Americans Want to Work, But Not In the Way You'd Think

The face of work is changing over time.

Are you looking for work right now? Or are you looking to change up what you do for a career? Are you considering starting your own business or being your own boss? Millions of Americans are in the same position. The U.S. appears to be drifting toward a more entrepreneurial economy!

The cloud-based account company FreshBooks has revealed the result of a study conducted of 2,700 full-time American workers in a variety of work roles. Over two years, the company found that a large percentage of American workers are looking to move toward self-employment, either as a small business owner or as an independent contractor.

The trend, gauged in a survey of more than 2,700 full-time U.S. workers in traditional, independent, and small business roles about their career plans, is largely being driven by Millennial workers. FreshBooks estimates that of the next 27 million independent workers, 42% will be Millennials. The survey, conducted with Research Now, also finds that Americans who already work for themselves are suddenly very content to keep doing so, with 97% of independent workers (up 10% from 2016) reporting no desire to return to traditional work.

“Americans are increasingly disillusioned with the notion that a successful career means climbing the corporate ladder,” FreshBooks CEO Mike McDerment told Quartz. “Whether or not the shift to self-employment occurs at the velocity our study indicates or not, the real significance is the mindset shift of the American workforce.”

As the economy changes, workers are changing with it. Self-employment is not easy, but it can be very rewarding. The wages may not necessarily rise as high as in corporate-type jobs, but the rewards come from the freedom to make one's own schedule and to be creative and autonomous in decision-making.

FreshBooks’ study, and other studies like theirs, estimate that nearly half of the American workforce will be self-employed by 2020. Whether it’s freelance writing, web design, consulting, real estate, etc., traditional job markets are splintering and making way for the self-employed economy.

What the study shows is that opportunity exists in the United States. Despite hurdles from regulatory reform, tax overhauls, and out-of-control federal spending, America still provides a dream to any individual who wants to be enterprising.