Over 27 million Americans are going to abandon their jobs for full-time self-employment over the next 24 months, according to a new study from FreshBooks.
The largest driver of such change is, in a word, control. Some 43 percent of respondents to FreshBooks’ survey say they simply want control over their careers, while an equal percentage report they’re hungry for a career change. Another 33 percent point to “financial reasons” as a precursor for self-employment, while 32 percent are doing it for their families. Around 15 percent say their health is driving them to become self-made.
In preparation for their new life as freelancers or startup founders, 58 percent report they’re working hard to save money and pay off debt ahead of quitting the 9-5 grind. Just over half (52 percent) are learning a new skill. A surprising number have begun their freelancing prep before leaving their jobs; 45 percent say they’ve already begun reaching out to potential clients, while 36 percent are hard at work building their “personal brand” online. Another 26 percent are lining up seed money for their new venture.
Data from the Dice Salary Survey supports these future freelancers’ impulses. Consultants make over $20,000 more per year than full-time tech pros, on average. The base rate for consultants has also risen 4.7 percent to $72.32 per hour. Self-employment pays off!
Tangentially, the Salary Survey found other indicators that tech pros are ready to go freelance. Respondents say higher compensation, better working conditions, more responsibility, fear of losing their job, and a shorter commute all drive their reason for wanting something else in terms of a career.
The findings aren’t specific to late-career professionals, either. FreshBooks reports over 40 percent of the self-employed workforce will soon be Millennials. It also discovered that job satisfaction long-term improves for the self-employed, while those in traditional jobs are less satisfied the longer they sit in offices and cubicles.
For those less adventurous, remote employment is always an option. Employers are starting to offer better benefits in lieu of more pay as tech salaries plateau, so now is a great time to negotiate a “separate” working environment. Trust us; shorts and a tee on your couch is far better than khakis and a polo in the cubicle.