The freelance life can be very attractive, especially if you’ve been stuck in the nine-to-five grind for a while. Of course, leaving a stable job comes with its risks. If you’re considering freelancing as a developer, you’ll want to be armed with some knowledge before taking the leap.
In this article, we’ll discuss why you should care about the latest freelance statistics as a developer. Then, we’ll share 13 of them you’ll want to know about. Let’s get started!
Why You Should Care About Freelance Statistics as a Developer
If you’re considering freelancing, you’ll want to know as much as possible about its pros and cons before getting started. Studying recent statistics can help you know what to expect and how to prepare to meet the most common challenges.
Statistics show how attitudes toward freelancing have changed, and which industries are likely to use flexible labor. These numbers can help you focus marketing efforts where they’re most likely to pay off and pick up clients quickly to avoid dry spells.
In short, paying attention to freelance statistics can help you avoid pitfalls that might otherwise have negative consequences for you financially.
13 of the Latest Freelance Statistics You as a Developer Should Know
Now that you have an idea of how statistics can work for you, let’s look at some recent freelancing figures. We’ve broken them down into four categories to help you understand where they fit into the big picture.
What Freelancing Looks Like Today
The freelancing landscape has changed significantly in recent years. Our first set of statistics looks at how and why.
1. More People Are Freelancing
Self-employment has become popular in recent years. In fact, 73 percent of Millenials are going straight into freelancing.
More gig-workers in the marketplace can be beneficial to you. It means more familiarity with the concept and fewer fears around hiring freelancers. However, there’s also increased competition. You’ll want to differentiate yourself by offering unique services or advanced skills others may lack.
2. More Freelancers Are Skilled Workers
In the U.S., freelancers tend to be skilled professionals. There are plenty of programmers, marketers, and IT workers vying for clients. To compete, you’ll want to keep your skills sharp. It’s also wise to follow the latest trends, so you can offer in-demand services.
3. Some Freelancers Can’t Work Traditional Jobs
There are many personal situations that make it difficult to manage a nine-to-five. Some people have turned to freelancing as a solution. Today, one in five freelancers has health issues that make traditional careers challenging.
Freelancing offers flexibility that makes it possible for these professionals to remain self-sufficient. Even if you don’t have health concerns, you may have other constraints on your time, such as parenting.
4. Freelancing Is Less Stressful
According to most freelancers, gig-work is less stressful than a traditional job. This is likely due to the ability to manage your workload, work when it’s convenient, and be your own boss.
Remember, this amount of freedom demands self-discipline. If you plan to pursue freelancing, be honest with yourself about whether you can manage your time responsibly.
Freelancing and Education
We’ve already mentioned the importance of honing your unique skills. Now we’ll see what kind of education freelancers typically have.
5. Freelancers Are Educated
In Europe, about half of freelancers hold a Masters or PhD. This doesn’t mean college is required for freelancing. However, if you don’t hold a degree, try to showcase your skills in other ways, such as a portfolio of past work.
6. Freelancers Continue to Learn
More than half of freelancers have had skill training in the past six months. Expect to invest in some form of continuing education to keep up.
In addition to development, consider learning some consulting or mentoring skills. Diversifying your services is always wise, especially in uncertain times.
7. Soft Skills Count
About 78 percent of freelancers believe soft skills are important. These include non-technical characteristics such as emotional intelligence, work ethic, and openness to feedback.
Don’t forget these areas when you’re continuing your education. Soft skills can make you easier to work with, which may lead to positive references you can use to secure more work.
8. Business Skills Are Also Valuable
Business skills are important to 80 percent of freelancers. After all, as a business owner, you’ll need to know how to handle day-to-day tasks such as marketing and bookkeeping.
If you need to brush up, LinkedIn Learning is an excellent source of online education in a variety of areas.
How Freelancers Make Money
When you work for yourself, your income may not always be consistent. Have a look at how freelancers are commonly paid.
9. Most Freelancers Are Paid a Fixed Fee
How you’re paid as a freelancer can vary. In the U.S. in 2019, 48 percent received a fixed fee, while 29 percent were paid hourly, and 23 percent charged a mix of the two.
You’ll have to be prepared for unreliable income, especially when you’re starting out. You might want to try bookkeeping software tailored to freelancers, such as FreshBooks.
10. Freelancers Have Multiple Clients
To mitigate unreliable income, most freelancers have multiple clients. The median number for gig-workers in the U.S. is five. This offers more security than relying on a single employer.
However, handling numerous clients can be tricky. You’ll likely want to use task management software such as Trello to stay organized.
Freelancing can be scary. Yet, the challenges freelancers face aren’t so different from those in traditional jobs.
11. Health Insurance
If you’re in the U.S, you might try joining the Freelancers Union. It partners with several insurance companies to offer benefits to freelancers.
12. Student Debt
Freelancers are more likely to have student loans to pay off. This can make it more difficult to afford health insurance or build savings. If you plan to freelance long term, it may be wise to consult a financial advisor.
13. Living Paycheck to Paycheck
More than half of freelancers live paycheck to paycheck. However, this isn’t much more than the percentage of non-freelancers in the same situation.
That doesn’t mean this isn’t still concerning. Learn how to know when to raise your rates and try seeking out higher-paying clients to increase your income.
Embarking on a career as a freelance developer isn’t for everyone. You’ll need skills, business savvy, and a high tolerance for uncertainty.
In this post, we gave you many statistics to think about, as well as some information about the freelancing landscape today. You’ve also seen the role that education plays in the solopreneur lifestyle. These figures offer you a look at how freelancers make money and some common concerns they share so you can prepare yourself to succeed in this industry.
Do you have questions about working as a freelance developer? Ask us in the comments section below!