Freelancing refers to working as an independent company instead of being employed by any other person. A freelancer is a self-employed person who earns wages by offering his services to multiple clients. He does not only sell his services but can sell products as well through online retailers.
The Growth of Freelance Workforce
The freelance workforce of the US is growing at a faster speed and is hitting peaks as compared to the overall growth of the US workforce. In 2017, this freelance workforce growth outstripped the overall growth of the US workforce by three times since 2014 when this number was 53 million that increased to 57.3 million in 2017. This number of Americans who were freelancing was 36% of the total US workforce. A study by FIA (Freelancing In America) revealed that in 2017 this growth in the freelance workforce was 8.1% whereas the overall growth of the US workforce in the same period was just 2.6%. The annual contribution of these freelancers in the economy of the US was more or less $1.4 trillion that was 30% more than in 2016. Now the figures are even higher.
The Experts project that by 2027, freelancers will become the majority of the workforce in the US. It is also expected that this milestone will be accomplished even earlier than 2027 with the youth becoming the larger portion of the US workforce. The number of millennial working as freelancers is higher than any other age group as almost 47% of working millennial is freelancers.
How a Freelancer can Expand his Value?
Multiple tasks or assignments that seemed difficult to accomplish in the past have become quite easier in this digital era. Most of the tasks for which the services of the freelancers were hired are being automated today. Several platforms such as Wix and WordPress are squeezing freelance web developers into a constricted situation forcing them to fight an arduous battle for potential clients. Moreover, Freelancing platforms such as Designhill, Fiverr, and Upwork have saturated the freelancing market with a great number of freelancers. Therefore, a freelancer needs to constantly look for options to stand out becoming more valuable than competitors. In this overcrowded market, only those freelancers will be succeeded who strive hard to expand their value by employing the most revolutionary technology i.e., AI. The use of this technology will give the freelancer a competitive edge over the others and drastically help him emerge as the most appealing one. A freelancer must recognize that he can have a leg up on the competitors and can earn more money in a short time by employing AI-powered tools.
In this blog, we will discuss the impact of AI developments on a freelance job, how a freelancer can use AI to have a competitive edge? Will AI negatively impact freelance workers taking away their jobs? Or will it assist freelancers in making their jobs easier?
AI Impact on Freelancer Career
The global market is undergoing considerable changes, thanks to the advancements in AI and the Freelance market. Everyone is quite familiar with China's mission to spearhead AI development worldwide. To accomplish this goal, the industrial and economic giant has made AI subject compulsory in the course of the students of secondary school. When all this is happening in China to provide its students an instant edge to comprehend and implement this emerging technology, there is a projection that above 50% of the US workforce would be working as freelancers by 2027. At the same time, AI advancements are changing the world drastically. We have to cope up with these changes and discover tracks to get benefits from these changes rather than becoming casualties. According to a survey, 65% of correspondents believe that freelancers are more set to cope up with AI advancements than any other workforce as they are upgrading their skills continuously.
AI tools Assisting Freelancers to Boost their Career
In freelancing, AI tools are complementing and intensifying the existing skillsets of freelancers. Despite all the career shifts AI might bring in the future, one thing is certain; it will majorly support Freelancers in the form of its tools and help them to take their freelancing career to another level.
Let's discuss a couple of AI tools freelancers are using to enhance their skills and offer the best services to their clients:
Respondable – to improve communication with the potential client
A freelancer needs to have great and impressive communication skills to deal with the client, as he most often has to ask for clarifications in a way that doesn't seem offensive to his client. Thanks to AI! A tool called "Respondable" helps freelancers communicate in the most non-offensive and impressive way to drive the attention of potential clients. After analyzing the emails of the potential client, this AI-powered tool guides the freelancer on how to communicate with that client to give him a good impression that could eventually convert him into an actual client. Hence, using this sort of AI tool gives a freelancer a competitive edge over other freelancers and helps in growing the client base.
Futurenda – to organize time and tasks
Once you get single or multiple clients, the next thing is to organize the assigned tasks. As a freelancer, you have to work on several projects at a time. So it might be quite hard to handle multiple tasks simultaneously while striving to meet deadlines. Most importantly, if you are hired on an hourly basis, "time is the money" therefore you can't take a risk of losing your time or money on trivial tasks. Here comes a powerful AI tool "Futurenda" to plan things and fragment tasks into sessions for you. The founders of Futurenda claim that they have created an app that would be automatically managing and optimizing a dynamic timetable, hence enabling the user to just focus on his tasks. Futurenda is smart enough to watch over the deadlines and modify the agenda accordingly. Hence this AI-powered tool assists a freelancer in developing a dynamic agenda to boost productivity while getting everything done on time.
Inapptics – to provide the client with a deep customer insight
Another prominent job among freelancers is that of a "Business Developer." Businesses in this digital era demand freelancers with the skill beyond just developing or designing an application. As a freelancer, if you want to have an upper hand over other freelancers, you must understand that monitoring analytics must be one of the most fundamental parts of your routine. There is an AI tool called "Inapptics" to help freelancers meet the required criteria of a client. By using this tool, a freelancer can combine various user interaction events to create heat maps showing how the developed app is being used by the users. If a freelancer commits to delivers this deep insight of the user to the client, he has more chances to win the bid for a client.
Crystal.io – Smarter Digital Marketing
The number of Freelancers offering the services of digital marketing is great. However, it is quite a hectic job as doing a lot of activities such as managing social media campaigns, observing analytics, and preparing reports simultaneously is not an easy task. Here comes AI with its tool called "Crystal.io" that converts huge and complex data of digital marketing into simpler data. By using this tool, what a freelance digital marketer has to do is just unleash his creativity instead of worrying about analytic charts, graphs, CAC, or daily scheduling. Let these tedious jobs be done by AI.
Flo – Convert Video Series
In this digital era, you can't ignore the benefits of getting your post viral on social media. But to make this happen, the post must be creative and attractive enough to get shared… well this is quite a hard part where a businessman needs help. To offer these services, the freelance platforms are loaded with community managers. However, video editing is a time-intensive job that requires expertise and there are just a few who own the required skills. Now, at this stage, a freelancer can reap the benefit of AI by using "Flo" which is an app for video editing. This app employs DL and computer vision to auto-edit videos and converts them into brief shareable stories. You just have to instruct the app about what you require to watch in the video, the rest of the task is the responsibility of this AI-driven app. This app will help a freelancer to have 5-star reviews on his profile.
Logopony – to design an intelligent logo
The job of a freelance graphic designer is lucrative. However, you must have expertise in this job. AI tools like "Logopony" are of great help for the freelancers involved in graphic designing. It offers various designs including app icons, flyers, business cards, etc., to help you emerge as a competitive graphic designer.
Everypixel – An AI-based Image Finder
No matter you are working as a freelance copywriter, digital marketer, or community manager, you have to deal with high-quality images at some project of your career. Everypixelis an AI-based image search tool helping to get the most suitable image for your project. AI algorithms have made this app quite smarter to find and recommend the most appealing and relevant image from an ocean of images available on the internet.
SpinnerChief – to spin the content
As a freelance copywriter, you have to spin an article multiple times for different purposes, and that is a quite hectic and time-intensive job. Here comes AI with its SpinnerChief. A freelance copywriter can use AI-based SpinnerChief to do the content spinning in just one click. This app helps freelancers in rewriting unique and readable articles in minutes.
Wrappup – to conduct productive meetings
Freelancers have to attend several online meetings, particularly while working with more than one client. An app called Wrappup assists freelancers to summarize all meeting details. It makes notes on the highlighted information in a Slack channel. In this way, even if the meeting is missed due to some reason you can get the summarized notes through this app and get updated about everything.
Helium 10 – for Product Hunting
Mostly a client assigns the freelancer/Virtual Assistant with the task to hunt a product for him that could generate the best revenues on an online store like Amazon or WalMart, etc. Here AI-powered Helium 10 is the best tool to hunt the best product. Raw data of daily sales on the retail store is gathered in the Helium tool and is analyzed using AI and ML models. The freelancers use this tool to research a product while analyzing its market trends, sales history, search volume, competition, brand dominance, and certain other parameters to find the best product for their clients with the best profit margin.
By taking benefits from the above-mentioned and many other AI-powered tools across the workflow, a freelancer can excel in the crowded market as AI takes away most of the tedious tasks from his shoulders leaving him with more time to deliver exceptional services to his clients. It eventually helps in boosting the reputation of that freelancer in the market. Hence AI helps the freelancers from the initial stage of winning the bid to eventually converting the potential client into a satisfied client. Moreover, with AI-driven platforms like Fiverr, and Upwork, a freelancer gets easily connected with several new projects, opportunities, and companies to make his/her career more lucrative.
Considering AI a Threat to Freelancers: Is It a Logical Thought?
While talking about AI, there is a common perception that AI is going to make certain jobs obsolete. However, the reality might be quite different. We can't just rely on perceptions. We must find out what do the numbers and the logical thoughts suggest?
There is a similar popular belief that AI is going to disrupt freelancers' careers. This belief is based on the basic theory that automation of a job reduces the opportunity of the human workforce to perform that job. But does this theory hold a reliable base or it is just working in textbooks or internet content? If we have a quick glimpse of some numbers, we might find a different picture that requires a cautious overview of this pressing issue.
In 2017, an online platform "Upwork" that is connecting freelancers with clients published its website data revealing that AI was the second-highest growing technical skill in demand. While some experts anticipate that AI will make humans lose their jobs, others argue that AI is opening new horizons and opportunities for the human that is quite evident by the second-highest demand of AI-skilled freelancers.
Now come to the logical point of view: We must understand the fact that the industry of professional services is never going to obsolete. Sure, the automated website builders might develop but the need for Freelancers i.e., human professionals offering services is not going to be obsolete, not soon at least.
Some freelance jobs are strongly considered to be replaced by AI, but if we have a deep insight, we will understand that AI will not even replace these jobs but augment human capabilities to perform these jobs. Let's have an overview of a few of such jobs that are falsely considered to be replaced by AI.
Proofreading, and Copywriting
Today, AI-driven editing tools are highlighting our grammar and spelling mistakes and also offering suggestions. However, these tools are useless if you don't have writing skills in the chosen language. Sometimes, the grammar suggestions might not be appropriate; therefore, the content writer has to recognize the most appropriate suggestions. Therefore, it might not be wrong to say that these tools will not replace the content writers or proofreaders, rather will augment the capabilities of these freelancers.
Editing and Restoring Photographs
Another task of freelancers is to edit and restore photographs. AI developments have made photo editing and restoring task quite easy and appealing. However, here again, a human is required to for adjustments in the photographs and evaluate the final results. Hence, the AI-powered tools will just amplify the abilities of a freelancer who already has a great visual aesthetic sense.
It might not be wrong to say the most adorable thing about society is a product of intelligence and augmenting human intelligence with AI can help a civilization evolve like never before.
Nothing is obvious about how things are going to unfold in an AI-driven future. It might be disastrous in the form of making human jobs obsolete or it might be wonderful opening new horizons for humans to concentrate more on creative skills. Similarly, the debate regarding AI's impact on freelancers' careers is two-sided. A survey of above 10,000 online professionals conducted by PwCrevealed that one out of every 5 freelancers considers AI a threat to take away their job within 10 years. Whereas many experts with the optimistic approach believe that AI will enable the freelancers to think proactively keeping in view the current and past market trends and thus the freelancers will have an upper hand. Whatever the approach is, one thing is more than clear that AI is here, revolutionizing every facet of our lives. As the ramifications of this revolution will continue to be felt in every profession; so Freelancing is no different.
A freelancer can boost his success level by implementing AI in his freelance workflow. The clients demand freelancers to accomplish their tasks on time with the highest possible efficiency and lowest possible cost, which is quite possible with AI. AI is the best option to be utilized by freelancers to satisfy their clients by fulfilling all their requirements. Therefore, making impulsive statements about AI disrupting the freelance economy is injudicious. Apart from utilizing AI to boost his skills and provide competitive services to the client, a freelancer must recognize that there are several tasks that AI is not capable to perform efficiently; particularly those requiring creativity, subjective judgment, and context understanding, etc., therefore a freelancer must focus more on these jobs. The hardest challenge for AI is to emulate the creative process, so in my opinion, automation will impact the job of writers later than any other profession. A freelance writer has an advantage over AI as he can add emotions and his life experiences in his writing that an AI algorithm can't. Therefore, it's a better and logical choice to be optimistic with the hope that AI will be a greater good for the freelance market. So just be optimistic and enjoy the ride!