Why Freelance Jobs Are Hotter Than Ever

The number of virtual positions available is growing.

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Lindsay Olson
If you haven't really considered online employment as a viable option, it's time to change your mind. While growth in the traditional job market is still sluggish, it moved much faster for virtual positions. In fact, employment growth for online workers (defined as independent workers, freelancers, and contractors who work remotely) doubled in the first quarter of 2012, according to a recent Elance report.

Here's a bit more about why these jobs are increasing so rapidly, and how you can capitalize on the trend:

Why Creating Your Own Economy Works


With recessions happening around the world, there's no good place to work these days. But working online can remove the stress a job-seeker has when looking for work locally in bad economic times. Because companies looking for contractors and freelancers are located worldwide, you could essentially work on projects for companies scattered around the globe. Online work is even coming to the rescue in countries with struggling economies. According to Elance, earnings for freelancers has grown by 122 percent in Greece and by 142 percent in Spain over the past year.

Why Virtual Positions Are Skyrocketing


Still not sold on the idea of working from your kitchen, a Starbucks, or a beach? Employers are, it seems. The cost benefits of hiring virtually (which includes lower overhead, as there's no office to finance, and because employers can pay per project rather than for a full-time employee's salary) are getting the attention of more companies in an effort to make smarter operating decisions. "Hiring independent workers online is easier and more efficient than ever before, providing businesses a superior way to staff projects and get work done," explains Fabio Rosati, chief executive officer at Elance. "At the same time, millions of people are getting greater flexibility and control over their careers. For the first time, you can connect with multiple clients and make a living without leaving your home."

At the rate things are going, Elance predicts that more than half of the workforce in the United States will be independent by 2020. Having access to quality freelancers without limitations on location makes this appealing to employers as well as freelancers.

Which Online Jobs Are Experiencing the Most Growth

Some areas are growing faster than others in the online arena. For example, there has been an increase in creative online gigs posted due to the increase in consumption of audio and visual products through social media and websites. These jobs now account for 42 percent of all jobs posted on Elance. They include:

  • Video production
  • Video editing
  • Audio editing
  • Voiceover
  • Writing
  • Blogging
  • Here's yet another indicator that businesses are starting to feel better about the economy: Demand for skills like business card design, market research, branding, and lead generation are up on Elance.This might insinuate that businesses are now ready to invest in their own growth and marketing.

    How Working Independently Can Benefit You

    The freelance landscape has changed over the last few years, and employers are much more open to working with you virtually than they were in the past. Most of these projects can be completed on your schedule, so they're a viable way to make some extra money after your 9-to-5, or to accommodate your school or family schedule.

    Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.