Still Worth It? An Overview of Freelance Consulting in 2023
Fast forward to 2020. An event that has never before occurred in the history of mankind actually happened. The pandemic put the entire world in lockdown within a couple of months. Even though we’re slowly emerging from this godforsaken event, the market has changed significantly because of it.
So, how has the market changed? Well, firstly, when employees had no choice left, a lot of them turned to freelancing. And secondly, because businesses had to find a way to stay afloat, they even considered flexible working arrangements. Meaning that the stage is now set. Both professionals and businesses are now used to the term ‘freelancer’. It’s no longer something that people won’t take seriously. It’s here. It’s acceptable. It’s the norm.
In this article, we’ll focus on freelancing from a consulting industry perspective. You’ll learn why freelancing is on the rise and how much it’ll increase in the future. Also, we’ll discuss the top 5 sectors in freelance consulting.
Why Freelancing Is Getting More Popular
The trend is similar for the rest of the western world, too. The lockdowns have given new career ideas to professionals all around the globe. One of the ideas is freelancing—the ability to work on one’s own terms (for the most part).
But why are more people riding this bandwagon? Are there any particular reasons behind the rise in freelancing? Indeed, there are! Let’s discuss some top reasons why professionals, including consultants, are choosing to become freelancers.
- Flexibility: The year 2020 has taught many of us one very important aspect of life: You don’t necessarily need to be in the office to make money. That’s why people are choosing flexible work settings to have more free time and pursue side projects. Before the pandemic, this may have been unthinkable.
- High income: Let’s be frank, you can make a lot of money as a freelancer. Needless to say, you will have to put in the work and produce results. Let’s dig deeper. You see, as an employee, one’s income is capped. For instance, you may only make $5000 a month. But as a freelancer, there is no limit. You could increase your income if you play your cards right.
- Control: Have you read the news recently? Thousands of employees have been laid off by big tech companies. For instance, Twitter sacked thousands by sending an email! As you can imagine, these types of events lay a huge insecurity in people’s minds. So, they tend to choose a career in which they have more control. Freelancing, of course, offers people superior control over their careers.
- The number of freelancers in the US jumped to 70.4 million in 2022 and is expected to reach 90.1 million by 2028.
- Part of the reason behind this surge is the pandemic and new working arrangements that followed.
- Professionals are choosing to freelance for flexibility and more control over their income and career.
- Due to the effects of the pandemic, certain industries may be more lucrative for freelance consultants. These are private equity, insurance, healthcare, tech, and retail.
- Freelance consulting platforms make finding new short-term projects a heck of a lot easier. Freelance consultants should reach out to these platforms to find new clients.
5 Best Sectors for Freelance Consultants Post Pandemic
1. Private equityAccording to Bain & Co., private equity did exceptionally well during the pandemic. In their own words, there was “a historic surge in dealmaking and exits”. Private equity funds routinely look for bright brains to help improve their business. If you have experience working as a consultant in big firms like McKinsey, BCG, or Bain, PE firms may want to hear from you. The same goes for the venture capital sector. A consultant's strategy skills along with business know-how can help new startups raise funds.
2. HealthcareOh, boy! This decade began with a massive boom in the healthcare industry. Everything from vaccines to immunity-boosting vitamin pills was sold like never before. Imagine a product whose consumers are all adults on the planet. Due to this boost in demand, the healthcare sector needed consultants for business advice, operational strategy, and problem-solving.
Even in a relatively smaller country like the UK, the market size for healthcare consultants is £715 million. When it comes to trends in freelance consulting, it’s fair to predict that the demand in the healthcare industry could rise further.
3. InsuranceIf somebody had told us in 2019 what 2020 was going to look like, we’d have bought more insurance plans. The uncertainty, the chaos, and the fear that was experienced reminded us of a science fiction movie. Needless to say, insurance companies were affected tremendously. Now more than ever, the insurance sector needs advice on how to strategically sustain its business. Whether you’re an MBB consultant or a freelancer, the insurance sector is likely to be profitable for you. This is also one of those trends in freelance consulting that was directly related to the pandemic.
But do these insurance companies have money to spend on freelance consultants? Well, insurance companies made billions during the pandemic. For instance, in 2021, the French insurance company Axa had a premium written of €100 billion. So yes, if you can provide high-quality, life-changing recommendations to them, then there’s a lot of money to be made here.
4. TechThis one is a no-brainer. Of course, tech is on the rise since the advent of the internet. But if we talk about trends in freelance consulting, there may be certain areas within tech that consultants should look for. These include cloud computing, Agile, cybersecurity, e-commerce, digital transformation, IT architecture, data & analytics, and artificial intelligence.
But there’s one more aspect of technology consulting that you should know. You see, just business acumen and consulting skills won’t do the trick in tech. You may also have to upskill yourself and learn more about tech in general. But, given the future prospects of this industry, it’s safe to assume that upskilling yourself will be worth it.
5. RetailAlthough no official source has declared it, the worst part of the pandemic seems to be over. Mask mandates are gone from most places. Furthermore, people are starting to travel internationally once again. And most importantly, retail stores are opening up. This is why retail giants will need advice from expert consultants.
As a freelance consultant, you could help retail companies with strategy, organizational structure, operations, marketing, supply chain, logistics, merchandising, analytics, and much more. In particular, freelance consultants should focus on the apparel, FMCG, restaurant, and luxury goods industries.
How to Start Your Freelance Consulting Journey
So, if you’ve worked with big consulting firms or digital agencies, we’d like to hear from you.
Your next freelance project could be a few clicks away. Get in touch now.