Study Estimates About 53 Million Americans Are Freelancing


CoverofFreelancingReport (2)More than one in three workers — 53 million Americans — are now freelancing, according to the most comprehensive survey of the U.S. independent workforce in nearly a decade.

The study, “Freelancing in America: A National Survey of the New Workforce,” was conducted by the independent research firm Edelman Berland and commissioned by Freelancers Union in partnership with Elance-oDesk.

“Freelancing is the new normal — and this survey shows that America’s new workforce is big, crucial, and here to stay,” said Sara Horowitz, Founder and Executive Director of Freelancers Union.

“The 53 million Americans who are freelancing already contribute more than $700 billion to our national economy and help U.S. businesses compete and find the skills that they need. This is just the start: The connected era we live in is liberating our workforce. The barriers to being a freelance professional — finding work, collaborating with clients and getting paid on time — are going away,” said Fabio Rosati, CEO of Elance-oDesk.

Key Findings

The economic impact of the 53 million Americans who are freelancing is significant. Collectively, they contribute more than $715 billion in freelance earnings to the national economy. And that impact is expected to grow in the coming years. Findings show that:

Freelancers are seeing more demand for their work. Twice as many freelancers have seen an increase in demand in the past year as have seen a decrease (32% increase, versus 15% decrease).

Technology is helping freelancers find work. Nearly seven in ten (69%) freelancers said technology had made it easier to find freelance work, and 42% said they have done freelance work via the Internet.

As demand increases, so does their reputation. Almost two out of three (65%) freelancers said freelancing as a career path is more respected today than it was three years ago.

The potential for earnings is helping to drive the growth of freelancing.  80% of non-freelancers surveyed said they would be willing to do additional work outside of their primary job if it was available and enabled them to make more money.

There is room for growth. Three times as many freelancers expect their hours to increase in the next year as expect their hours to decrease (38% expect to increase hours, versus 12% expect to decrease).

Millennials (workers under 35) are more likely to freelance. 38% of Millennials are freelancing, compared to 32% of those over 35. Millennials are also most optimistic about the future of the freelance job market, with 82% saying that the best days are ahead (compared to 74% of those over 35).

Five Freelancer Segments

The study identified five segments of freelancers, covering the diverse range of people who are freelancing today:

Independent Contractors (40% of the independent workforce / 21.1 million professionals). These “traditional” freelancers don’t have an employer and instead do freelance, temporary or supplemental work on a project-to-project basis.

Moonlighters (27% / 14.3 million). This professionals have a primary, traditional job but also moonlight doing freelance work. For example, a corporate-employed web developer may also do projects for non-profits in the evening.

Diversified Workers (18% / 9.3 million). This group includes people with multiple sources of income from a mix of traditional employers and freelance work. For example, someone who works at a dentist’s office 20 hours a week may generate the rest of his income driving for Uber and doing freelance writing.

Temporary Workers (10% / 5.5 million). These freelancers work for a single employer or client on a temporary job or contract project. For example, a business strategy consultant may be contracted to work for a startup client on project that lasts several months. .

Freelance Business Owners (5% / 2.8 million). These freelancers are small-business owners, with between one and five employees. The freelance business owner consider himself both a freelancer and a business owner. For example, a social marketing guru still identifies as a freelancer even after hiring a team of other social marketers to build a small agency. .

Mikki Morrissette of Minneapolis spent more than a decade in corporate publishing in New York City before switching over to become a freelance writer and communications specialist 15 years ago.

“I am so much happier in this new stage of my career,” Morrissette said. “As a single mom with two kids, and an itch for travel, I love the flexibility. I get to choose the projects I work on and mostly work with other eclectic entrepreneurs like me. I love being free to pursue my interests where they take me.”

About the “Freelancing in America” Study

For the study, more than 5,050 U.S. working adults over the age of 18 were surveyed online between July 19, 2014 – July 31, 2014. Of those, 1,720 were freelancers and 3,332 were non-freelancers. Results are weighted to ensure demographic representation in line with the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013 Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey. The study has an overall margin of error of ±1.38% at the 95% level of confidence.

About Freelancers Union

The Freelancers Union serves the needs of the growing sector of independent workers. More than one in three working Americans is an independent worker. They are lawyers, nannies, graphic designers, writers, artists, photographers, illustrators, marketing specialists, and more.

About Elance-oDesk

Elance-oDesk is one of the world’s largest online workplaces. More than 2.5 million businesses and 8 million freelancers tap into and to work together via the Internet.


Freelancing in America: A National Survey of the New Workforce

About Freelancers Union


E-Book Excerpt Helps New Writers and Publishers Understand Plagiarism

The popularity of blogging, e-book publishing, and content marketing has attracted many aspiring authors and untrained freelance writers who may not be fully aware of what constitutes plagiarism.  If you are new to publishing, this lack of knowledge could be damaging.

BeginningWritersAnswerBookFor example, one recent plagiarism case involved self-published “author” Jordin Williams who had hired a ghostwriter through the online freelance marketplace Without Williams’ knowledge, the ghostwriting freelancer plagiarized works from romance writers Tammara Webber and Jamie McGuire.

In the “Beginning Writer’s Answer Book” published by Writer’s Digest, editor Jane Friedman outlines four forms of plagiarism:

  • Inserting parts of someone else’s work into your own without citing the source
  • Submitting work done by someone else with your name on it
  • Paraphrasing someone else’s words and trying to pass them off as your own
  • Taking an article that you have sold the rights to and reusing all or parts of it in a new work

Information that can help you better understand the rules of quoting and when you need to seek permission from a book publisher is included in an e-book excerpt from the Answer Book entitled “What Are the Rights of Others?.” The excerpt can be downloaded for $5.99.

For $15.99 you can download the complete Beginning Writer’s Answer Book. The 452-page guide includes 29 chapters on topics such as formatting and submitting your work, selling nonfiction work, writing and selling articles, starting a freelance career, providing photographs and art with your writing, and using a pen name.

The guide also covers copyright basics and publishing jargon. The chapters at the end of the book answer questions about specialized fields such as: writing poetry, children’s books, scripts, and songs; writing for newspapers; and self-publishing.

In the Writer’s Digest Shop, you can find hundreds of books and webinars, including a list of free articles on topics such as how to publish a book (traditional publishing vs. self-publishing) and how to write a query letter.


Beginning Writer’s Answer Book, edited by Jane Friedman

E-Book Excerpt: What Are the Rights of Others?

About Writer’s Digest: Free Advice—Articles about Writing

Ebyline Helps Publishers Connect with Freelance Journalists

Happy International Freelancer’s Day! In honor of the occasion, I am calling attention to Ebyline, a new service announced in June. The service is catering to the growing number of businesses that choose to hire contract-based or freelance workers as needed instead of adding to their full-time staff.

Ebyline is an online platform that connects publishers with journalists and other freelance content providers through a virtual newsroom. The goal is to provide publishers, editors, brands, and content developers with access to top-quality freelance writers at an affordable cost.

Ebyline’s pitch to freelance writers is that their service enables you to receive and track assignments from multiple clients, and “Get paid for your work quickly, without the need to create invoices and follow up on payments owed.”

In the press release announcing the company’s launch, Ebyline’s CEO and co-founder Bill Momary said that “Ebyline has recruited and curated a stable of over 2,000 highly qualified freelance writers and journalists in the U.S. With our simple management tools, these journalists are now readily available to newspapers, magazines, blogs and brands that are looking to expand their quality content. Our trusted network allows publications to cover any topic, or create any story they want efficiently and professionally.”

Publishers and businesses can use Ebyline’s self-service platform to manage content production, hire professional journalists, and expand coverage. Four tiers of service are offered:

Basic: This free version of the Virtual Newsroom gives users a simple, clean, easy-to-use dashboard to track all of their freelancers, staff writers, assignments, due dates, pitches and other workflow tasks. The dashboard makes it easy to invite freelancers into the system, assign stories, provide background media, negotiate pricing and track projects through to completion.

Plus: This level offers all of the workflow tools of the Basic product plus features that can help publishers find journalists, expand coverage, and manage operations. For example, by accessing Ebyline’s database of contributors, publishers can find journalists for spot reporting or writers with expertise in specific topics. Ebyline Plus also offers plagiarism scanning tools , reporting and stats, and access to syndicated content from a range of publishers.

Plus w/Payments: Publishers who choose this level of service receive features that allow them to automatically manage all invoicing, billing and payment to freelancers. The payment system also handles all 1099s and independent contractor agreements.
Enterprise: The complete Virtual Newsroom solution can help publications be more efficient while aligning their business models with new economic realities. With the Virtual Newsroom, publishers can automate freelancer administration tasks including assignment and pitch flow, tax management, and electronic payment processing.  Through Ebyline’s marketplace platform, publishers can earn incremental revenue by selling news content directly to other publishers.

The Enterprise edition also offers custom integration with the publisher’s CMS/publishing tool, access to Ebyline’s content strategy team, and advanced management features including private domains.

“Our goal is to help business users and publishers concentrate on their core strengths by automating the content production workflow,” said Allen Narcisse, Ebyline’s COO and co-founder. “The reality is that 70 percent of writers and reporters work for themselves nowadays, and hiring qualified outside sources to produce reliable, quality content has traditionally been a high-cost, inefficient endeavor. Now publishers and business users can access Ebyline and manage all aspects of the freelance hiring process – from hiring to payments to project management – immediately and inexpensively.”

Ebyline’s founders are veterans of the Los Angeles Times and specialists in new content distribution models. Ebyline’s client partners include E.W. Scripps & Col., Gatehouse Media, Intel, and others.



AWAI Updates Online Course on Freelance Copywriting

Freelance writers can expand their services (and revenues) by diversifying into more lucrative, specialized fields such as copywriting. One organization that can help you learn the secrets of persuasive writing is American Writers & Artists (AWAI) Inc. They recently completed a top-to-bottom updating of their “Masters Program for Six-Figure Copywriting.” The update (dubbed Version 3.0) is the most thorough overhaul of the content since the copywriting program was created 12 years ago.

Designed to help new copywriters ratchet up their skills, the Masters Program contains lessons based on the analysis of direct-response sales letters, campaigns, and web copy.

The AWAI team added new copywriting secrets based on current trends, created multimedia elements such as audio and video presentations, and upated every single section with new techniques, strategies, and information. The entire copywriting program is now online, making it accessible to freelance writers worldwide.

The six modules of the course will teach you how to:

  • Simplify your writing so you communicate one idea at a time in short sentences
  • Incorporate high-level selling skills into written copy and video presentations
  • Write online sales letters
  • Get readers to open sales emails
  • Improve your headlines and bullet points
  • Optimize the performance of your home page
  • Write copy to overcome short attention spans
  • Deal with clients and build up your copywriting business
  • Find a winning tone, style, and voice for your writing
  • Increase your daily productivity

Since 1997, American Writers and Artists Inc. has been publishing home-study programs for direct-response copywriting, travel writing, photography, and graphic design. Other titles in their library of programs include:

How to Write Online Video Scripts for B2B Companies

How to Price, Quote, and Win B2B Writing Projects

Build Your Freelance Website in Four Days

The Legalities of Copywriting Made Simple


About American Writers & Artists, Inc.

Master’s Program for Six-Figure Copywriting: Version 3.0

Writing Coach Helps Freelancers Be Prolific and Confident

WRITERS. Writing coach Angela Booth has released a new creativity training program entitled: “Turn Your Creativity into Cash: Writers’ Creativity Secrets.”  The program combines a 63-page PDF e-book and a collection of motivational MP3 audio files that encourage you to “Affirm! Take Charge of Your Writing and Your Life.”

Based on insights gained while coaching individual writers, Booth developed the “Turn  Your Creativity Into Cash” program to help two kinds of writers: those who are stuck in a low-paid writing ghetto, and writers who lack confidence.

“There are endless opportunities for writers today. Professionals are fully booked for months ahead,” says Booth. She believes writers need two things to succeed: “They need to be creative, and prolific, both in writing, and in promoting their work.”

If you spend a lot of time writing a lot of low-paid jobs, the strategies presented in “Turn Your Creativity into Cash: Writers’ Creativity Secrets” might help you get better-paying gigs.

If you lack the confidence to promote yourself, Booth says you might be missing some great opportunities or failing to make the most of opportunities you’re given.  The motivational audios help eliminate negative beliefs, and build confidence and imagination. The goal is to encourage you to be more proactive in your marketing efforts, and less tentative in going about it.

Angela uses the MP3 audio files herself, and says: “Many of us carry negative beliefs. They’re deeply embedded in our unconscious mind, so we’re unaware of them. We only recognize them because they limit our writing. The MP3s help writers to clear negativities which constrain their creativity.”

Angela Booth is a copywriter, and writing teacher who has been writing successfully since the 1970s. She offers guides, courses, and classes on different types of writing.


Turn Your Creativity into Cash: Writers’ Creativity Secrets

Angela Booth’s Writing Blogs

About Angela Booth


Online Employment Report Shows Growing Demand for Creative Skills

In its “Global Online Employment Report – Q1 2012,” Elance notes a significant rise in the demand for online workers with creative skills in design, multimedia, and writing.

According to report, “The rise in creative jobs has been driven by consumer demand for video, audio and visuals and by marketers incorporating this content into marketing and social media strategies. Graphic design jobs are now the second most demanded skill on Elance, and other skills in this category increased substantially in Q1, including: video production (+68%), video editing (+56%), audio editing (+52%) and voiceover (+48%).”

In Q1 2012, 42% of the jobs posted on Elance were in the “Creative” category. Source: Elance Global Online Employment Report

Compared to last quarter, the demand for creative skills was up 32%. Within this category, the skills most in demand were web design (+101%), Photoshop (+71%), graphic design (+70%), video production (+68%), and content writing (+56%).

The online employment report notes that “The Online Employment Industry shows no signs of slowing. During the recession, companies turned to freelance labor to control costs and manage uncertainty. Now, as the economy rebounds, demand has continued, driven by small business hiring, and talent opting to work online.” The analysts also see a fundamental shift in how enterprises are using online workers in their workforce strategy.


Press Release: New Global Employment Report Highlights Online Work Trends

Elance Global Online Employment Report – Q1 2012

About Elance

Nonfiction Writers Conference To Be Held Online May 16-18

WRITERS. Registration is now open for The Nonfiction Writers Conference, a 3-day online teleconference for writers who want to learn how to publish profitable non-fiction books.  Five 50-minute sessions will be presented from 9 am to 3 pm PST on Wednesday, May 16, Thursday, May 17, and Friday, May 18.

Topics include traditional and self-publishing, e-books, virtual book tours, social media, Amazon sales strategies, blogging, SEO, professional speaking, freelance writing, information product sales, and other book marketing tactics.

Conference organizer Stephanie Chandler has assembled a stellar line-up of 15 speakers, including:

  • Dan Poynter, author of “The Self-Publishing Manual”
  • Mark Coker, founder of the e-book publishing platform
  • John Kremer, author of “1001 Ways to Market Your Books”
  • Michael Larsen, literary agent
  • Penny Sansevieri, author of “Red Hot Internet Publicity”
  • Jane Atkinson, author of “The Wealthy Speaker”
  • Jim Horan, author of “The One Page Business Plan”
  • D’vorah Lansky, author of “Book Marketing Made Easy”
  • Roger C. Parker, author of “Looking Good in Print”
  • Karl Palachuk, author of “Publish Your First Book: A Quick-Start Guide to Professional Publishing in a Digital Age”
  • Dana Lynn Smith, author of “How to Sell More Books on Amazon”
  • Kevin Smokler, author of “Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times”
  • Peter Bowerman, author of “The Well-Fed Writer”
  • Bill Belew, a search engine optimization expert.

Chandler, who has written a book “From Entrepreneur to Infopreneur:  Make Money with Books, eBooks and Information Products,” will also present a session.

The speakers will discuss:

  • How to write a compelling book with market appeal.
  • Methods for generating business revenue and opportunities with your book.
  • Simple ways to attract valuable media exposure.
  • How to break into professional speaking–from free to fee!
  • Ways to build your platform and get known as an expert in your industry.
  • How to take advantage of low-cost, high-return social media marketing strategies with Facebook and Twitter.
  • What it takes to turn your website into a traffic-generating machine.
  • The pros and cons of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing and mistakes to avoid.
  • Real-world advice on how to land a book deal.
  • Insider secrets for promoting your book online.
  • How to generate passive income from ebooks, special reports and other information products.

Stephanie Chandler conducted the first Nonfiction Writers Conference in 2010. She is the author of several books, including “Own Your Niche: Hype-Free Internet Marketing Tactics to Establish Authority in Your Field and Promote Your Service-Based Business,” “The Author’s Guide to Building an Online Platform: Leveraging the Internet to Sell More Books,” and “Booked Up! How to Write, Publish, and Promote a Book to Grow Your Business.”

Several registration options are available, including discounts for writers who register early.  If you can‘t listen to all of the sessions live, you can register to receive MP3 recordings of all sessions and/or transcripts of the sessions.


Nonfiction Writers Conference

About Stephanie Chandler