History of Freelancing

Posted by Andor on Jan 11, 2018, in Freelance

Freelancing is the word that is used more and more nowadays. However, it wasn’t like this always. When you hear the word ‘freelancing’, may be internet, computer or also smartphone come to your mind and this is quite natural. These are basically the tools of the 21st century freelancer. Well, the freelancing history is very stunning and its gradual boost in popularity possesses very clear reasons behind it. Many people possess some wrong ideas about freelance and they tend to consider it from a very narrow point of view. But Freelancing is a very broad spectrum than it might have been imagined. ‘Freelance’ is quite an old word or to say even older than ‘internet’. 

Origin of the word Freelancer

To start with etymology, the word ‘free’ originates from German and it means ‘to love’. Well, the latter half of the word Freelancing is even more interesting. The part ‘lance’ of the word ‘Freelance’ comes from French origin and it means to throw, discharge or hurl with force. You would find several online definitions if you try to know the meaning of the combined words. As per the explanation of one interpretation, ‘to freelance’ means that the individual discharges the force of his or her skills into the work they love. Another definition explained that the individual enjoys the work before throwing it in front of audience. 

History of freelancing 

The word ‘freelance’ has its oldest reference that dates back to early 19th century. It appeared first in The Life and Times of Hugh Miller by Thomas N. Brown in 1809. In the year 1820, the word was mentioned in Sir Walter Scott’s book Ivanhoe that was written in the year 1819. There is a short historical background of what Walter Scott meant by using that word. There were two kinds of soldiers in the middle Ages; some used to work for a king and others worked for whoever paid. Hence, free-lancers were the free mercenary soldiers who used to sell their skills. With years and centuries, this word ‘freelance’ over-passed military field. It found a significant place in business sector. Well, meaning of the word had no significant changes. We yet compete in the market, sell works to several businesses and get paid in return of it. 

How trendy freelancing is?

The growth of freelance workforce is increasing and it has outpaced overall growth of U.S. workforce by 3x since the year 2014.  Well, the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics published the most recent government report on the independent contractors in the year 2005; thus the number of freelancers is not exact in USA. There were about 10.3 million workers of United States at that time who was employed as the independent contractors. An economist at the George Mason University, Jeffrey Eisenach in the year 2011 estimated that the freelancers’ number has increased by about one million. However, a private research company in 2012, the Aberdeen Group estimated that about 8.1 million population of the United States was the part of contingent workforce that is a category of casual labor which consists of freelancing. 

The Freelancers Union in the year 2013 estimated that only one in three workers was self-workers in the United States, more than 4 million workers were self-employed members of creative class, a type of work particularly linked with freelancing industries like technologists, knowledge workers, artists, media workers, entertainers and professional writers. As per the estimation of Freelancers Union in 2016, about 35% of workforce was self-employed in the United States. This particular workforce gained an estimation of $1 trillion from freelancing in the year 2016, a major share of the U.S. economy. MBO Partners carried on a study in 2017, estimating that total number of self-employed American workers of age 21 or above to be about 40.9 million. 

Similarly, freelancers’ number in U.K is even not exact. The Office of National Statistics’ figures show that the individuals mainly working from or at home increased from 9.2% in the year 2001 to about 10.7% in 2011. As per the estimation, there are about 1.7 million freelancers in United Kingdom. Well, freelancing is even gendered form of work. As per the estimates of Freelance Industry Report 2012, more than 71% freelancers were women that fall in the ages of 30 and 50. Other particular freelancing areas’ surveys even show same trends. A demographic research was conducted in the Amazon Mechanical Turk that reveals the majority of workers in North American Mechanical Turk are women. Research of Catherine McKercher on profession journalism showed that males still dominate the media organizations but women dominate as the freelance editors and journalists. 

Top freelance earnings in freelancing

If you want to start your career as a freelancer today, you would definitely want to choose a career path which generates the highest income. However, it is not just as a skill possesses a high demand or it pays well than others, it is the best path for following. There is a reason that $5 is paid to some writers on Fiverr for writing an article of 1000 words while another makes $150 for the similar job in other place. It is significant to know the market as well as see the kinds of skills and jobs getting paid the most. Well, programming jobs, particularly mobile app and software development pays freelancers the highest. The only reason is that it is a skill which is pretty hard to master and even there are not too many efficient coders out in the market. Hence, the demand of expert coders is quite high. A programmer named James Knight left a profitable job at Google for pursuing a career in freelance and at present, he earns more than $1000 per hour working as freelance developer. If you want to earn such an amount as James, start to learn how to code. Well, you might not be able to begin charging $1,000 per hour right away. You would have to develop your reputation gradually. Individuals having strong skills in programming languages such as WebGL and iOS, they could begin to charge about $150 an hour or even more. 

Why work as a freelancer?

A freelancer is a self-employed individual rendering services, generally to businesses and frequently to various clients at a time. Freelancers do varied types of works. A freelancer could offer almost every kind of service a business or enterprise might require and it includes even marketing like social media marketing, publicity and copywriting, writing like blogs and articles, technological support like web design and programming, financial support like book-keeping and creative works like graphic design. You should give freelance a go and the reasons are enlisted below.

- For satisfying creative impulse

Many people are born talented and creative. Such individuals generally possess an immense desire for exhibiting skills in some or the other forms. It is rare they can fin ever a platform in any normal desk job for showcasing their talent. Like for example, a designer who works in a software company might come across a good design idea but there is really no chance for trying out the idea as he or she has to operate within the confines of project needs or job scopes. In freelancing, one can use such ideas to create a great sample and include it in portfolio. 

- For obtaining extra income

Whether you draw a good amount of salary or low each month, it generally runs out much early. Freelance projects can be a good option to work in spare time if your job is not taking many hours out of a day. You would be able to keep job along with benefits and at the same time find out potential clients to work as freelancer from your home network. Many companies prefer engaging freelancers instead of employing a full time in-house designer, artist, writers or developers. One can easily take this advantage and earn added pocket money in this way. 

- For opening up new career options

Freelancing prepares one for professional career ahead.  It even harnesses skills. However, you might find things to progress slower than what you expected in the beginning. It is quite hard to convince an individual for trying something new but things would surely become easier as you will become expert in this field and build clientele list. 

- For working from home

The most attractive option that freelancing offers is individuals can work from home and this is the major factor for pursuing this career as occupation. Beginners could get abundant ways to save on working from home like transportation expenses, time spent to get to and from work, money for gas, buying lunch as well as other expenses. The best thing probably would be that there would be no meetings, office drama and politics from the workplace. You will be able to focus on only get the work done and paid only for it. 

- For picking up holidays at your will

It is hard to get days off while working in office but the scenario is distinct for freelancers. After you complete a project, don’t just accept any new assignment to have a break from work. You will be just packing your bags and travel to your favorite destination with friends or family. 

So, these were some of the reasons of why people should work as freelancer. Bear in mind that you could be more lenient always with yourself and even by having perfect time management along with knowing where to set the boundaries. 

Was this information useful?