So, we decided to do the homework for you, and look at some of the trends that are seriously affecting the way we work, and where the opportunities are emerging for freelancers and independents.
We’ve been witnessing the rise of telecommuting, flexible work arrangements, distributed teams and virtual companies for much of the last decade, but there are more interesting trends that seem to be emerging.
Here’s KindredHQ’s guide to the 7 key trends that will be important for your freelance career.
1. Geeks might just rule the world
The web has meant that it’s much easier to market your niche skills and experience; in fact it really works for you to have skills that stand apart from others. That’s why its so important to find something truly unique to describe yourself, away from the standard ‘business consultant, ‘strategist’ project manager type descriptors.
2. Really, geeks will rule the world.
If we are all to be specialists, what will be the next big skill to specialise in? Just look at any of the online freelance platforms like Elance and People per Hour and you will so get a sense of which skills are in demand. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that that will be the case next week!
If you work in HR, the good news is that there is huge growth in this area, according to oDesk together with statistical analysis. Told you the geeks were coming. So you’ll see jobs like ‘LinkedIn Specialist’ or ‘Yelp Researcher & Analyst’ advertised. Getting it right means watching the trends as they emerge and customising your experience, so exploit that niche specialty you’ve always been interested in — it could be the big skill of tomorrow.
3. Girl power
It is with a certain amount of smugness that I say that this because I’ve always felt that women are so well placed to take advantage of the changes in the way we work. Feminine values are slowly becoming the competitive advantage in business. Feminomics is the way forward.
The pundits reckon this is because working women tend to have more knowledge-based positions, get collaboration and flexibility and have adapted themselves to make the most of new industries and sectors.
4. It’s You and me babe
Who needs a middleman? You can set up a website and start trading just like that.
As the supply chain evolves, companies’ business models are also evolving. This is a critical trend for the independent and freelance business because it gives you way more opportunity to take bigger, and more cumbersome companies straight on.
5. Entrepreneurs Are Everywhere.
Well. Whatever you call yourself, and it might be solopreneur, freelancer, and entrepreneur. The start-up is very definitely flavour of the moment with the economy still rubbing along the floor. Everyone seems to be at it including many of you who have left big companies, women aching to get back to work after children, but wanting more control over their careers than companies are prepared to offer and people who are simply and turning hobbies into businesses because of economic opportunity and necessity.
6. Reimagining hand in hand with your customers
There’s a complete craze for reimaging the way a product or technology should work. Anyone who discovers a new use for a technology or a product is changing its purpose. Showing the world is easy via YouTube. which opened a previously unimaginable market for him. You may launch a product having spent months researching the market and assessing the need just to find that your customer has found a completely new way to use it. Bingo. New strategy.
This is a very important trend for we independents. Given the recent scandals around the providence of our food and the way foreign workers are exploited, consumers are turning to home based businesses to buy products, and are, despite the recession, prepared to pay more for this.
It’s easy to get a transaction site set up with a payment engine, or use something like Etsy, it doesn’t have to cost the earth and off you go.
Trends aside, the people who will really succeed are those who are open minded to the possibilities available to them and prepared to accept a bit of risk in return for control over their own destinies. We can’t think of a better time to be independent.