Helping New Freelancers Start Out Strong And Find Early Success
One of the most enduring findings in the psychology literature is what psychologists call the “primacy effect.”
We experience it all the time. For example, FIFO (“first in, first out”) and FOMO (“fear of missing out”) are two widely known examples.
But the influence of the primacy effect goes much deeper.
First impressions have a great influence on how we see and experience others.
We are much more likely to remember what we learn first.
And our initial experiences predetermine our feelings about what we have done or achieved.
Seniority also plays a bigger role than you might expect in the careers of full-time employees and freelancers.
For example, a manager’s behavior is very likely to color attitudes toward the company and predispose new employees to either feel a surge of loyalty or start looking for a new job.
And for freelancers, being first has a big impact.
Many find the first year of freelancing challenging.
Here’s how new freelancers describe their experiences working with clients compared to freelancers who have more experience to draw on.
What a difference a year makes.
As the data above highlights, new freelancers feel more constrained in many areas than experienced workers:
- How well typical clients know how to work effectively with freelancers
- Expectations of quality of work
- Competence of the client’s project manager in working with freelancers
- Access to basic information
- Helpfulness of client team members
- Fair treatment and fair remuneration
Each of these is a concern for new freelancers. But with just a year of experience behind them, those concerns are starting to subside.
After the first year, freelancers feel more agency—more control and influence over their work relationships and results.
Thanks to this, they build more competence and confidence in dealing with their work, colleagues and clients.
How can we accelerate positive first-year experiences and give more freelancers the opportunity to “start strong”?
Fortunately, becoming a freelancer is easier than ever.
More than 57 million Americans were freelancers in 2019, and the trend continues to grow, with more than 50% of Gen Z choosing to start freelancing.
Not only is it more popular than ever to become a freelancer, but companies are becoming more comfortable hiring freelancers than full-time employees.
A lot of work can be done remotely, and companies may not provide the same financial or health benefits to freelancers as full-time employees.