We’re experiencing a fundamental shift in the employment landscape that attracts individuals who want to build a flexible work schedule around their chosen lifestyles. The gig economy does that for many freelancers, but this new work ethic carries risks as well — the loss of job security and a regular paycheck among them.
A new way to work
Newcomers to freelancing face a strange and sometimes daunting new world. Their former workplace colleagues now are their competitors for work, and their employers have signed on for short-term contracts only. Working without a formal support system, freelancers often battle insecurity and depression while facing the stresses of uncertain assignments and isolation from colleagues, friends and family.
There are no reliable estimates for the number of freelance writers working today, whether they’re writing fulltime or as a side hustle, but it’s fair to say that we are a relatively small segment of the entire gig economy. It’s also fair to say that freelance writers may be the best qualified segment of the entire freelance labor market to successfully balance the opportunities and the pitfalls of living in the gig world. We’ve been freelancing for a long time and along the way we’ve learned a few things about making it work. Most important is the realization that being a freelancer doesn’t always mean that you must go it alone.
A community of independent entrepreneurs competing for the same jobs sounds like a contradiction in terms, and in some ways that’s true. But a community of freelancers can provide benefits that would be difficult or impossible for an individual to obtain on his or her own.
Find your community, even if you must build it. Navigating the gig economy will be easier with colleagues who will inspire you, who will encourage you and who will have your back no matter what happens.