12 Must-Read Freelancing Predictions for 2012

Don’t you wish you could see into the future of freelancing? If you could, you’d know what freelancing trends are coming up and what niches to concentrate on. You’d be ahead of the game on social media too.

But seeing into the future, like mind reading, is an imprecise art (at best). However, it is possible to make some educated guesses about the future of freelancing based on current trends.

So, that’s what I’m going to do for 2012. In this post I’ll share twelve predictions about areas that will impact freelancers in the coming year. At the end of the post, I’d like you to share your predictions too.

The Number of Freelancers

Here are three predictions about the number of freelancers:

  1. More Freelancers Than Ever Before. More people will try their hand at freelancing in 2012. Some of these folks will be turning to freelancing because they’ve been downsized from traditional employment. Others are new college graduates who will choose freelancing rather than traditional employment.
  2. More Freelancers Will Quit. Sadly, some of the folks who try freelancing in 2012 won’t be prepared. Freelancing is harder than it seems and not all skills and experience is easy to adapt to self-employment. Plus, many don’t have the business or marketing skills that it takes to stay afloat as a freelancer.
  3. The Total Number of Freelancers Will Still Be Higher. At the end of 2012, however, there will still be more freelancers than there are right now. This, despite some freelancers becoming discouraged and dropping out–I predict that our numbers will still be up at year-end.

Freelancers and Social Media

Freelancers rely on social media to get their marketing message out. Here are some possible social media changes that will affect freelancers in 2012:

  1. There Will Be an Effective Means to Measure Social Media ROI. Measuring social media return on investment effectively has been sort of the Holy Grail of social networking. Some claim there are already effective measures for social media, while others believe that measuring social media returns can’t be done.
  2. Blogging Will Continue to Become More Integrated with Social Media. You’ll see even more integration between blogging and social media as developers come up with more ways to connect the two. Not only will this make it easier for freelancers to connect on various platforms, it will also expand the audience that a freelancing blog can reach.
  3. At Least One Major Social Media Player Will Falter. Social media is in a precarious position. There are so many similar platforms available that the ordinary, non-tech, user is confused. Social media platforms will have to show how they are unique to be successful in 2012.

How Freelancers Will Work in 2012

Freelancers are known for working alone, but that may change in the coming year. Here are some work style changes to look for:

  1. Major Companies Will Start to Use More Freelancers. Corporations will turn more frequently to freelancers in 2012 to meet needs that were formerly met by employees or agencies. Corporations will also develop more effective methods for finding the best freelance talent since traditional recruiting doesn’t necessarily fill this need.
  2. Collaboration and Coworking Will Become Commonplace. 2012 may become the year of the freelancing team. Sure, there will still be solo freelancers, but the freelancing veterans (those with two or more years of experience) are ready to team up. The result will benefit both freelancers and clients.
  3. Some Freelancers Will Graduate to Bigger Things. Not all freelancers stay freelancers. Many become the founders of small business startups. In 2012 many veteran freelancers will take the step of moving into this role by incorporating, hiring others, or otherwise restructuring their business.

Freelancing and Society

Freelancing impacts all of us. Here are some ways that freelancing will shape society in the coming year:

  1. Freelancing Goes Mainstream. As mainstream America becomes aware of freelancing, expect more and more products and services geared specifically to the needs of freelancers. This trend will not be limited to the online marketplace only, but will spill over into other areas as well.
  2. Freelancing Will Play a Bigger Part in the Economy. As freelancing becomes more commonplace, freelancers will also play an even bigger role in the economy. Freelance purchasing power could help fuel a recovery. Economists will come up with ways to measure the impact of freelancing.
  3. Freelancing May Face More Regulations. State, local, and federal governments may pass regulations that impact freelancers. Most likely such regulations will come in the form of internet restrictions or additional taxes that freelancers will be responsible for paying.

What Are Your Predictions for 2012?

I had fun writing this post and I hope that you had fun reading it. Of course, no one really knows what will happen in 2012. However, I based these predictions on trends that I’m already reading about in the news. I believe these trends are likely to continue.

What are your predictions for freelancing in 2012?

Image by JasonLangheine