From March 15 – March 18, 2022, 1,009 U.S. individuals were surveyed who earn the majority of their income from independent work including freelance work, gig work, on-call work, or anything else considered to be 1099 income.
Commenting on the findings, Trent Bigelow, Independent Economy Council co-chair and CEO of Abound, said: “There are more than 68 million independent workers in the U.S. and that number will only continue to grow in the coming years. The goal of this report is to help those who serve independent workers better understand what life is like for these independent workers and most importantly what can be done to create a better working environment for them.”
Having a flexible schedule is the biggest motivation. Other motivations to become an independent worker include being their own boss, control over their financial future, and being able to pursue work about which they’re passionate.
63% earn more as an independent worker. The majority are earning more than they did in traditional W-2 employment. They’re also mostly working 30 to 40 hours per week, and have two or three sources of income. This continues while base pay continues to grow.
43% say that no amount of money could get them back to a W-2. While 57% would return to W-2 work – for a price. For them, better pay, a failing business, and life event changes requiring something more stable could convince them to return to traditional employment.
They miss a steady income from W-2 work the most. They also miss having health benefits, paid vacation and time off, and socializing and collaborating with coworkers.
Saving enough for taxes is their top concern. When it comes to financial concerns, they’re worried about saving enough to cover their tax obligations. Other top worries include applying for a business or personal loan, knowing how to price products or services appropriately, and finding the right benefits options.
49% use a marketplace or platform in order to generate their income. 31% of independents acquire their customers or clients directly, while the remaining 20% acquire their clients between the two channels.
Before quitting their full-time job, they would have saved more money. They also would have had a business or growth plan in place before the transition and had more customers lined up.
“The Council looks forward to conducting more regular surveys – and providing resources – to highlight the ways in which independents are able to work and scale their personal incomes and the broader economy,” noted Oona Rokyta, co-chair of the Independent Economy Council and CEO of Lance.
The full findings from the report can be found here: https://www.independenteconomy.org/our-blog/state-of-independent-work-insights-from-1000-independent-workers
About the Independent Economy Council
The Independent Economy Council was founded in 2021 by a community of workers, advocates, entrepreneurs, and researchers in order to increase economic security for American workers by making independent work more viable for everyone.
In light of the rapid growth of the Independent Economy, the Council advocates for public policy and industry guidance that align economic success and security for America’s 68 million independent workers, as well as those who serve and pay them.
To find out more about The Independent Economy Council, visit www.independenteconomy.org.
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