The Slash Workers
The future of independent work will be led by an emerging class of intrepid professionals who have rewritten the definition of freelance. This study gives us the insights.
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Led by creatives, newly independent workers have taken over.
Two-thirds of the freelancers we surveyed went independent within the last three years.
Just 6% of the people we surveyed said they’re only freelancing until a full-time opportunity comes along.
Going independent is a conscious choice for the lion’s share (94%) the freelancers we interviewed, and 41% said they intend to freelance forever (foreva eva eva?).
They’re optimistic, too: 45% of the freelancers in our study said they feel more secure in their employment this year compared to last—that’s twice as many who said they felt less secure.
Multiple passion points. Multiple revenue streams.
As vast majority of freelancers we interviewed—95% of them—are what we call "Slash Workers," or independent workers whose services or skills vary by client and project. Most freelancers (61%) specialize across two to three talents.
Only 5% of respondents said they focus their work around a single skillset, and just 13% work for one client at a time.
Why did they go independent? Only 7% of the respondents said it was for the financial upside.
Moreover, 40% of freelancers in our study said their leading reason for going independent was for "personal growth." The second most-cited reason was "flexibility."
Freelancers aren’t chasing the coin. They’re after a better life.
A majority of freelancers we surveyed, 77%, admitted they’re not more financially stable since going independent: 43% say they are worse off and 34% say they’re about the same.
And yet, they’re markedly happier: 68% of respondents said their quality of life has improved since going independent. For freelancers, happiness isn’t about the money. It’s about the freedom to do what they love on their own terms.
Nearly half of the women we surveyed make less than $25,000/year.
More than 48% of the women we surveyed fell into the lowest income bracket (34% of men were in this income range). Men were 4.5X more likely to be earning $150,000+ than women.
Interestingly, men were more likely to be stiffed than women: 49% of males in our study have been stiffed vs. 38% of females.