Updated July 3, 2013

Survey: Freelance Statistics

Thinking About Going Freelance? You'll Have to Embrace Uncertainty

Freelancing to earn income is a way of life and work that has many pros and cons. If you are contemplating a move to become self-employed and risk the ups and downs of self-employment, consider the experiences of current freelancers. Chief among the cons is the constant uncertainty of income, according to 56.4% of respondents of a recent CreditDonkey.com survey of more than 400 self-employed workers. However, most freelancers believe the tradeoff is worth it.

What is your biggest complaint as a freelancer?
What is your biggest complaint as a freelancer? © CreditDonkey

Dan Nainan, a comedian who just recently performed for President Obama says "it's really important to save as much money as possible, because one never knows when the phone will stop ringing."

They don’t mind…much

The words freelancer, independent contractor, and self-employed are all interchangeable, as they describe a person who does not just work as an employee for one company but instead has the freedom to work their own schedule with as many, or as few, companies they want. Our survey found that freelancers value this freedom greatly.

92% answered they are happy with their choice of freelancing. They listed the flexible schedule as the biggest plus (33.6%), followed by being their own boss, their feeling of freedom, and the flexible work environment.

Are you happy with your choice of freelancing?
Are you happy with your choice of freelancing? © CreditDonkey

What do you like most about freelancing?
What do you like most about freelancing? © CreditDonkey

Freelancers tend to be creative types.

Almost half (42.3%) of all freelancers provide some type of creative service, such as writing, design, photography, or graphics. 30.5% of freelancers offer operational support such as data entry or administrative assistance. One common theme in these popular freelance professions is that they all revolve around using a computer. Other freelancing jobs mentioned were childcare, tutoring, fitness instruction, crowdsourcing, real estate, and professional or trade services, such as carpenter or painter. In other words, the options for freelancers run the gamut, and, if you ’re not one yourself, you probably know someone who freelances!

What service do you provide as a freelancer?
What service do you provide as a freelancer? © CreditDonkey

And creative types chose freelancing for creative reasons:

  • 30.2% wanted to start their own business.
  • 20.9% started freelancing their skills when they were laid off or fired.
  • 19.2% wanted to change careers.
  • 24.8% gave “other” reasons, such as they needed extra cash or they were already unemployed.

Why did you become an independent contractor?
Why did you become an independent contractor? © CreditDonkey

Speaking of unemployment, layoffs and firings, most freelancers have been self-employed for 2-5 years. Could the economic crash of 2008 have something to do with that timing? As companies continue to find their footing during the economic recovery, which includes favoring independent contractors over full-time employees (who require health care and other benefits), you may find yourself contemplating – or being forced to – freelance. Consider whether you can handle the uncertainty over your income and projects before you make the plunge.

Tony Wilkins, Small Business Forum radio host and author of Surviving the economy says "don't go into freelancing with big expectations," instead "go in with an open mind. Be flexible and you're almost guaranteed to land more work."

How long have you been an independent contractor?
How long have you been an independent contractor? © CreditDonkey

(From November 5 to November 27, 2012 CreditDonkey.com surveyed 424 independent contractors in the U.S., age 18 and over using a multiple-choice and short-answer online questionnaire.)

Share this on Facebook or Twitter

Follow @CreditDonkey or write to Naomi Mannino at naomi@creditdonkey.com

More Articles in News

    Are you making enough money to sustain the type of life you want to live?

    Do Freelancers Make Enough Money?

    January 2, 2013 - By Naomi Mannino - News for Business
    Whether or not one makes enough money depends on how much money is enough. 57.7% of freelancer respondents to a recent CreditDonkey.com survey said they are not making enough money to sustain the type of life they want to live.

Comments about Survey: Freelance Statistics

  • Doreen Pendgracs from Manitoba
    on January 8, 2013 5:02 AM said:

    What a fabulous post! I love the way you have included visuals without them taking away from the message.

    Your content is also spot-on. I've been a freelance writer for nearly 20 years and what a journey it has been. After all that time, there are indeed people who know me that don't think I'm really "working."

    Being able to earn a level and steady income is indeed the greatest challenge. But it is SO worth it!

Comments may be filtered for language. CreditDonkey makes no guarantee of comments' factual accuracy. These responses are not provided or commissioned by bank advertisers. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Visitors may report inappropriate content by clicking the Report abuse link.

Name (required)
Email (required; won't be published)
Website (optional)

or you can also trackback from your blog.

What to Buy on Labor Day

The start of September offers a reprieve from the first few days of school and gives many of us a moment to reflect on our summer. Retailers know this and will come out in full force on Labor Day weekend to entice you off the lounge chairs and ...
More Articles in News






About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.