The Success of Six-Figure Freelancers

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The Success of Six-Figure Freelancers

The Success of Six-Figure Freelancers

Far from the image of freelancers scratching out a living, independent workers are in fact out-earning traditional workers.

According to a 2018 report from MBO Partners, which examines independent workers in the US, identified a prime group of freelancers: the High-Earning Independents. These are the freelancers, contractors, consultants, and gig workers that are exceeding $100,000 a year – and their numbers are increasing, hitting 3.3 million and representing 20.9% of full-time independent workers or just over one in five. A similar study in 2015 predicted 3.8 million American six-figure freelancers by 2020 as the demand for flexible and remote working increases.

Freelancers are responding to businesses’ needs

There are a number of reasons for the success of independent workers, including an unstable economy, workers’ desires for a better work-life balance, and platforms that match independents with individuals or companies seeking particular skills, but the primary cause is businesses’ reliance on an external workforce. In a study from SAP Fieldglass, 65% of senior executives at large and medium-sized companies reported that external workers were essential for operating at their peak, while almost half said that they would be unable to function as usual without them. Small businesses are also relying on freelancers for projects that don’t require a full-time worker on a salary. External talent is no longer the after-thought: businesses are recognising the value in a diverse workforce that has plenty of experience with other companies and tasks, and skills shortages in the company mean that freelancers are often hired to fill in the gaps.

Independent workers have to sell themselves

One great idea can make a millionaire of an entrepreneur, but freelancers have to sell themselves as a product. To be successful, freelancers are often expanding their portfolios to work with a wider range of clients or those with more complex requirements, but finding their niche in which to sell works even better. For those with in-demand skills there is often no need to diversify. In general, U.S. freelancers are earning $31 an hour, or 17% more than their salaried counterparts, but, as is the case throughout every economy, the highest-paid workers often have the rarest skills.

The industries paying the most for freelancers

Technology expertise dominates at the high-paying skillset. Freelancers that develop artificial intelligence and deep learning algorithms command $115.06 per hour, with blockchain technology development coming second with $87.05 per hour. Robotics, ethical hacking, and cryptocurrency skills are also in high demand at $77.46, $66.33 and $65.37 per hour respectively. Lambda coding, virtual reality development, React JavaScript developers, Final Cut Pro editors, and Instagram marketers can also name a high price. In fact, one Google coder left one of the most sought-after employers in the industry to go freelance – and doubled his income.

How successful freelancers are starting out

Like most things, a six-figure income isn’t going to come easily. To earn £100,000 in a year equates £264 a day, without factoring in days off – realistically, over forty-eight weeks of the year working five days a week, a freelancer will need to make on average £417 a day, or £2083 a week. Utilising a platform that can match the freelancer’s skills and experience with clients is often the first step in building a reputation for consistent, effective work – and from there it’s hard work and smart decisions to take on bigger and better projects.

One Response

  1. Natalie says:

    Interesting article.

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