We monitor countless quality sources on freelancing and choose only the best content to save your time.
Subscribe to our monthly Freeletter with a curated selection of world-class freelance news and subscribers-only content + get our free PDF guide How to become an international freelancer right now as a new subscriber:
Your privacy matters: We won’t share your email address with anyone else and you can cancel your subscription anytime. Also, we do not store anyone’s IP address nor do we track who opens and reads our newsletter.
Bilingual copywriter Carlie Sitzman’s blog post for Freelancers Union outlines What to know before becoming an international freelancer, and concludes: Nothing is obvious, don’t take anything for granted.
“It’s time for a radical shift in how we present ourselves as designers,” argues Benek Lisefski in his article Person before portfolio. His point is that the design process and its rather predictable outcomes became de-facto industry standards, presented by empty buzzwords. What differs is the person behind the design.
Slow internet connection? The super-fast 18.104.22.168 DNS service provided by Cloudflare might be a key to the solution.
Freelancers are hard to define, but an estimate of self-employed European freelancers can be reached thanks to a great research report Exploring self-employment in the European Union by Eurofund (published 2017, updated 2021).
There were 32 million self-employed workers, full-time or part-time, within the EU workforce (14% out of 221.7 million). These were divided into five clusters:
Stable own-account workers (3.8% of the EU workforce) seem to be a good approximation for freelancers:
“Nearly all like being self-employed and do not find it hard to bear the responsibility. The bargaining power of the self-employed in this cluster is strong, as they are very likely to have more than one client (93%) and can easily find new ones. … Almost 90% are able to take time off at short notice for private matters.” (abridged)
However, most represented there are Shopkeepers (3.8%), Hairdressers (3.6%), Domestic cleaners and helpers (3.6%), and other professions who are not likely to identify as freelancers. Luckily, the report also states that 9% of the self-employed (1.2% of the EU workforce) identified as doing freelance work.
Conclusion: The number of self-employed freelancers (full-time and part-time) can be estimated roughly between 1.2% and 3.8% of EU workforce.
“When you think about freelancing, in general, only 3% — and this is mind-blowing — 3% of freelancing is happening online… Holy crap! 3%, that’s it.”
Fiverr’s company presentation from August 2021 reiterates: “Freelancing is still an old-school business.”
Our take: It is unclear how Fiverr reached their estimate (referring to SIA, McKinsey, US Census of Bureau), but it is roughly in line with the estimate given by Gig Economy Data Hub (quoting BLS, IRS, JPMorgan). The vast majority of freelance work really happens offline.
Most independent professionals are knowledge workers, so aiming for excellent mental health and performance makes great sense. Ōura ring wearable device is a great helper here for monitoring sleep, activity, and readiness.
Our take: At €314, Ōura is not cheap, but it is also highly praised by life-hackers who deep-test its technology and results. Check out Tom Baranek’s article Dreaming about Better Sleep for comparison.
Freelance Corner podcast positions itself as “the only expert-led podcast for the UK’s freelance community,” and it is backed by IPSE — so, definitely worth giving a try.
Freelancers Union’s article on How to make your freelance money go further skips the hype and actually provides some solid 1-2-3 financial advice to follow:
The monthly Freelance Business Digest newsletter by Elina Jutelyte and her team emerges as one of the best in Europe. Browse the archive, and subscribe for free to get their regular dose of freelance inspiration.
Our take: The freelance economy is vastly greater than all the freelance platforms combined, which is good news for investors because there’s huge space for growth. Platforms that interfere between freelancers and their clients will always have limited appeal for independent professionals. On the other hand, their market share has been growing, and Fiverr’s evolution from an appalling low-cost service to disrupting Upwork’s business is remarkable. Its projected growth is likely sustainable.