More full-time employees are taking a second shift. But it’s not necessarily to care for family. It’s to moonlight as a freelancer. As the pandemic has more people considering freelancing and as big business commit to hiring freelancers, there’s a lot of opportunity on the table. What’s interesting, though, is the number of people who don’t want to leave their full-time employment.
A whopping 82% of people said they wanted to add freelancing on top of being a full-time employee, according to a study by Paychex. Not everyone took the leap, though. The study found that only 59% of people actually freelanced while also working full-time.
Analyzing the second shift: what kind of freelance work full-time employees do
As expected with the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority (62%) of freelancing is virtual. 20% is both in-person and virtual, while only 18% is in-person. When it comes to the types of work people take on, the work is overwhelmingly content-focused: research (48%), data entry (37%), writing (29%), and editing & proofreading (20%) make up the top four tasks. Other work includes visual design, development, or coaching.
Not everyone who freelanced during the pandemic started freelancing because of it. According to the survey, only 22% of people started freelancing for the first time during the pandemic. However, of all people who freelanced during the pandemic, there’s a common thread: remote work. 69% of respondents said they could do their current full-time jobs from any location.
One potential issue, though, is whether employers know about an employee freelancing. 52% of people haven’t told their full-time employer about moonlighting as a freelancer, despite on average spending 15 hours per week doing freelance work. Further, 12% say they’ve been caught doing freelance work while on paid work time and 16% have missed a full-time work meeting because of freelance work.
More work, more enjoyment from freelancing
Thinking about why a full-time employee might risk their job for freelancing, the data shows it’s because they like it. More than half of people (51%) say they prefer either freelancing alone (24%) or both freelancing and their full-time job together (27%). This is consistent with a study showing that, on average, full-time freelancers like their work more than full-time employees do.
Further, there’s demand. More than half (54%) of respondents have seen increased demand for their services. When it comes to balancing work, that doesn’t seem to be a problem for most. 44% say it’s easy to balance work and freelancing while 28% say it’s not easy or difficult. Only 29% say it’s difficult to balance.
With increasing demand and enjoyment, it’s no wonder that 59% of respondents said they’d like to continue freelancing for a few years (22%) or indefinitely (37%). Nearly half (49%) would also happily quit their jobs to freelance full-time if they could make more money doing it.
As freelancing continues to grow – both due to existing trends and the COVID-19 pandemic – there’s a lot of opportunity out there.