It was December of 2005. I was a mother of a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old. I was in a marriage with a future that was questionable. And we needed extra money. I nearly started a home daycare, but then I discovered freelance writing.
It was a miracle!
I could work from home, be with my children (and no one else’s), and everything would be OK. Well, my marriage did end, although we stayed good friends and good co-parents. I was hurled into single momdom and suddenly that part-time income that had supplemented my husband’s had to become enough to support my children and me.
Now, I’m gonna be honest here. I struggled. I charged far too little for my services in the beginning. I worked crazy hours around my children’s schedule, even while homeschooling my children during their younger years. And I did this all alone. There was no support community for freelancing women, or at least none I was aware of. I doubt there was much of a support community for any freelancers back then.
These were the VERY early days of online freelancing. Back in 2005, a mere 10.1% of the American workforce were working in what is now often referred to as the gig economy. I would wager that many of the ones who were freelancing, if not most of them, were holdovers from the pre-internet days, the ones writing for magazines and other publications.
Fast forward to 2017, and 36% of the American workforce was specifically freelancing , as opposed to other alternative forms of employment.
That’s more than a third of the workforce!
And 63% of them are choosing to freelance, rather than finding themselves in a position where they have to because of job loss, the need for extra income, or other factors. Not only that, but by 2027, it is expected that the majority of the American workforce will be freelancing.
Now, I’m Canadian, so I have to talk about the freelance economy in Canada. It’s harder to pin down the numbers, but freelancing is certainly holding its own. Approximately 21.5% of the Canadian workforce is either self-employed or temporary workers. By 2020, this is expected to be as high as 45% of the workforce.
So, the freelance workforce is growing at a considerable rate. But back in 2005, it was small and it was difficult. Seriously, 2005 was the dark ages. The internet was still a relatively new thing. Google was just beginning to make its mark. The iPhone didn’t even exist yet! And it was hard to be taken seriously as a freelancer. Keywords were stuffed into articles like crazy. Companies still had in-house writers to take care of their writing needs. And content marketing? Forget it. There was no such thing.
Going it alone was tough, but I made it. I have been a successful full-time freelance writer for 13 years. Recently I have found myself wanting to help women in all walks of life find their authentic selves and live the life they want. And I have realized that part of that is helping women in the freelance community.
Recently, I have been learning that there are now freelance communities out there, even those specifically for women in freelancing. I am beginning to check them out and I am extremely grateful that this kind of support has developed over the years.
What I hope to build here is not competition for these communities, but a community that can complement their existence. I want this to be a community for women in freelancing, one in which I can share information that I have learned on my journey, where you can ask questions, and where you can take the comments section and use it to start conversations with me and with each other.
PLEASE ask questions! PLEASE tell us about your experiences. And most of all, if there is something specific you want to know about in the freelancing world, PLEASE ask! I want you to steer the direction of this blog. I will devote entire blog posts to the things you want to know, whether that has to do with finding work, getting paid, balancing work and family, growing your business, or any other subject you can think of.
I really look forward to getting to know each and every one of you. I want us to grow personal relationships. And I want us to grow a community of strong freelancing women who can hold each other up and inspire each other to do more and be the very best version of ourselves we can possibly be!