You wake up on a rainy morning and rush to get ready for work. You are startled awake by an alarm clock, jump out of bed, get dressed, have some coffee… all the things. You throw on a coat, try and find your umbrella, and race out the front door to hurry up and sit in traffic before you finally arrive at work for a full day of stress under bright office lights, surrounded by people with whom you are forced to play nice. Then, just as you sit down at your desk, you realize you forgot your delicious lunch on the counter at home. Ugh.
You wake up, brush your teeth, make a hot cup of coffee and sit down at your desk wearing your pajamas and slippers. You open your computer and get to work. You can shower and get dressed when you please, make a fresh, hot lunch when you’re hungry, and enjoy the peace and quiet of your own home all day long.
The pajamas and slippers may be a bit of a cliche and not really reflect every single day as a remote professional, if we’re being honest. Some days, I go for a long morning walk, take a nice hot shower, get dressed, and head to my favorite coffee shop with my computer and a to do list. Other days, I am in another city trying out a new coffee shop, or shared work space, and meeting new people.
It’s nice. I am in control. I make the decisions.
Working remotely is nothing new. More and more full time jobs offer an option to put in hours off site, but what IS relatively new is the option of working through online marketplaces such as upwork.com completely freelance and independent of a traditional job.
Upwork.com is a global freelancing platform where businesses and independent professionals connect and collaborate remotely. This allows someone who wants to work for themselves to take a talent or specialization for spreadsheets, accounting, editing, writing, or virtually anything, and work directly for a business owner without being an employee and without the often difficult hurdle of trying to find clients on their own. Freelancers on these marketplace websites serve a very specific purpose and work on a contract basis and owners pay only for their productivity, not all of the expenses traditionally connected to having an employee. Many of these freelancers have incorporated their own businesses and earn a full time salary, but there is a wide spectrum on there and some people, such as moms, have the freedom to work the hours that fit into their life to earn extra income. There are no minimum of hours required to be worked and no restrictions on how much work you can accept. They do keep a rating system, so it’s the responsibility of each party on there to maintain integrity which is reflected in their score.
With the introduction of Upwork as a publicly traded company last month, we are provided solid proof of concept that working virtually is taking hold and taking off. It presents a whole new way to work from home without being tied to a full time position working for someone else.
Google reports that $1.56 billion in revenue was purchased (changed hands) on the Upwork platform over the last 15 months and $228 million in revenue was made. Those numbers combined with the experience of being able to earn a living while staying at home is what made me immediately buy stock in the company. I’m a believer and I’m in this for the long haul.
And, Upwork is not alone. You could argue that they are first to market, but there are other sites that offer a similar service such as peopleperhour.com fivrr.com, fancyhands.com, and so many more making it possible to create a full time salary through a matchmaking platform and working online. No one I’ve worked through yet has had an exclusivity clause, so it’s possible to hunt and gather from any and all of these sites at the same time. The possibilities are truly incredible if you have the ambition.
More and more people are quitting jobs that lack flexible work options.
Still not convinced?
Here are a few more people who think working remotely is where it’s at…
Virtual Assistant Agency and website virtalent.com estimated that by the end of 2018, the VA industry will be valued at $5 billion. That’s an industry changing number right there.
Another marketplace for connecting business owners with freelancers flexjobs.com conducts annual surveys of professionals and their attitudes towards flexible work. In their recent survey of 5,000 professionals, the number of people who say they’ve quit a job due to lack of flexibility has nearly doubled from 17% in 2014 to 32% in 2017. They have also found that remote work has grown faster than any other commute mode in more than half of the top U.S. metro areas over the last 10 years (beating out cars, buses and the subway).
Flexjobs.com also made a staggering long term prediction about the future of remote work and the “gig economy” (task based work). They predict that 58% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancing by 2027. That’s a full blown culture shift that will have a ripple effect on several other business that support people in their working role.
Because the internet has given me such a grand opportunity to be free of a “normal” job, I can redefine what work means to me. I don’t have to keep a strict schedule designed by someone else. I can work around my family’s schedule. My schedule is completely under my control. I design my days and my business hours. I hand pick my clients, and I choose what tasks I commit to handling.