To say that the 2008 recession was a jolt to the world's economy is an understatement.
It was a cataclysmic event that rocked the business world and left millions either unemployed, underemployed, or otherwise stuck in jobs they hated. And the tepid economic recovery that followed has transformed many lives as well, but not necessarily for the better.
Many who once held rewarding careers before the recession are now having to work whatever types of jobs they can find, if they can find anything at all. Many college graduates are now waiting tables, stocking shelves at big box stores, and running cash registers. Some have resorted to working two or more part-time jobs to make ends meet. Many have completely given up trying in the belief that it's hopeless to even apply for jobs.
Although the federal government has released monthly jobs reports over the years that show steady improvements in the unemployment rate, the official numbers are highly misleading.
The official unemployment rate does not take into consideration those who have become so discouraged that they have completely given up on trying to find work. The official unemployment rate also does not account for those who are grossly underemployed.
Considering this, the official rate, or the U3 rate as economists call it, is essentially meaningless. It simply doesn't provide an accurate picture of the current economic situation.
Where There's a Will…
Remember the old saying, “Necessity is the mother of all invention?” Many who found themselves out of work following the 2008 economic collapse refused to take no for an answer. These are people who made the decision that if no one would hire them, they would strike out on their own and offer their services as freelancers. And many who have decided to do this are not just surviving, they are thriving.
People choose to become freelancers for different reasons. It isn't always something someone does as a last resort. There are a lot of advantages that freelancers enjoy that their employed counterparts miss out on, like working from home, setting your own hours, and being your own boss.
Freelancers also have the luxury of not having a boss micromanaging them all the time. They can take breaks whenever they want. They can even run an errand during the day without having to ask permission. For many, striking out as freelancers is just as much about freedom as anything else.
With the massive reduction in the corporate workforce that followed the Great Recession, more companies than ever before are turning to freelancers. And these self-employed individuals do just about every kind of work you can think of; they just do it remotely.
Need someone to write compelling copy for your new business ad? You can find a freelancer for that. Looking for someone to code a new web page for your business website? Freelancers are the way to go.
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By Using Freelancers, You Can Get By with Fewer Employees
The primary benefit of using freelancers for a company is you only have to pay freelancers when you need specific work done. You do not have to hire a full-time web designer, for example, if you only need occasional work done on your website.
And the savings don't stop with wages saved. Companies that use freelancers also get to save big money on expensive benefits like health insurance, retirement contributions, vacation time, and others. All freelancers are responsible for buying their own insurance.
Another way companies save money by using freelancers is through competitive bidding for projects. Freelancers usually work by the job instead of by the hour. Competitive bidding allows companies to choose a freelancer based on their portfolio, low bid, or some other factor.
Thanks to competitive bidding, companies know exactly how much they will have to spend on a particular project up front, which makes budgeting easier.
There's no shortage of freelancers for whatever project a company may have. Thanks to the Internet, finding a freelancer is just a few mouse clicks away. Companies can do Internet searches for freelancers or they can go to websites that specialize in connecting freelancers with those who need to hire a freelancer, like Upwork or Guru.
Freelancers In It for the Long-Haul
The seismic shift from employee to freelancer that occurred following the Great Recession is not a temporary trend. The benefits realized by both companies and freelancers are too hard to ignore.
Companies get to save a lot of money by only using freelancers when they have work. And freelancers are free to work for several companies at once, ultimately giving them more financial stability and the ability to earn far more than they would as employees.
Considering the fact that both companies and freelancers benefit from the freelance model, it is reasonable to believe that the freelancer model of entrepreneurship is here to stay and will continue to expand in the years to come.