Ready to quit your day job?

According to a recent report from LinkedIn, 35 percent of the work force is working as freelancers.

So whether you're looking to grow your side hustle or want to jump in with both feet, LinkedIn offers some valuable data on trends gleaned from ProFinder, the platform's recent foray into the gig economy.

Going Pro

LinkedIn reports that business coaches, marketers, and designers dominated the freelance marketplace in 2016.

According to the official post from LinkedIn, these three categories accounted for nearly 50 percent of the 9,500 ProFinder survey respondents.

"According to our data, skills-based fields like writing, photography, and home improvement are the most popular among younger freelancers," LinkedIn noted. "On the other hand, more senior freelance professionals tend to take on roles as coaches, business consultants, real estate professionals, and marketers.

"The average freelancer is an older male. According to our data, the more senior a professional is in their career, the more likely they are to take on freelance work or transition into freelancing as an alternative to retirement."

Hot Markets

According to LinkedIn's official blog, "a whopping 40 percent of our freelancers are concentrated in just four states: California, Texas, Florida, and New York."

Finding and connecting with business opportunities, be it by geographic location, remotely, or some other segment is easy when you learn how to use LinkedIn's ProFinder service.

Showing You the Money

Fifty-six percent of members surveyed say they make 100 percent of their income from freelance work, according to LinkedIn.

"Average hourly rates tend to be in the $50 to $150 per hour range, with older freelancers typically charging more than their younger counterparts," LinkedIn noted. "When it comes to billing, more than two-thirds of freelancers charge either by the project or feature, or on a retainer basis, which reduces the need to track hours for projects."

The data also showed the high demand for certified pros, such as freelancers who practice law, or offer certified coaching or financial services and can command a higher fee than other types of freelancers.

"The freelance fields of work that command the lowest rates, such as writing, design, and software development, have lower barriers to entry and measurably more competition," LinkedIn said.

Where It's Headed

LinkedIn economist Guy Berger added: "With the U.S. economy continuing to expand and the labor market continuing to tighten, 2017 is likely to be an even better year for freelancers. Employers are going to face intensifying competition for the pool of available talent, improving the bargaining power that freelancers will have. This could mean better compensation, more flexibility, and richer opportunities all around."

So whether you're in one of these trending freelance industries, or another one ProFinder supports, such as real estate, accounting, or IT, you have a lot of reasons to consider LinkedIn as a way to leverage this 2017 workplace.

One final bit of advice before you jump into the freelance game and sign up for ProFinder: Make sure your LinkedIn profile is what I call "client facing," meaning it reads not like a virtual résumé but instead is all about how you help your ideal clients achieve their biggest goals.

With that in mind, LinkedIn is looking to help you with that side hustle or full leap into your own gig in 2017, so take advantage!

Published on: Dec 22, 2016
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