Maybe you are already a freelancer or have considered freelancing in the near future. You are not alone, as 58% of non-freelancers are considering freelancing due to the pandemic and remote work. Freelancing is projected to be 50% of the US workforce by 2030 and the GenZ workforce represents this stat with 50% of them freelancing in 2020. With this growing freelancing economy, where do people of color fall?
Freelance economy breakdown
According to Statista, in 2019, non-white freelancers represented 38% of US freelance workers. Specifically, 16% identified as Hispanic or Latino and 12% identified as African or African-American. When we turn to many platforms or news coverage on freelancing, the new world of work, there's a lack of representation, which is also a disparity in the traditional workforce.
Freelancer Union also reported that Whites are more likely than people of color to start a business, and freelancing is seen as starting a business. In 2015, whites' self-employment rates were 6.9 percent, while Blacks or African American self-employment rates were 3.6 percent.
Reasons why POC don't freelance
The traditional work style is moving away from remote work cultures and freelancing. As shown previously, with these trends, people of color still seek conventional employment opportunities.
One reason POC don't freelance is the lack of representation. It is challenging to pursue a path to which you do not have a reference point, and your only reference may be to work hard towards the next promotion or another traditional job.
The second reason POC don't freelance is lack of support and security. Many freelancers can start having a cushion of family members, alleviating the upfront startup costs and time to start a freelance career. This security blanket is one POC may not have as they may be the breadwinner or don't have that partner or family support structure.
Third and final reason POC don't freelance is a learned narrative around work. We are taught consistently at home and in school the need to study hard and get a job with benefits. Benefits can be competitive such as health care, 401K matching, pay raises, among others. However, the narrative of a freelance career and the earnings potential is not taught, especially as employer benefits are becoming less attractive with the shift to remote work culture.
3 reasons why POC should consider freelancing
1. Freelancing is an opportunity to increase earnings. Freelancers can earn up to 70% more than non-freelancers. According to Edelman Intelligence, 72% of new freelancers in 2020 believe their income will continue to increase.
2. Freelancing gives you more flexibility and control. Freelancers reported a lower negative impact of the pandemic on their mental health, financial well-being and overall lifestyle. Freelancers before the pandemic already worked remotely, and new freelancers today can establish a remote work lifestyle. 55% of non-freelancers new to remote work are now considering freelancing in the future.
3. Freelancing is a path to self-employment or solopreneurship. Jumping into freelance by putting yourself out there in your own network sharing that you're looking to take on projects in your field. It can also create profiles on many of the freelance platforms that exist. It all depends on you, as freelancing does not require a fancy office or an inventory of products. Your freelance career can be a business, and you can join the 21% of moonlighters that freelance outside of their 9 to 5 roles.
Resources specific to POC in freelancing
Freelancers Union is an excellent resource for all things freelancing and is at the forefront of championing freelance policies. They also are a great resource for community, life benefits and also feature a Black Freelancers Web directory you can join.
BlackFreelance is a community of Black freelancers, where you can find blogs, tips in freelancing and personal development.
BLKCreatives is a support network that helps build smart, talented, and skillful Black creatives from giving up on themselves by providing personal, professional, creative, and economic support.
Buzzzy is a freelance marketplace that simplifies connections made. We pride ourselves on vetting quality freelancers while maintaining diversity standards, where we accept freelancers based on skill sets and people skills. We work to improve our product to avoid today’s biases in platforms. We offer blogs with tips and stories in freelancing outside of our freelance network. Our content is driven by feedback in our network on relevant topics to today's freelance world.
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Image Source: MarleycClovelly