freelance pinEver dreamed of owning your schedule? Dictating when and where you work? Which projects you take on, and which you reject? You’re not alone. More people are freelancing today than ever before.

According to a new study called Freelancing in America: A National Survey of the New Workforce,” more than one in three workers — 53 million Americans — are now freelancing. 

“Freelancing is the new normal — and this survey shows that America’s new workforce is big, crucial, and here to stay,” says Sara Horowitz, Founder and Executive Director of Freelancers Union. The study also found that freelancers are economically powerful, contributing more than $715 billion in freelance earnings to the national economy. Other findings include:

  • There is higher demand for freelancers: Twice as many freelancers have seen an increase in demand in the past year as have seen a decrease (32% increase, versus 15% decrease).
  • Technology is helping freelancers find work:  Nearly seven in 10 (69%) freelancers said technology had made it easier to find freelance work, and 42% said they have done freelance work via the Internet.
  • Freelance is getting more respect: Almost two out of three (65%) freelancers said freelancing as a career path is more respected today than it was even three years ago.
  • Millennials (workers under 35) are more likely to freelance: 38% of Millennials are freelancing (compared to 32% of those over 35) and Millennials are also most optimistic about the future of the freelance job market, with 82% saying that the best days are ahead (compared to 74% of those over 35).

So how do you know if you are ready to go freelance? Here are a five signs:

You’ve Been Successfully Freelancing as a Side Hustle

A freelance career isn’t something you can just jump right into. You should be actively building your freelance work on the side of your regular job for several months before you even think about quitting your steady position. A successful freelance career is dependent on a strong network; you’ll need to develop this in advance (and be patient — it may take at least a year).

You Work Well Independently

Some people really need the support of a team and manager to guide them to be a strong performer.  Take a critical look at your work habits. Are you someone who works well solo? Are you able to adhere to deadlines and execute projects without a lot of direction? Are you comfortable being alone, and working from home? If so, a freelance career may be the right path for you.

You’ve Been Saving and Taking Charge of Your Debt

It’s hard to pin-point exactly how much you should save before going freelance, because everyone’s financial situation is different. Carrie Smith, founder of Careful Cents, says “a good rule of thumb is anywhere from 3-8 months to even a whole year of savings to cover your expenses while you get your new gig going”. Decide how much money you feel comfortable having in the bank, and shoot for that.

It’s also important to tackle your finances (and debt) before starting your freelance career. If you haven’t done so yet, create a business budget. These steps will help your business grow smarter and faster.

a good rule of thumb is anywhere from 3-8 months, to even a whole year of savings to cover your expenses during this time frame.

Three months is a relatively good amount of time to recover from any financial emergencies and personal issues. But if you feel that you’re better off with six, or eight or even 10 months of savings, then shoot for that. You’ll likely land on or near your goal!

– See more at: http://gogirlfinance.com/money/saving/how-much-do-i-need-to-save-before-quitting-my-job/#sthash.pA1p8uSm.dpuf

a good rule of thumb is anywhere from 3-8 months, to even a whole year of savings to cover your expenses during this time frame.

Three months is a relatively good amount of time to recover from any financial emergencies and personal issues. But if you feel that you’re better off with six, or eight or even 10 months of savings, then shoot for that. You’ll likely land on or near your goal!

– See more at: http://gogirlfinance.com/money/saving/how-much-do-i-need-to-save-before-quitting-my-job/#sthash.pA1p8uSm.dpuf

You Know How to Work Hard

Freelancing is all about hustling. Whether it’s about working as efficiently as possible, networking for new clients, or making that breakfast meeting, you constantly need to be on the move as a freelancer.

You’re Incredibly Organized

As a freelancer you’re truly running your own business. It can be incredibly freeing — but also very scary. Organization is key, because you’ll be doing all the invoicing, billing, and tracking. Develop a process for yourself. A little extra work now will pay off in the long run.