Working a high-flying banking job in Sydney wasn't enough for Jordan Carroll. Instead, at just 24 years old, he's carving out a career on his own terms and is making $10,000 a month doing it.
The Gen-Z business consultant, who left his full-time corporate role with the Commonwealth Bank and set up LaunchCrew Consulting, said he could now work from home, a café, a hotel or anywhere in the world with an internet connection. And he has the flexibility to work the hours he chooses.
“I knew it was what I wanted to do,” Carroll told Yahoo Finance. “I wasn’t surrounded by people who had done it. I worked for the Commonwealth Bank and I had job security – it was probably the most secure job there is. Taking this leap involved a lot of planning and thinking about it.”
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Now, Carroll offers business planning and market research support.
“I also review people’s business plans and offer marketing plans for people in the business-building space," he said.
The former equity associate has had no shortage of clients worldwide, who he sourced by advertising on freelance platform Fiverr. Carroll put his success – which earns him $10,000 a month – down to a “combination of things”.
“I would say a key aspect was being Australian,” he said. “There aren't a lot of Aussies on the platform, although it’s now picking up a bit and more people from Australia are coming on board.”
After three years in his corporate role, Carroll started to research and saved enough for a six-month “stop gap”, which allowed him to move back to his home town of Tweed Heads and launch his business.
Young workers 'fear burnout' and want flexible jobs
Carroll said many Gen-Zs were focused on flexible career options that also allowed them to travel, rather than climbing a corporate ladder and risking burnout or work-related mental health issues, while the push by bosses to return to offices meant they were looking at ways to work remotely.
“A lot of people talk about it or ‘side hustles’," he said. "A lot of my friends – my carpenter and tradie mates – they are looking for ways to make money on the side.
“Anecdotally, I see a lot of people say, ‘What does the next 40 years have in store? “I think a lot of people my age have given up a bit on the idea of owning their own home. They’ve seen the generation before was going to net the same result.
“My advice would be to find something you enjoy doing and deliver quality work. You can’t do that if you hate the work you’re doing,” Carroll added.
According to Oliver Woolrych, senior community manager of Fiverr, younger Aussies want to earn money on their own terms – thus achieving the elusive ‘work-life balance’ – by throwing the traditional rule book out the third-floor office window.
While freelancing isn't anything new, it is not a typical way to start a career, with many who set up on their own having earned their industry stripes by slogging it out for years in the corporate world.
Gen Z faces 'unique challenges' gaining industry experience
Research by Fiverr found almost half of those aged under 25 would consider freelancing as a way of starting out, while one in 10 were already doing so. In addition, a nationwide survey of 1,000 Australians, in partnership with Censuswide, found 58 per cent planned to start or continue freelancing in 2024.
“A key driver behind this trend is the challenges Gen-Zs are experiencing in securing traditional entry-level roles,” Woolrych told Yahoo Finance.
The pandemic and "streamlining of workforces" had resulted in fewer opportunities for people trying to crack into an industry, he said.
“In parallel, the cost-of-living crisis has made it less feasible to undertake internships and part-time roles, making it harder for them to gain industry experience, which entry-level positions now often require," Woolrych said.
“Freelancing provides Gen Z with an opportunity to build practical experience in their desired industries without sacrificing pay – allowing them to take on projects, create portfolios and develop relevant skills on their terms.”
Business trends showed a growth demand for freelancers in services, ranging from e-commerce and digital content creation to back-office support roles, Woolrych added.
“Gen Z are choosing to reject traditional work norms and are prioritising work-life balance and flexibility,” he said. “Freelancing offers Gen Z the ability to create their schedule, choose their clients and projects, and work from anywhere in the world.
"Plus, with the rise of remote work and the gig economy, there are more opportunities than ever before to build a successful freelance career.”