The results of LinkedIn’s data show something that makes sense to a freelancer like me. I was never meant to successfully integrate into the social norm of commuting to an office daily. I’ve done it, but it is like turning myself inside out. I could never understand why it affected me this way when everyone else seemed to accept it without issue. I grew up in a mostly self- employed family. While they worked hard, they did it for themselves, not for someone else. Now freelancers are being seen as “LinkedIn power users”.
I remember working on a resume more than once and being told to keep the word “entrepreneur” out of it. No one wants to know you might be working from home or have your own business because it smacks of someone who is not a “team player”. I highly disagree, and I think it is catching on finally with the general public. It takes great initiative to create your own line of work, motivate yourself daily, market yourself, and make it economically sound. If you are focused on what you do and it then becomes a part of a larger function when you are contracted to work with others, what are you if not a “team player”? No one is good at everything. That is why it takes groups of people to get a project done. For some freelancers, technology now allows us to work both individually and as a group without the actual commute or even being in the same room.
Not all personalities are designed for this approach, but for the personalities that are, I have seen evidence that these freedoms from time and place of work make them happier and more productive than ever. This brings me to quality of life. Since we do not all react to these situations the same, I suspect a large part of society that works in the 9 to 5 corporate structure is suffering when it comes to quality of life. Hundreds of employees show up for work, but only a small percentage is getting anything done. Only a few are working effectively while the rest are biding time for their paycheck on Friday.
Back to the LinkedIn article that inspired today’s writing Be Your Own Boss: Tracking the Freelance Economy with LinkedIn Data. Media and communications, as well as engineering and software development, are areas that contractors can be found most often on LinkedIn and other career sites, and without the use of staffing agencies. Obviously LinkedIn is a great resource allowing you to see specific skills and other valuable data. There are clear bonuses to hiring contractors or freelance workers when it comes to payroll and benefits. For a fair rate, they gladly handle taxes, health, life insurance, and retirement benefits on their own.
Freelancers are the best choice for small or temporary jobs. They are usually dividing their time between clients and are not bothered by short term assignments that may or may not be extended depending on an outcome further down the line. It is what they do. These gigs fill in periods of inactive or possible part time unemployed status and allow them to continue to make an income.
LinkedIn has started a study for a new tool called LinkedIn Pro in the San Francisco area aimed at freelance contractors in design, writing/editing, and accounting services. If it goes well, we may all get to experience it. They hope to inspire other people to market their skills a little differently. Kudos to LinkedIn for noticing the value of the freelance community!
Original LinkedIn Post: 21 Oct 2015 09:01 AM PDT