Freelancers can keep daily rates thanks to investments in knowledge and self-development.
Freelancers attach great importance to self-development in order to specialize more and more. Even in this difficult period, a large majority has invested the time freed up in further training. This is shown by the results from NedWorks' Freelance Income Survey among more than 300 freelance digital marketing professionals. A small minority had to reduce their daily rate, while more than three-quarters were able to maintain the same daily rate.
The status of freelancers has been on the rise for several years now. More and more people are opting for this way of working and employers are also focusing more often on freelancers. On the occasion of the Day of the Freelancer on Thursday 17 September, NedWorks conducted an annual survey about the daily rates of freelancers in the digital marketing sector. Like every year, the survey provides some interesting figures and trends*.
Also, this summer more than 300 professionals participated. That COVID-19 has also disrupted their work is not surprising, of course. It was more difficult to find assignments, so one in five had to lower his/her rates or reduce the work schedule.
Investing in self-study
Still, there is some good news, because no less than three-quarters of the freelancers surveyed were able to continue using the same daily rate. Knowledge and expertise are important reasons why they maintain their market value despite the crisis. Digital freelancers are investing heavily in self-study. The NedWorks survey shows that continuing education is the most important source of expenditure for freelancers. Approximately half of them derive knowledge from training, while about six out of ten freelancers also use their network for this purpose.
Attention to self-development has long been a trend among freelancers and the current crisis has not changed that. On the contrary, four out of five have invested as much or even more in knowledge. Moreover, half of the freelancers who had to reduce their daily rate indicate that they see the importance of further training and that they will focus more on self-study.
Grow in expertise
NedWorks also asked employers for the study. More than half still see a freelancer as a temporary force to absorb a peak in work pressure. Still, half of them realize that freelancers offer a unique solution to compensate for a lack of expertise in their organization. Because they continuously train themselves and also gain knowledge from a network spread across various sectors, freelancers are an addition that employers cannot possibly find among their permanent employees.
"It is of course no coincidence that many freelancers have spent their free time on education in recent months. Never waste a good crisis! By gaining even more expertise, they increase their market value. Most freelancers who didn't have to adjust their daily rate because of COVID-19 have already regularly invested in further training in the past," says Ine Franckaert, Business Manager at NedWorks.
"Continuous learning was an important trend even before the crisis, especially in a digital world that is changing ever faster. Digital transformation is of course more than just technology and is often also about knowledge transfer. Thanks to freelancers, companies gain access to a complete network of valuable knowledge. Digitization is accelerating everywhere, but it's the people who really make the difference," says Guy Gelaude, Managing Director at NedWorks.
Thanks to freelancers, companies gain access to a complete network of valuable knowledge. Digitization is accelerating everywhere, but it's the people who really make the difference.
Mathias Ervyn, freelance expert in marketing and storytelling, emphasizes the importance of self-development: "Training is vital for a freelancer. Anyone who acts as an expert or consultant for clients provides them with special expertise. For some, it comes from your own experience, but the digital world is changing so fast that you always need to stay up to date with the latest trends. What's more, you also need to know the trends your clients will be facing in the future. If COVID-19 had one positive side effect, it was that we could spend more time on training, reading, and taking online courses".
*All results can be found in the Freelance Income Report of NedWorks that will be published in October. Subscribe here to receive the full report.