The number of freelance workers is predicted to be 50% of the American population in 2020.
That is an extraordinarily large number of people.
It’s obviously not just the US, England aren’t far behind and in India things are really kicking off…
On Elance, India is ranked as the second-highest freelance earning country. The hiring of Indian freelancers is growing at a healthy +46% annually.
What Does This Mean for Digital Nomads?
If you’re currently earning your living off freelance work then there is good news and bad news.
The bad news is that competition for clients is going to get more fierce. Millions and millions of people fighting for the same jobs means only one thing. The fight for cheaper work.
As Seth Godin has predicted “There will be a race to the bottom“.
In other words, whoever bids to work for the lowest amount will get the job.
It is already happening now, but it’s still easy enough to charge more to western clients even when you’re living in Thailand. Many a’ digital nomad knows this and unfortunately a few base their entire living off of it.
The obvious problem with this type of game of racing towards working for cheaper and cheaper? You might win!
How does a designer living in New York, Paris or Sydney earn a sustainable living when competing with somebody just as qualified and talented living in the Philippines or in India?
The Collapse of Western Society
You may have noticed the increase in documentaries named ‘the collapse of western society’. Most of which are unwatchable actually with too many exaggerations and unanswered questions aimed at a category of people you most likely don’t belong to. It is interesting food for thought though.
More and more people are demanding work-from-home jobs and extra flexibility. Fair enough, I don’t blame them. The long term consequence though is that companies will be pushed into giving people what they want and will start only hiring on a freelance basis. The age of global competition then can really start to show it’s head.
It isn’t my place to say if this is a good thing or bad thing. It will no doubt balance the world’s economy a bit instead of the lob-sided west / east situation we have today.
If you are basing your business on the lob-sided situation of today, then unfortunately you will be the ones to feel it.
You Said There Was Good News!
Indeed I did.
The good news is, I’ve given you six years notice to change your fate.
While everybody else is ‘racing towards the bottom’, you need to decide what you will be doing instead. Six years is a very long time to get extremely skilled at something.
I won’t go in to the effort of writing all the things you could become great at in six years, but it is safe to say there is enough time to master something which you know absolutely nothing about right now. There is that much time.
Make sure you are spending the majority of your working time towards things that matter. Not only what matters now, but will continue to matter in six years time.
Finding yourself on twitter two hours each day trying to get the odd client? I doubt that will make the slightest bit of difference in a few years time. Building up your personal website, giving out lots of useful information and helping people with their problems so they keep returning to you – that’s more likely to help you in the long run!
You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want – Zig Ziglar
I’m going to keep this post short as I really just wanted to throw this at you and to see if it is something that people had been considering and planning for.
This is actually a large topic which we will be talking about more on our new website. Remember to sign up below and we’ll be sure to keep you updated with how that is going.
How do you plan on adapting when the competition rises and people are no longer willing to pay fair prices? Is this something you have been planning for already? Let us know in the comments!