If we've learned anything from the current pandemic, is that life is unpredictable. Anybody can lose their job at any given moment, so what can you do to ensure global crises have the least impact possible on your financial stability?
For example, in the United States, many people began freelancing during the pandemic, increasing the ranks to nearly 60 million, accounting for 39% of the US workforce, according to a report. This is a clear indication that freelancing is one good option to shield yourself from layoffs and employee downsizing.
The freelancing trend results from a combination of factors, including the transition to remote work across the US economy due to Covid-19. There has also been a considerable uptick of younger workers looking for flexible alternatives to full-time jobs. And also because of a surge of demand from businesses looking for freelancers.
For those who have a hard time deciding whether to freelance, it may be helpful for them to know that of those who quit their traditional jobs over the past year to freelance, 75% say they are earning the same or more as freelancers.
For the younger generations, the decision may not be so difficult to make as they might find that they can earn more and aspire to a better future by freelancing than by working a dead-end, menial full-time job that is physically demanding.
From the freelancers themselves
Dattatray Degale is from India, a country where half of the population lives on less than $3 a day, and nearly 17% live in extreme poverty.
"In the rural areas of my country, the situation is even more difficult," said Dattatray. "People simply cannot afford to live. I know this because I come from a rural area, where vulnerable living conditions forced me to migrate to Kaylan," some 900 miles north of New Delhi.
He believes freelancing is the best alternative to traditional employment in his country, and these are his arguments to support his statement.
"Freelancing is very important to me, and I believe it is a sound alternative to formal employment in my country. The minimum wage in my country is $2.38 a day, and you have to work your butt off. Freelancers can earn twice that much in an hour creating a logo or editing a photo," Degale said.
"Freelancing has provided me with the additional income I urgently needed to continue in university for an education that will ensure I have a future as an economist," said the 21-year-old. "Freelancing has already made a difference in my life. I do it part-time for now as I need to focus more on my studies."
Began preparing from age 15
From age 15, Croatian freelancer Nikola Bobetic concluded that selling tasks online was the best option for him as a teenager.
"I find freelancing is much better than working a full-time job that offers no future," said Nikola. "With freelancing, I'm building a CV that will help me significantly in the future. Freelancing allows me the freedom to do what I want when I want, such as paying for my school books, saving for my future, and so on."
Nikola tried selling Photoshop tasks but found it was a very competitive category. He then found that very few were offering home automation services, and on one freelance website, he is the only one offering the service.
"I went into home automation, which very few freelancers offers and have done well for myself," he said. "I started selling quite a few of these home automation setups, and I am very thrilled because, with my earnings, I've purchased a 3D printer. I can now offer 3D Modelling services as well. I use my freelance earnings for school and savings for my future."
A Filipino freelancer promoting freelance
Austin Gabriel Diaz is only 17. He began training to become a freelancer from age 15 when he found selling tasks online to be his best option after researching job opportunities. He is so convinced that freelancing is the best option, he promotes it amongst his friends, and through a TikTok and YouTube channel he runs.
"Freelancing has made a huge difference in my life, as my earnings from this activity are helping me pay for all my individual needs," said Austin.
Austin is delighted he can work from the comfort of his own home. He says he saves money and time he can use for schooling and paying tuition fees. He is currently in the second year of his Bachelor of Science in IT course. "Freelancing is far better for me and for my future than working a dead-end job.
"I believe all teenagers should freelance. I see it as the best option, particularly for the younger generations," he said. "We spend a lot of time on our phones and computers anyway, so why not invest that time to get the skills to become productive and start earning an income to help themselves and their families."
Freelancing is right for Nigerians
Abuka Victor is from Nigeria, where freelancers face many challenges due to the negative name email scammers gave the entire country. One of the main hurdles is that PayPal is not servicing this African country due to that same reason.
"Most freelance platforms, including Fiverr, require PayPal as a way to get paid, but PayPal does not allow Nigerians to receive funds because of all the email scams," he said.
"And so, we are faced with having to find others in other countries to get our payment for us. And that is risky because you may never see your payment or costly because nobody does anything for free. So, that makes freelancing very, very difficult and very discouraging, that is until AnyTask came around," Abuka added.
Victor has been freelancing for about five years. "Clients from different parts of the world have purchased several hundred freelance gigs from me. I have many repeat customers, and since 2013, I have never had a bad review."
"Freelancing is my life," he said. "I will pass this way of living on to my children because freelancing gives people control over their lives."
A Ghanian freelancer who helps others
Godwin Delai Adadzie says he's been freelancing for several years and is fortunate to live off freelancing and help others in his country face many struggles.
"I believe one good way to help is by recommending people to get involved in freelancing," he said. "I've shared my experience with as many people as possible so that they see the benefits. I use some of my earnings as a freelancer to help people who are facing financial challenges."
"I've helped friends in Nigeria and Ghana by sending them mobile airtime and data," he said. "I have always been about sharing both materialistically and spiritually with those who needed most."
Godwin said he also uses his freelance income for rent, food, and other everyday essentials. "To me, this is simply marvelous. It's for the future as well. That is why I say to those who are struggling to start freelancing. It is not a get rich scheme, but it is an excellent way to make a very decent living."
The freelance industry is expected to grow exponentially in the next four or five years from about 150 million freelancers worldwide today to an estimated 600 million by 2025 adding nearly $3 trillion to the global gross domestic product.
One freelance platform, AnyTask.com, is poised to take a significant share of the market because they do not charge freelancers any fees, nor do they require them to have a bank or PayPal account. Also, they have thousands of talented freelancers who offer nearly 15,000 digital tasks across dozens of categories and subcategories.