Majority of Gen Z see self-employment as a viable career option – 3 who have done it

Gen Z is entering the workforce and many members are rethinking the traditional 9 to 5. According to a February study Fiverr Survey 2023 of 7,121 Gen Zers from around the world.

Freelancing “is a major draw for a generation eager to pursue their passions, hone their skills, and have more control over their income and career trajectory,” says Gali Arnon, CMO of Fiverr, in the report.

Freelancers already make up a significant portion of the labor market. More than a third, 39% of Americans are self-employed, according to the labor market The Upwork 2022 Freelance Striker survey of 3,000 professionals. That’s a three percentage point increase from 2021.

And some Gen Zers don’t wait long to get started.

Gigi Robinson, 24, influencer

Gigi Robinson, 24, had long struggled with chronic conditions like Ehlers Danlos syndrome and endometriosis. While earning her BFA at the University of Southern California, she started sharing her struggles on platforms like TikTok and started amassing a following. That’s when companies started offering brand ambassador opportunities.

Robinson had done internships at companies like Paramount Pictures and planned to get into corporate entertainment, “but I think going to school in Los Angeles, which is kind of like the mecca of the culture of influence, it became almost integrated into my workflow,” she says. .

During her last semester at school in the fall of 2020, she decided to accept these brands in their offers and realized that there was money to be made as a freelancer.

More than two years after graduating, she founded It’s Gigi, a business that encompasses her various sources of income. They include a recent children’s book, public speaking, career coaching and ongoing brand partnerships. Robinson grossed over $170,000 last year.

At this point, “I wouldn’t go back as part of the business,” she says.

Mark Santos, 23, video editor

Marc Santos, 23, started his personal YouTube channel at the age of 11 in his hometown of Sao Paulo, Brazil, documenting his life as a young teenager. When he moved to Boca Raton, Florida at age 15, he started making videos about what it was like to live in the United States for a Brazilian. And these have gained ground.

“I had about 100,000 followers when I was 16,” he says. But although he hoped YouTube would become his full-time job, the channel wasn’t earning much.

Fiverrr freelancer Mark Santos.

Courtesy of Mark Santos

While studying at the University of South Florida, Santos recalled that he once saw “someone on YouTube talking about how well they were doing on Fiverr,” he says, and said. decided to create a profile on the site offering video editing services. Within a week, he had booked his first client.

By the time Santos graduated in May 2022, he had expanded his offerings to thumbnail and banner design, among other things, and was working “at least 12 hour days,” he says. He had also started hiring freelancers to take on some of his clients’ work. It was clear that this would ultimately be his job.

Today, he books between 100 and 200 projects per month, charging up to $900 per project. “I never really wanted to work in a company,” he says. “I always knew I was going to do something different.”

Nathaniel DeSantis, 26, podcast producer

Nathaniel DeSantisThe 26-year-old graduated from Furman University in 2019 and “applied for about 100 jobs,” he says, eventually landing one of the military parts makers.

While there, the Greenville, South Carolina native started a movie review podcast with a friend and found he loved the format. He dove into learning all he could about audio engineering and creating a podcast and quit the manufacturing job after a year. “I call this period of life getting my masters,” he says.

Nathaniel DeSantis.

Courtesy of Nathaniel DeSantis

In late 2021, a friend connected him with a local nonprofit that needed help creating a podcast, and Podcast Studio X was born. “We are up to 11 customers,” he says, many of whom found him through word of mouth. “Our average contract is around $3,000 a month,” he says.

For DeSantis, it was just about knowing what is possible.

“It’s very easy to look around, especially with social media, and see all these products, companies and services that are making so much money and just don’t look that good. “, he says. “If they can do it, you can do it.”

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