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Freelancers and the Growing “Gig” Economy

By Site Strategics
February 12, 2016

In our latest Edge of the Web Radio Show, we interviewed Susan Marshall of Torchlite Marketing. Our discussion centered on freelancers and the growing “gig” economy. This new economy has developed in response to shifting worker preferences and the ability to work remotely. The proliferation of smartphones has also bolstered the “gig” economy.

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More working Americans will be freelancers than not by the year 2020, according to a recent article published on Tech.Co. In the digital marketing sphere, freelancers working on “gigs” is the new alternative.

Pryor’s article states there are five defined segments of freelancers who make up this new economy, according to a 2014 report completed by the Freelancers Union & Elance-oDesk:

  • Independent contractors (40 percent or 21.1 million)
  • Moonlighters (27 percent or 14.3 million)
  • Diversified workers (18 percent or 9.3 million)
  • Temporary Workers (10 percent or 5.5 million
  • Freelance business owners (5 percent or 2.8 million)

Yet there are still hot-button issues surrounding this new type of economy, including the lack of worker protections such as healthcare benefits and expense reimbursement. “

You’re responsible for your own health insurance, and for doing all your own accounting, including remembering to set aside money that will have to go towards taxes,” said Pryor.

Nevertheless, some companies are providing their freelancers with steady income. In turn, freelancers feel empowered as entrepreneurs and their creativity is able to flow without having to worry about their uncertain future.

“Many people become freelancers for the independence and flexibility it offers them,” said Pryor. “They can work when and where they choose, they can set their own rates, and they can effectively be their own bosses.”