Why One-Third of Those Freelancing Put Children Ahead of a Traditional Career

popularity of freelancing

It’s an established fact that freelancing became more popular after the 2008 financial crash, and the US self-employed population reaches 15.5 million today. This trend was led by Generation X (also known as the people who got stuck between the Baby Boomers and the Millennials). As it was shown in a Toptal survey recently, a significant proportion of those who are new in freelancing, followed this route almost entirely for their children.

This would also end the notion that people choose freelancing simply to be their own bosses. The freelance community is being increasingly overrun by family. But what leads to this change of motivation while the freelance economy grows?

The Freelancing Survey

Toptal was established in 2010 and it didn’t take them long to be listed in the ranks of the Deloitte Fast 500. It’s committed to providing freelancers who want to start their own businesses with mentorships and scholarship opportunities, so they are a strongly bonded, results-driven community.

Two thousand freelancers from 165 countries took part in the 2016 Freelancer Lifestyle survey. The results were impressive with the following conclusions causing the most stir:

  • 91% of freelancers belong to Generation X.
  • 33% of these freelancers have kids.
  • 7% of people long the office environment.

These results are enough to end many freelancing-related myths. But the real question is: why have such results emerged?

The Popularity of Freelancing

The End of the Traditional Career

popularity of freelancing

One of the reasons that a considerable proportion of successful entrepreneurs are doing it for their kids is because the traditional career is done for. For Baby Boomers, it only took getting a job; thereafter, they knew they would reach retirement with a good pension, after a life of great salaries.

Common sense used to be that your career was forever. But for Generation X, there weren’t such guarantees. Frank Kasimov, a freelance insurance marketer claims that, “The 2008 recession caused many of us to lose our careers. So, becoming freelancers wasn’t simply out of necessity, but resulted from a change of perception. It was our realization that the conventional career didn’t offer the stability it used to, nor was it as necessary as previously thought.”

When people realized that what Baby Boomers enjoyed is long gone, they started changing their priorities.

Priorities are Changing and Freelancing Helps

The end of the traditional career also changed what employees really want.  Contrary to Baby Boomers, who were absorbed in their careers and their ascension of the corporate ladder, Generation X prioritized things differently. For example, the number of women working is steadily increasing, whereas, with Baby Boomers, the man was expected to financially support the family.

Related: Getting Your Kids on Board: Strategies to Get Your Kids to Cooperate During Your Work Hours

These changes between generations resulted in encouraging people to spend more time with their children and less time struggling for their careers. The fact that priorities change is proof of the development of freelancing, and as the number of people who realize the advantages of spending more time with family grows, the industry will also grow exponentially. Even regular companies are expected to change their work cultures.

Freelancing is Not a Loss

There is nothing new in the vision of being surrounded by your children, watching them grow, because you aren’t required to be at the office all the time. It’s just that only now it has become possible.

It may make sense thinking that such a change requires sacrifices, but the numbers tell a different story. The Toptal survey revealed that 95% of participants stated that they felt more productive when working from home. 93% of them regarded this versatility as a blessing rather than a curse.

A major advantage of being a freelancer is the opportunity to spare time for the sake of professional development. Freelancers are able to join their peers to benefit from mentorship opportunities. This explains why Toptal’s global daily events have been such an astonishing success. Professionals can network and benefit from new knowledge and a social atmosphere, with no need of going to a conventional office. Regardless of working from home, Toptalers are just as tight-knit as the standard office.

Why Freelancing from Home is Great for the Family Structure

popularity of freelancing


Baby Boomers have always avoided mixing work with family. But it is now becoming more and more apparent that doing is isn’t necessarily bad. Toptal’s survey showed that almost 66% of freelancers believe that being at home for more hours offers a better deal to the kids, because this way they spend more time with their families.

This survey has shown that people are changing habits towards integrating their families into their work, instead of keeping the two apart. Although the bulk of the freelance population consists of Gen X representatives, there is a strong possibility that this trend will carry over to millennials, since the workforce still mostly consists of them.

It’s not an easy feat and, for most freelancers, it’s an ongoing effort to make this work. If you have any suggestions towards making the combination of work from home and raising your kids more efficient, please share them in the comments below!

Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from Google Analytics How-To’s to AdWords best practices. She works as a ghost writer and freelancer at amandadisilvestro.com and Coastal SEO Consulting, and works as the Marketing Manager for a Travel Company, Discover Corps, full-time. Visit her website to learn more!






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