The proliferation of high-speed technology has made it much easier for anyone, young or old, technically skilled or new to computers, to create an independent professional career and make a decent living. Because the modern economy is truly global in scale, there is probably someone somewhere who needs whatever skills you have. And because that global economy is connected through the internet, you don’t even have to leave your home to package and sell your skills. Here is a quick breakdown about how anyone can leverage the magic of the technological age to build a freelancing career.
Overturning the Traditional Work Structure
Technology has replaced many traditional business functions that used to require travel or the secure transfer of information. Technology also makes it possible to automate many tasks, such as system organization or data interpretation. It is difficult to imagine a business that does not use email, work within some kind of IT architecture, and have a presence on Facebook or even its own website.
Consumers have also adjusted their habits. This is especially true in Canada. Some studies suggest Canadians spend more time on the web than any other nation on Earth, an average of 36.3 hours online each month. By comparison, Americans spend 35.2 hours online in a month. For Brits, it is “only” 33 hours.
Freelancers can take advantage of this, first and foremost, by being online themselves. If you tell an individual or company that you can give it what it wants and all it has to do is get online to receive it, well then you instantly have an advantage.
Upwork Skills Index
Upwork, the world’s largest online freelance website, released its first-ever index of the [fastest-growing freelance skills] (https://www.upwork.com/press/2016/07/07/upwork-releases-first-ever-quarterly-skills-index-revealing-fastest-growing-freelance-skills-u-s/) on July 7, 2016.
Here is a quick read of the top 10. Notice the heavy emphasis on technology skills and ubiquitous online presence:
- UX design
- ASP development
- Shopify development
- English proofreading
- SEO writing
- Virtual assistant
- Lead generation
- Data mining
- Video editing
Building a Freelance Lifestyle Online
The term “freelancer” actually originated in feudal Europe. In those times, a lot of men trained themselves as professional soldiers and sold their services to whichever lord needed them. In a very literal sense, these warriors were “free lances.” Modern freelancers have the same mercenary attitude and income model, although the stakes are a little less risky. It is the role of the freelancer to perform and sell a skill that potential clients do not have the time or aptitude to do on their own.
The nice thing is you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Estimates vary, but it is generally believed that independent contractors and freelancers make up between one-quarter and one-third of the workforce in many Western, industrialized countries. If this is the lifestyle you want, use search engines and online courses to pick up new skills from the trailblazers who came before you. Utilize computer-based programs to keep track of your clients and manage your budget. All you really need is a computer and some creativity.