The Freelance Revolution Is Just Getting Started: Key Trends In 2022

The Freelance Revolution Is Just Getting Started: Key Trends In 2022

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1. More ... of everything freelance

It’s tough to be pessimistic about the freelance revolution. The data show market strength, freelancer satisfaction, a growing support ecosystem, and increased business conviction.  McKinsey estimates 500 million freelancers working through platforms before 2030. Covid-19 didn’t create the freelance revolution, but it’s been quite an accelerant.

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2. More ... platforms

Platform creation grows unabated. I get several requests each week from new-to-me platforms seeking funding, publicity, or advice.  My estimate - 800-1000 platforms - feels low. An updated global census is sorely needed and one is in the works by the Center for the Transformation of Work (CTW).

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3. More ... funding available for startups

VCs invested $621 billion in 2021, double 2020. Freelance platforms took a good chunk of that investment, with larger A and B rounds than ever.  Africa, SE Asia and Latam are fast growing and supported markets, and have strong access to global investment.

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4. More ... freelance ease getting paid

While freelancers’ generally make good money according to Payoneer, payment difficulties and delays still frustrate.  A new UK survey by WondaPay gives hope: Freelancers reported spending less time chasing invoices and receiving pay, and only 10% reported payment delays. But, progress is uneven. Worksome’s recent survey says receivables hassles remain troublesome.

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5. More ... reasons to leave the nest and turn to freelancing

Employee engagement is down, leadership trust in decline, employees resist returning to the office, others are actively looking elsewhere or biding their time.  The four day work week, a welcome initiative, hasn’t caught on.  Nearly half of US corporate staff say they will leave if their 

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5. More ... reasons to leave the nest and turn to freelancing

company lacks a hybrid option. No surprise freelancing is growing.

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6. More ... employees choosing “freelance lite”

Almost 40% of employees have a side gig. This is huge because more employees know they have options, know freelancing offers a realistic and attractive alternative, and are demanding a “freelance lite” work experience from employers: More flexibility and work-life balance, assignment choice, faster career opportunity, hybrid work, and better pay.

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7. More ... ways to build a freelance career

Smart freelancers build portfolio freelance careers, and there are so many options for part- and full-time freelancers.  Online courses, coaching gigs, podcasts, expert networks that pay for knowledge sharing, newsletter subscriptions, and micro-community building are new ways freelancers build income, network and brand.  Platforms like Talmix.com and 

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7. More ... ways to build a freelance career

Expertpowerhouse.com help by offering consulting freelancers opportunity in expert networks and interim management.

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8. More ... platform investment in attracting freelancers

Freelancing has a supply problem, not a demand problem. Platforms teams recognize talent is their most important asset and scarcest resource.  More full-time freelancers are needed. To attract them, some eliminate fees or reduce rates.  Others offer education and business tools. Or organize 

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8. More ... platform investment in attracting freelancers

regular events and meetups. Or pay in crypto. Or provide business coaching or PR support through award postings, blog writing, webinars and podcasts.  Or help freelancers team up and “hunt in packs.” The shift from talent warehouse to talent engagement isn’t yet a tsunami, but it’s more than a wave.

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9. More ... interest in crypto and blockchain

More platforms are using crypto as a payment alternative, and blockchain to capture the full contribution of freelancers: Performance, credentials, experience, and platform contributions.  Will payment- in-crypto interest outlast stock market volatility? We’ll see. The bigger game is blockchain. Expect increased adoption and an acceleration 

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9. More ... interest in crypto and blockchain

of experimentation: we’re still in early innings.

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10. More ... companies using proprietary platforms for direct sourcing

It’s the classic Gillette strategy: Give away the handle, sell the blades.  Platforms offer enterprise clients help in creating a proprietary platform and populate it with a curated selection of platform freelancers.  Now, corporate clients are adding independent freelancers 

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10. More ... companies using proprietary platforms for direct sourcing

and alumni, as well as boutique consultancies to their proprietary platforms.  Expect this trend to continue and grow.

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