Are you stuck between jobs, frustrated by what opportunities are out there and longing to start something of your own? You are not alone.
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), there are more than 22 million businesses in America whose owners are self-employed with no additional payroll or employees. The SBA calls these start-ups “non-employers.”
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Many of these non-employers fly under the radar of the Census Bureau and the SBA because of their size and resulting lack of impact on the economy, but together they comprise about 75 percent of all U.S. businesses. Here are some other SBA statistics about non-employers:
- To classify as a “non-employer” your business must have annual receipts of $1,000 or more and be subject to federal income taxes
- Nearly 20 million non-employer businesses are sole proprietorships; 1.6 million are partnerships; and 1.4 million are corporations
Many of these non-employers go by another title: freelance businesses. The internet has given rise to a wide variety of largely home-based businesses that provide an array of professional services to clients. When you combine low-start-up costs, low overhead, flexibility of hours and independence to the fact that many large companies have down-sized their staffs or out-sourced certain positions, you can see why freelancing is a booming business.
When you think of freelancing, what comes to mind? If you think artist or writer, you are correct, but in today’s terms, you’d do well to broaden your scope. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines a freelancer as “a person who acts independently without being affiliated with or authorized by an organization” and “a person who pursues a profession without a long-term commitment to any one organization.” Freelancers account for an estimated 16 million American workers, and MBO Partners Independent Workforce Index figures predict that number may increase to 65 million by the end of the decade.
Are you ready to take the plunge as an independent worker?
Here are six freelance businesses that are thriving in 2014:
Many big companies slashed their marketing and public relations departments in an attempt to cut costs in recent economic downturns. These staff reductions have created an opportunity for freelance marketing professionals. Freelance marketers help to create brand strategies, plan social media campaigns and help manage client relationships with customers, the community and the media.
Marketing is well-paying freelance gig, earning workers a national average of $57 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Businesses lose money quickly when their applications or software don’t work, and many customers will look elsewhere and not return. That’s why experienced, qualified freelance testers can quickly get more work than they can handle. Freelance testers use client websites, software, mobile applications and video games to pinpoint any issues with the service they provide. Estimated earnings are about $25 an hour, depending on the job.
Although the phrase “content is king” has become passé, thank goodness, writers are in demand for all sorts of tasks, and their work usually needs editors and proofreaders. Writers create original content on a by-lined basis and as ghost-writers for websites, blogs, reference guides, e-books, training manuals, academic articles and legal documents. Rates vary widely according to the project, but the BLS sets the national median hourly rate at about $30.
Freelance financial accountants help companies reconcile their year-end accounts and help with year-end audits and tax returns. Financial services may also include providing billing and inventory management, maintaining payroll and other routine bookkeeping tasks. Earnings are an estimated $16 to $30 per hour.
Many insurance companies look to freelancers to assist with home and business inspections and appraisals. Inspectors gather written information, including measurements and detailed descriptions of the property, and take photographs help their employers identify risk and/or to make suggestions to improve risk. The BLS estimates the national hourly rate at $28.
There has been an explosion recently of sites offering freelance teaching and tutoring jobs. You can do everything from one-on-one Skype sessions to standardized testing for a variety of age and grade levels. There also is a big demand for English as a second language (ESL) teachers and translators. Pay range varies quite a bit, but the average is about $25 an hour.
Now you need to know where to go to get started on your freelance journey. Check out established sites such ifreelance.com, freelancer.com and elance.com. These sites require you to set up a profile that highlights your experience before you are able to apply for jobs. Don’t discount the idea of marketing your services locally to friends, family and colleagues as well.