The Trends Shaping The Freelance Revolution In 2023

By: Jon Younger

There’s lots to unpack looking ahead to the freelance revolution in 2023. Let’s get to it.

2023 is a growth year for many freelancers. When hiring pauses, the work continues. Fiverr found 78% of companies will rely on freelancing in 2023 rather than add staff. Post-pandemic remote policies make it easier to integrate freelancers. Critical talent gaps make it necessary. Q3 2022 was tough for marketplaces – uncertainty ignited financial markets – but strong growth is expected in 2023. Freelancing growth is lumpy; the rising tide won’t lift all boats. However, the freelance revolution is ahead of schedule.

More fulltime freelancersAccording to MBO Partners, fulltime US freelancing grew 59%, raising the total (21.6m) to one-third of freelancing total! Fulltime growth is huge. Part-timers are problematic for big corporates; 80% of Danish Jelber’s corporate requests specify fulltimers. More fulltimers encourage more enterprises to engage freelancing at scale. Freelancing is supply challenged, not demand challenged.

What about size. The race to build mega talent marketplaces is apparently slowing. at 58m is in the lead and larger than many countries. But maintaining large platforms is expensive, few platforms are designed to capture network effects, size boasts are often overstated, and typically fewer than 20% of platform members win work through their platform. Harvard’s Michael Porter reminds us there are two basic business strategies: low cost or differentiation. Bigger for bigger’s sake isn’t better.

Freelancer first. More marketplaces are prioritizing the success of freelancers through investments in freelancer intelligence, client intelligence, and operational intelligence. Examples: Uncompany exemplifies operational intelligence, methodically reducing friction points for creatives and clients; uses automation to simplify project scoping and budgeting. In freelancer intelligence: and offer data-based guidance on pricing; and provides access to industry databases; schedules monthly “fireside chats” on technical topics; gives Fitbit-like productivity metrics to developers; shares its strategy methodology with their freelancers. For client intelligence: Catalant has a strong client onboarding process; offers client’s tips in working with freelancers; regularly reviews progress with key clients of their freelance Latam developers.

Helping first year freelancers ‘start out strong’. 33% of US workers say freelancing is the less risky option. Nevertheless, it’s a challenging transition for many. Only 44% of newbies felt fairly paid, and only 38% thought work deliverables and timelines were realistic. Veteran freelancers are more positive. Education, coaching, and early work with freelance vets makes the transition easier. recently launched ‘Rise, Freelancer’ offering basic education. 10Xmanagement recommends starting with a side-gig.

Consolidation, expansion and acquired joined merged with Some marketplaces merge, others expand: Norwegian is opening in Sweden; Mash is expanding across SE Asia;, and are growing sturdy US bases. Specialty marketplaces are succeeding: in pharma; in fashion; in M&A; Cadre in event planning; in executive coaching; in fine arts.

More focus on is growing as companies in Denmark and elsewhere bring on all-freelance teams when internal talent is lacking. German, French, UK’s, Dutch, Spanish, and US and Romania based all curate freelance teams. FLASH, a team-based NPD methodology created by Stanford Engineering is encouraging greater freelance interest and opportunity.

Is your superpower in-demand? Is your expertise in-demand? If so, you will work more regularly, enjoy greater choice, and receive better pay. According to TechRepublic, year-on-year growth is greatest for web programming (43%), web design (31%) and social media marketing (25%). WEF expects revolutionary changes coming in biology, AI, programming, clean technologies, new materials, IoT, and cybersecurity.

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