40% of the American workforce will be freelance workers by 2020.
Several factors are contributing to this massive increase in the freelance culture. Co-Working spaces are a major driver in making the freelance lifestyle more accessible and enjoyable. In Louisville, we have several co-working spaces to choose from like this one and this one. Starbucks is the original co-working space. Another reason is Millennials creating demand for flexible work environments. Technology is, of course, a major driver in accessibility and connectivity. With this much momentum, how does an agency like Execuity get the most out of the freelance culture and infuse their best qualities into our working environment? I asked our brand strategist Jamie Webb this question as she has worked in the agency and freelance world. Her response is spot on. “You can’t risk the typical agency boom-and-bust-culture-killer, and you have to employ the smartest people possible for your client work. Freelance talent makes this possible.” I agree.
To understand more about incorporating a freelance culture, I turn to my culture compass, Fast Company. I’m inspired by this Fast Company article on the future of jobs in the U.S. It says in the next 10 years we will see personal branding, freelance management, and aging care assistance as top jobs. Personal branding and freelance management both speak to this 40% freelance workforce on the horizon. I love this picture of the future workforce for two reasons: sustainable growth and subject matter expertise.
Growth as an agency is less risky if we use freelance talent. Duh. Robert Half did a study on the major challenges of managing a freelance workforce and not surprisingly, communication was the most cited issue by 30%. Perhaps your freelance talent will help you learn to communicate more effectively with all employees and clients. Clear expectations, timelines and milestones make everyone more productive. Without trivializing the complications of managing a freelance workforce, I can’t help but flip the issues into opportunities and see improved communication as a great outcome. Most importantly, we can expand capacity and take on new clients without a boom-and-bust agency culture that flies in the face of everything we stand for at Execuity.
Subject Matter Expertise
I’ll admit it. We don’t always have all of the answers. We never pretend to have all of the answers. We are experts on all sorts of important areas, but not all of them all of the time. Sometimes we know we need an expert with specific skills or connections to help our clients reach their goals. This is where freelance talent makes a world of difference for us and our clients. Our ability to tap into the best freelance talent is a competitive advantage for us and we live to serve the needs of our clients with the best ideas. We know when to reach out to compliment our skills with freelancers.
Ultimately, we know the freelance culture is brilliant in many ways. We know our agency will benefit from embracing this talent to remain competitive, grow sustainably and learn from the best in their respective industries. After all, 40% of the workforce can’t be wrong.