New research published today shows freelancers are cautiously optimistic about the year ahead, believing the number of contracts available will grow, but revenue will remain the same.
The survey conducted by IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, and Elance-oDesk, the global leader in online work, found that despite the political uncertainty ahead of May's general election, business performance for freelancers accelerated in Q4 2014 with an increase in quarterly income of 7.4% on the previous quarter.
Suneeta Johal, Research Manager at IPSE and co-author of The Freelancer Confidence Index, said:
"The survey shows a strong end to 2014 with freelance businesses performing well. The results suggest the number of contracts will continue to grow and capacity for freelancers will increase as demand for services rises.
"However, business confidence among freelancers has fallen and the general perception is the economy will perform only marginally better in 2015, although their own businesses will remain stable. Nearly half of the respondents expect there will be no change in revenue and over half expect input costs to rise over the next twelve months."
Hayley Conick, Country Manager for Elance-oDesk in the UK said:
"A key finding from this research was that the freelancers working via online workplaces showed higher levels of confidence in regard to their future earnings prospects. These innovative professionals are less dependent on physical location and are therefore taking advantage of a broader amount of opportunities – especially as businesses increasingly use the Internet to find talent."
Key findings from the Freelancer Confidence Index:
• Overall, business confidence amongst freelancers is cautious for 2015 which could be due to additional factors such as uncertainty around the General Election
• Business performance for freelancers accelerated in quarter 4 of 2014 with quarterly income increasing by 7.4% on the previous quarter
• The number of freelancer contracts is continuing to grow with momentum
• Over half (51%) of freelancers expect their input costs to rise over the next 12 months
• Revenue for IPSE members was varied in 2014 and 45.7% of respondents expect no change in the year ahead. 30.2% of respondents expect an increase in revenue throughout 2015, whereas 24.2% anticipate a decrease
• There was higher optimism from the Elance-oDesk respondents with regard to both revenues and business confidence. Nearly 38% of Elance-oDesk freelancers have seen a rise in revenues over the last 3 months and 53% anticipate further increases over the next 12 months