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If you want an income, or you’re an employer looking for help, it may be time to scrap the idea of the traditional 9-to-5 arrangement.
For workers, it has become easier and less risky to go solo. Affordable health-insurance plans, which kept many workers shackled to traditional jobs, are more accessible because of the Affordable Care Act. And companies are increasingly open to hiring freelancers and independent contractors. Many say independent workers bring fresh ideas without the long-term commitment.
An industry dedicated to serving the companies that offer freelance and contract work and the people who fill those openings is growing. Gigs can be found at a number of websites, such as Upwork.com and Freelancer.com, or through hiring services that connect professional freelancers and companies. And providing shared rented office space, as companies such as WeWork do, lets freelancers mingle with fellow contractors.
In 2013, 23 million people were self-employed, according the US Census Bureau. That’s up 1.2% from the year before and up about 24% from 2003. That number doesn’t count self-employed people who may also hire employees.
“This isn’t going away,” says Brooke Borgen, co-owner of Canopy Advisory Group, a hiring company for freelancers in Denver. She started the business five years ago with Griffen O’Shaughnessy. They observed that companies needed a way to access independent workers while friends and colleagues were telling them they wanted to find ways to balance their work and personal lives. “More and more people want to have ownership over their career,” Borgen says.