When I grew up there were (even if I never really thought about it back then) basically two employment models:

  • working for someone else, whether for a private company or as a government employee
  • working for yourself, opening your own business or company

I have to admit that I don’t have what it takes to even think about opening my own business. Never have. Probably never will. Even if that is mistake, for as Farrah Gray put it,

Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.”

I have been thinking long and hard about that quote for quite some time now, and I do have ideas that could be turned into a business or a company -and yet I don’t seem to have it in me to go ahead and open one, to just do it. Fortunately enough, that may not be necessary, for a third employment model is gaining momentum -a model that somehow bridges the two previous ones and that I find especially attractive: I am referring to the freelance economy.

Let’s start by defining the term freelance,

someone who is self-employed and hired to work for different companies on particular assignments.”

See? As I mentioned before, the freelance economy bridges the two previous employment models, because you are self-employed (you are your own boss) but yet you work for other companies (who give you work). And this flexibility is really appealing:

  • it can be a full time occupation, or you can do it as a side hustle, either as a way to make some extra money or to do fulfilling work that’s different from your 9 to 5.
  • it is a viable way to bridge the time between full time jobs, as you can still earn some money and keep your skills up.

Appealing, it seems, not just for me, but for many, many people out there: in 2016 there were an estimated 55 million freelancers in the US, making up about 35% of the American workforce and by 2020 the number of freelancers in the US may creep up to 60 million workers, or 40% of the workforce. Not bad for a side thing, uh?

Of course, not all kinds of jobs are equally well suited for this new employment model, even if they range from the traditional (copywriting, graphic design, photography, marketing, and proofreading) to the more tech-based (programming, web design, and app creation). What is relevant, though, is that jobs continue to evolve, so we may find more and more that could easily adapt to this new model.

Even then, this new employment model will not be suited for everyone:

  • there will still be those willing to take risks but be in total control of their business, and thus will become entrepreneurs, and
  • those who will prefer the certainty of a paycheck at the end of the month and the perks associated to full time employment, and thus will work for a private company or as a government employee.

And that is all well and good. But I think that I will look into a hybrid model: the security of a government job with a side of freelancing, something to combine the best of both worlds and thus be (more) open to new professional challenges. Wish me luck!