As we enter a new year, we dust off the old crystal ball and take a look at how trends, tech, and economic predictions could help freelancers prepare for 2023. 

Following a work-life-altering few years (COVID, the Great Resignation, mass firings in tech, introspective soul-searching etc...), freelancing has become a popular choice for people to work and earn a living, and it's likely that this trend will continue into 2023. While some companies are demanding their staff return to the office, most have settled on a hybrid model or gone fully remote. This new-found confidence in flexible working has had a major impact in the way hiring companies view freelance talent. Barriers have been broken down and the floodgates are open. Let's see what else freelancers can expect over the coming year.

Freelance Trends

  1. Increased demand for remote work: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend towards remote work, and this is likely to continue in 2023. This means that freelancers will have more opportunities to work with clients from anywhere in the world. For freelancers that offer a face-to-face service, it may be beneficial to develop remote services to offer alongside your core work. Online teaching, editing, consultation etc... 

  2. Looking at the economy, the current thinking is that interest rates will rise by a bit, property prices will drop by around 10% - 15% and we will most likely face a recession. 

  3. Growth of the gig economy: The gig economy, which refers to temporary or project-based work, is expected to continue growing in 2023. This is good news for freelancers, as it means there will be more opportunities for short-term projects and flexible work arrangements. 

  4. Knowing which sectors are set to fly in 2023 will offer opportunities for freelancers. Whether you're a writer, SEO expert, videographer or makeup artist, knowing where to target new work will make a big difference. Keep an eye on green tech, fintech, AR & VR, travel and entertainment, cybersecurity, healthcare tech, and the mobility space (self-driving bots, cars etc...). 

  5. Rise of automation: Automation is becoming increasingly prevalent in many industries, and this trend is likely to continue in 2023. While some jobs may be replaced by automation, it's also possible that new opportunities will arise for freelancers who are skilled in areas such as programming and data analysis.

  6. Generative Artificial Intelligence made a giant leap into the public consciousness in late 2022 with the likes of Chat GPT, Rytr and various AI-driven image generators. There is no doubt that A.I will have an impact on freelancers for good and bad. Embrace it, and it could be a powerful tool to help you come up with ideas and support your business. Fear it, and you might find yourself getting left behind. In our opinion, AI has a use but is not yet sophisticated or nuanced enough to threaten mid-range or experienced freelancers, however, early-stage freelancers may find it more difficult to establish a foothold. Chatbots producing content, for example, are still unable to convincingly replicate a writer with a specific style or tone of voice, but there can certainly create solid ever-green copy that many companies will be more than satisfied with. 

  7. Virtual Reality (VR) is set to take another step forward. Based on the monster investment Facebook has made in headsets, tech and the Metaverse, it would suggest there is a commercial push on the way in 2023. VR can do some pretty cool things and, although, may not yet be as mainstream as Facebook would like, it's a new technology that will bring opportunities. Just like AI, explore it, don't fear it. 

  8. Increased competition: As more people turn to freelancing as a way to make a living, competition is likely to increase. To stand out in a crowded market, freelancers will need to have a strong online presence and a clear value proposition. The number of students choosing to freelance whilst studying as well as new freelancers (side hustlers, weekend warriors et al.) entering the market to meet the demand, is an indication that freelancing will continue to grow. 

  9. Greater emphasis on specialisation: With so much competition and automation, it's becoming increasingly important for freelancers to specialise in a particular area or niche. This allows them to differentiate themselves and become experts in their field, which can help them win more business. Freelancers will a unique voice, style or a niche set of skills will thrive. 

Overall, 2023 looks to be an exciting year for freelancers, with many opportunities for those who are able to adapt to changing market conditions and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies. Check out the latest jobs currently live on our jobs board

Photos: August de Richelieu, Mikhail Nilov