More People Are Choosing the Freelance Lifestyle

Freelance work is on the rise, according to a new survey by Elance — a service that helps freelancers connect with employers for part-time employment — and more workers are choosing to live the life of a freelancer, as opposed to finding themselves in the position while looking for a “real” job. The Elance report, which will be released in full next week, found that 70 percent of freelancers surveyed are happier working independently than when they were full-time employees, and more than 60 percent said they would prefer to remain a freelancer rather than take a full-time job. Over 60 percent also said their income has increased in the last year.

According to the Elance report, the economic downturn is no longer the primary force driving professionals to start a freelance career. Less than 5 percent of those surveyed said they were working as a freelancer until they could find a full-time job, and less than 25 percent said they became freelancers after a layoff. Over half of those who responded to the survey said they began freelancing to be their own boss and work on projects they loved, and almost 80 percent of respondents said the ability to have control over their own work schedule was their favorite part of working independently.

The typical online freelancer is between 25 and 54 years of age, Elance says, and is more likely to be female and educated. About 80 percent of freelancers surveyed by the company have a professional degree or designation of some kind, while just 4 percent have only a high-school diploma. About half of those who took part in the survey (which sampled more than 700 freelancers who have connected with employers through Elance) said freelancing was their sole means of income, while about 30 percent said they do part-time work online in addition to other full-time or part-time employment.

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