…freelancers becoming discouraged and dropping out… Dropping out to where?
12 Must-Read Freelancing Predictions for 2012
Posted January 3, 2012 in Inspiration
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
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January 3rd, 2012 at 1:15 pm
January 3rd, 2012 at 2:31 pm
They could be returning to some form of traditional employment, returning to school, or just not working.
January 3rd, 2012 at 2:50 pm
Nice post as usual :) I just wanted to add which may not be called a prediction but it’s on my wishlist. In 2012 I hope some international organization is formed which makes a few laws for freelancing and off shore out sourcing which protects the rights of everyone. This is becoming an important issue because people will drop out of freelancing just because of this. I meet one bad client every year who gobbles all my profits and I start fresh.
January 3rd, 2012 at 3:19 pm
Great post. There are still lots of people out of work but they probably have never considered going freelance. People want regular paychecks and job security.
January 3rd, 2012 at 3:21 pm
I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I’m sorry to hear about some of the trouble you’ve been having. Hopefully, 2012 will be a better year for you. As far as an international law protecting freelancers, those are very difficult to set up. I’m no expert in international law, but I believe that they come about as the result of treaties and such. Still, make sure that you are at least familiar with any local laws in your own region that might pertain to freelancers.
January 3rd, 2012 at 4:33 pm
I love it, Laura and I think many of your predictions, if not most, are right on. I’ve hired 4 staff writers/editors, since I registered my LLC in mid 2011 and things just keep getting better. I think we have to take care in describing what constitutes a freelancer, though. Is a freelancer just anyone who creates a make-shift website and claims they’re a freelance writer/copywriter? What does this mean? It’s this definition of a true freelancer that will determine the reality for all of us who own freelancing businesses.
January 3rd, 2012 at 6:20 pm
Thanks Samantha! :)
Good points. I think the definition of a freelancer is important, but I fear there may be a difference between what constitutes a freelancer in the eyes of the law and what you and I and the rest of us know that a freelancer really should be.
Maybe I should have talked about freelance professionals instead?
January 3rd, 2012 at 8:10 pm
I hope you’re right about the increase in freelancing jobs, would be nice!
January 4th, 2012 at 4:54 am
As you mentioned more competition, more diversity, less skill set in specific area, economical problems. But still we the freelancers are only one who keep on inventing and keep on progressing the whole world. Freelance Rocks.
January 4th, 2012 at 9:41 am
Hi Martin E and freelancer!
Thanks for your comments. We will see what 2012 brings.
January 4th, 2012 at 8:00 pm
Freelancing is not an easy job by far – nor is it always easy to sell people on freelancers – but it can be done. If you conduct yourself professionally, your success rate goes up exponentially. I agree with the prediction that it will become more mainstream. Unfortunately, the downside of that is that companies realizing how much they save by hiring a consultant/freelancer to work for them will lead to fewer traditional jobs.
January 5th, 2012 at 7:26 am
Thanks for your comment Ronda. :)
While it is true that sometimes freelancers do replace a traditional employee, this isn’t always necessarily a bad thing. Some studies have shown that freelancers often earn more money than their peers who have more traditional employment.
January 5th, 2012 at 1:53 pm
Thanks Laura! I hope most if not all your predictions come to past. One point worth suggesting is that freelancers should try update their skills to meet the challenges that 2012 may bring. Even the old fox needs to learn new tricks to become relevant.
January 6th, 2012 at 8:35 am
I don’t like the more regulations and taxes part, but it is coming. I also agree that more people will choose to freelance. Every man for himself.
January 6th, 2012 at 4:35 pm
Ya know what piqued my interest most? The prediction about regulations. Very interesting. Wondering if you’re right. Like I need more administrative tasks, ya know?
January 7th, 2012 at 3:02 am
I think that with companies downsizing and cutting back on costs, entire departments may end up being outsourced and many will seek creative services outside the company structure. As a result, there may be a surge in the freelance opportunities. The issue is that there may be more freelancers in 2012 and once others notice there’s such a trend, may also jump on board and suppress wages by competing on price.
January 7th, 2012 at 10:38 am
Great comments everyone!
Allena–I certainly don’t wish to see more required paperwork. It’s just that there are already several proposed laws that may affect freelancers.
Morgan & Me Creative, To some extent, price is always going to have to be addressed. There will always be those who will work for too little. That’s why it’s so very important to stress your quality and competence, rather than the price you charge.
KatelandAugust 19th, 2012 at 11:24 pm
Nice article1. I’ve been reading up a bit lately on coworking. Check out “Coworking Environments for Freelancers: What’s in it for You?”, I found it really helpful :)
Chris EvansFebruary 14th, 2013 at 5:12 am
Freelancing indeed has become a distinctive career choice for lots of enthusiasts these days and as the job sector is becoming more and more global the tendency of working has also evolved greatly.
There are many freelancing websites today in the market that gives ample scope of working for the right freelancer sites like Odesk, Elance,freelancer are offering widespread freelancing service in the market apart from them 99hours is one of the emerging and a pretty new freelance website. You say “it is always better to join established freelance sites for a reliable service” but this site is really good and you have nothing to lose when you post your profile
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