Call it the curse of the last recession or the quest to be leaner; the freelancing economy has grown multifold in the last decade. Even the Millennials have showered love on it, for it gives them the chance to own the work schedule and select the pace of their assignments. The new generation is looking at freelancing as an income stream, they have a lesser interest in building a career out of one job stream, they don’t believe in working for one employer or doing one kind of work for many years

Earlier doing freelancing job used to be considered as a synonym of being unemployed. Freelancing can no longer be seen as part-time employment; there are so many highly skilled people who have taken freelancing as their full-time role. Fortune 500 biggies are also beginning to embrace an on-demand labor mode, enabling them to be financially flexible, operationally agile and geared up for global competition. With freelancing, companies can get access to talent to build the best in class offering, without worrying about the immigration and other legal hurdles.

Advancement of Internet and English as the common language has helped cross-border freelancing to a huge extent. Earlier one would register with the recruitment agencies to get access to freelancing work, but now one can find ample amount of opportunities from the comfort of the home through the internet on websites like upwark, toptal, craigslist, fiverr, 99designs, etc.

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The freelancing or the gig economy has been tempered by the dynamics of rating each other. In the beginning, due to the absence of ratings one could get fleeced, with the passage of time and repository of delivery, the freelancers and companies have build a reputation for themselves in the marketplace. Be it Uber or Airbnb or Udemy, the ratings are helping both sides connect fruitfully.

Working remotely is no longer a pain; smartphones, web apps, higher bandwidth and other technological innovations have enabled 24/7 connections across the world. Advances in online project management tools and Escrow payment systems has also turbo charged this segment, these tools have made it easier and safer to work with some one who is sitting across the world. Sectors that have grown fastest in freelancing work are content writing, digital marketing, web/app development, graphic design & animation.

Even the governments are taking note of this radical shift, in order to prevent the freelancers from being exploited the governments are exploring creation of a new category altogether, called the freelance category,  and define it’s rights.

Jappreet Sethi

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