What it’s like to freelance in 2018

Ever wondered what it’s really like to freelance in 2018, or just in this day and age? Of course, it’s impossible to answer that question since no two freelancers experience the exact same thing. However, a new survey report from WiseBrand, based on over 2,000 respondents, does give a nice peek inside the current State of the Freelance Nation.

The study dispels common myths about freelancing and sheds new light on freelancers’ finances, ambitions, and needs.

Here are a few of the most eye-opening findings about what it’s like to freelance in 2018:

Most freelancers do make money

A myth persists of the “starving freelancer” who pursues the independent career path more for lifestyle than money. But the average freelancers studied reached their earning goals within two years—and just under half (42%) reached it within their very first year in the freelance marketplace. These surprising outcomes suggest that committing to contract work can be lucrative as well as rewarding.

And these earning goals represent a significant chunk of change, especially for those hustlers who reach their target within their first year of freelancing—that group is twice as likely to earn $75K or more.

As additional evidence that freelancers aren’t living on the margins without extra resources or benefits, the researchers discovered that more than half of this group (54%) set aside money for savings, and more than 60% have life insurance.

Most freelancers are happy as contract workers

Another common myth is that people end up freelancing just as an interim phase, between jobs or while searching for full-time work. But the WiseBrand study shows some clear indicators that many have made this career choice quite consciously, and are willing to invest in it to grow their vocation as a freelancer.

The clearest message is when asked whether freelancers are interested in returning to full-time employment, more than half (54%) said they have no interest.

Additionally, the vast majority of freelancers (83%) are investing financially in their freelance business through online marketing activities, with more than half (55%) spending three hours a week marketing themselves online. And it’s paying off—those who invest more than $100 a month on marketing reap greater income rewards.

To save money, nearly 90% of freelancers don’t outsource their marketing, but take on the responsibility themselves, using platforms like Facebook ads (54%), Google (24%), and Instagram (18%).

Freelancing isn’t “just for young people”

Paired with the myth of freelancing as a temporary pit stop is the assumption that most people who freelance are younger since they don’t have to worry as much about financial responsibility. But seeing the results above that prove freelancing can be a very viable career path with satisfying income potential, it makes sense that it’s not just the millennials who are turning to the freelance life as their chosen profession.

The study found that freelancers age 35 and up are actually less likely than their millennial counterparts to return to full-time employment, and more than half of freelancers in this more veteran age bracket report satisfaction with their work-life balance.

All in all, we can safely say that life looks pretty darn good for those who freelance in 2018. A high-paying career that brings life satisfaction to workers of all ages is certainly something to consider if working independently appeals to you.

This post was originally published on FlexJobs.