Despite the global economic downturn following the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, signs point to a lockdown-related speeding of a potentially optimistic transition. And at that, one that was already well underway. Across generations, individuals are redesigning what working life looks like, and re-structuring the work-life balance to meet their own contemporary needs with freelancing platforms.
Passive income generation, working from home, and cultivating diverse and evolving skill sets are becoming the new economic cornerstones. Could a post pandemic reality reward us with greater potential for prosperity?
Blossoming trends in freelance work and a new wave of revenue stream concepts can be traced not only to present economic fragility, but also to those seeking higher income prospects, greater independence and flexibility, and enhanced life-fulfilment – facilitated by technological advancements.
Businesses Hiring Freelance Workers
The triad worlds of portfolio careers, affiliate and referral based marketing opportunities, and innovative investment possibilities have been gaining ground for some years. Within the current climate, many have adapted to being ousted from conventional career paths by moving into gig-based employment or digital entrepreneurship.
On the other side of the same coin, businesses forced to lay off workers during the crisis will likely look to the growing pool of freelancers when moving to regain footing, rewarded by greater adaptability and reduced peripheral costs.
For better or worse, even mega-employer Google now functions under the steam more of freelance workers than full-time employees. Simultaneously, market volatility has forced those aiming to secure, or even recover, funds for retirement into exploring fresh capital growth opportunities, further spurring a leap in contemporary investment models and apps.
Freelancing In America
Examining pre-Coronavirus shifts in income, according to Upwork’s annual Freelancing In America study, more than half of Gen Z within the US were freelancing in 2019, with Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers following at 40%, 31%, and 29% respectively.
Of respondents, 60% stated that they started freelancing by choice, with many citing flexibility as a desirable advantage. Meanwhile, according to a Bankrate survey, nearly half of US workers have a side-hustle, generating income from at least one additional source alongside their main revenue stream.
This evolution can not only be discovered state-side, but observed as a global trend. 84% of recruiters are outsourcing to freelancers in the Asia Pacific region, while freelancing has taken point as the fastest-growing workforce within the European Union. According to data compiled by SmallBizGenius, entrepreneurs around the world have climbed in number to 582 million, with following passions and being one’s own boss cited as greater motivators than necessity.
Platforms such as Freelancer and Fiverr
Thanks to technological advancements, and an increasingly globalized job market, many are choosing to re-define the form that occupation takes. Kate Lister, President of Global Workplace Analytics, believes that “25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021”, describing the new work-from-home reality as a Genie that ”is out of the bottle and it’s not likely to go back in.”
While gig work platforms such as Freelancer and Fiverr are helping freelancers reach a larger audience, many are podcasting, blogging, and YouTube-ing their way into independence, and in some cases substantial wealth. To give perspective, the influencer marketing industry alone is projected to hit $9.7 Billion in 2020.
Online teaching platforms and uptake of virtual coaching and consultancy are allowing professionals to step out of the workplace, and pursue dreams of digital nomadism, or improved work-life balance. In parallel, as present generations cast their gaze wider than the conventional institution landscape, an array of platforms are both facilitating the establishment of passive income, and side-stepping dependence on prior status-quos.
Apps such as M1Finance and Robinhood
Peer to peer lending platforms such as LendingClub are allowing investors to build capital while facilitating borrowers in starting businesses, consolidating debt, paying medical bills and more. Udemy and Teachable are allowing educators and experts to generate passive income by designing online courses.
Rewards program apps such as Swagbucks and Rakuten are allowing users to earn money back on everyday activities and purchases. Even the classic passive income source, real estate, is enjoying yet another makeover. Following the Airbnb revolution that made property profitable for the masses, apps like Fundrise are ushering in an era of crowdfunded real estate projects.
Apps such as M1Finance and Robinhood are also opening new doors to accessible investment, ranging from stocks to cryptocurrencies. For those seeking the thrill of the cutting-edge, freshly launched app GRAYLL allows users to rapidly grow capital with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence algorithms, delivering plump daily ROIs that compete with the withered annual returns seen from conventional savings accounts. Such platforms makes way for a new era of financial possibility for all, in this case with a minimum investment of only $10, and the opportunity for users to expand their revenue yet further with attractive referral fee income.
As challenging as the global financial recession might be, it seems that the confluence of record unemployment with a rapidly changing digital reality, and an increasingly creative array of innovations landing within the economic sphere, may mean that this particular escaped Genie is one that we should welcome.
Contemporary professionals aspire to a lifestyle that affords not only income, but meaningful quality of life. Rather than being an unobtainable concept, it may be that a life of prosperity is simply a design challenge for which the right tools are becoming increasingly available.