just need to find a company with an employee’s union?

However, if you’re sure you want to become a freelancer, you have to be able to properly manage your own time and accountability. People with executive dysfunctions, such as from untreated ADHD, can find freelancing a double-edged sword. You can easily overwhelm yourself by taking on too much work, or procrastinating until deadlines.

Procrastinating and feeling inspired closer to deadlines is often a type of dopamine-chasing behavior, where the urgency of the looming deadlines stimulates a flood of CRF chemicals in our brain, and then a flood of pleasurable dopamine when we finish the task. It’s like the thrill of mountain climbing, in a way.

So if you want to be really successful in freelancing and make it a full-time income, you have to make sure you’re either already a highly motivated person, or you address any of those above behaviors, whether through time management techniques, therapy, or medication.

Top 10 most in-demand online freelance jobs for 2021

To wrap up, here is a list of the most in-demand jobs for freelancers in 2021.

  • Mobile app developers
  • Graphic designers
  • Virtual assistants
  • Programmers
  • Social media managers
  • SEO
  • Accountants
  • Copywriters
  • Web designers
  • Video editors

Some of the most successful freelancers also form their own agencies and subcontract to other freelancers, becoming successful business owners in the process.

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