The challenges facing freelance millennials


Recently, a friend of mine shared a blog post from a website called Lucky Attitude about millennials working freelance. While I agree with the perks of freelancing the author, Tanya, points out, I thought the challenges for millennials here were overlooked. I’ve decided to talk about some of these here.

Before I do this, I should declare an interest: I am a millennial with some experience of freelancing. But this experience is modest, and I’ve faced all the challenges I’m about to describe.

They’ll face tough competition from experienced professionals

Tanya describes freelancers as “experienced professionals of a certain creative trade, who have built up a client base over the years.” I agree with this.

One time during a job interview, my interviewer told me every freelancer he knows has been working in their industry for decades, for all kinds of clients.

Tanya says millennials “are now coming straight out of education and into high demand in the digital sector.”

Even with that high demand, experience is everything in the creative industries. Millennials in the situation above may find themselves losing jobs to experienced professionals who’ve been around for years. 

They risk perpetrating a negative stereotype of themselves

Maybe the reason experienced freelancers get to work on their on own terms is because they’ve earned the right to, by spending decades as a waged or salaried employee.

When millennials think they can walk straight into freelance work and enjoy its benefits, they risk perpetrating a negative stereotype their elders have of them: wanting the rewards without putting in the hard work.

I can understand why freelancing looks like a sweet deal to millennials, but maybe they’ve got to be team players before they can be go it alone.

The money isn’t always good

It’s possible to earn decent money for freelancing if you work in the right places. But the right places aren’t always easy to find.

Tanya cites “better pay” as one of the reasons for millennials being drawn to freelance work, and recommends looking for jobs on websites like Upwork. But these sites only offer low wages for newbies.

Once again, the only people scoring nice cash here are those who’ve been working freelance for years.

But I admire their spirit

I know I’ve put a downer on millennials working freelance, and I feel guilty about it. But I admire millennials for their spirit and open-mindedness to freelancing. They can see the ‘9 a.m. – 5 p.m. office job’ scenario may not be the best way to work, and are willing to explore new options.

There are plenty of good reasons to work freelance, and I will write a blog post about these soon.


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