“Generous” and “Stingy” Advice Sharing Among Peer Freelancers in Professional and Creative Project Work Considering Competitive Advantage

“Generous” and “Stingy” Advice Sharing Among Peer Freelancers in Professional and Creative Project Work Considering Competitive Advantage

Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6496-7.ch004
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To make ends meet as a freelancer, people have to build a serious and credible skillset (through formal education, credentialing, deep practice) and offer sufficient public information to draw the attention of potential clients. Depending on their particular expertise, they have to have social contacts in the field, and they have to be active on various platforms to bid for work. Freelancers have a variety of social media platforms that they may socialize on for mutual support and advice sharing. Sometimes, to build their credibility, freelancers will create and share peer-to-peer teaching and learning resources. These individuals and teams have to share relevant information without giving away any competitive advantage, given the sparsity of paid jobs and projects. To consider generosity and stinginess of social advice sharing, this work explores some peer-shared teaching and learning resources on the Social Web surrounding freelance work, including a set of 126 slideshows on a popular social slide-sharing site and 16 video transcripts from a popular video-sharing site.
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A “freelancer” is a self-employed person who bids for particular jobs and is paid when that job is satisfactorily completed. Depending on the freelancer, sometimes, the person doing the work is an amateur and other times a professional (such as a practicing professional who wants additional income or experience, such as a retiree who is working part-time). In one study, the respective freelancer classifications were the following: Independent Contractors, Moonlighters, Diversified Workers, Freelance Business Owners, and Temporary Workers (“September 2020 Freelance Forward 2020,” Sept. 2020). A freelancer may be freelancing part-time or full-time (if there is available work). “Diversified Workers” have full-time jobs but add on freelancing to that workload. The survey found that some freelanced daily (37%), weekly (32%), bi-weekly (11%), monthly (10%), and less than monthly (10%) (“September 2020 Freelance Forward 2020,” Sept. 2020). Annual earnings from freelancing accounted for $1.2 trillion in 2020, with a median hourly rate of $20. A “peer freelancer,” fitting with the framework of this book, refers to either a person who freelances and has experiences in freelancing (in any number of fields), and refers to a general peer as in a commonfolk (without direct experiences in freelancing in some cases). Both types of freelancers were observed in this research work.

Some summary findings of an online survey study of freelance workers in the U.S. found that 59 million or 36% of the U.S. workforce freelanced in 2020, and there was $1.2 trillion in annual earnings from this work (“September 2020 Freelance Forward 2020,” Sept. 2020). A tenth of the U.S. workforce “has paused freelancing” due to COVID-19; “51% of paused freelancers still have other sources of work, while 28% are on leave / furloughed or unemployed and 17% are students, homeworkers, or retirees” (“September 2020 Freelance Forward 2020,” Sept. 2020). Simultaneously, others who had not freelanced prior started to do so…based on the financial instability during the COVID-based recession. Insightfully, the researchers found that “constant skills education and training is a must—and a standard—for freelancers” (“September 2020 Freelance Forward 2020,” Sept. 2020).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Stringer: A worker who is not on the regular staff of a publication.

Freelancer: A free agent for hire, a self-employed individual, a sole proprietor.

Competitive advantage: Particular factors that enable a freelancer to win bids for work against other freelancers.

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