Why do I think they'll be at the forefront should the economic situation worsen? It comes down to mindset. Here are some ways their mindset differs:
Generally, today's freelancers always look to improve their coping strategies and embrace uncertainty. They don't know when they'll get their next project, or how they'll make rent in a few months, but they know they'll "figure it out".
They're open to trying new things, different types of projects, new kinds of clients and varying ways of working. They're self-assured and commit to being dynamic.
This is in contrast to the traditional view of full-time employed professionals that are dependent on structure, stability and predictability.
Freelancers are incredibly resourceful. Working for yourself brings freedom. I know of many freelancers that have delayed moving out of their parents house.
Others are cost-sharing with friends, and some even live on a remote island with just a 3G connection. They work out of coffee shops, under bunk-beds, on the kitchen table and even the train.
There are no rules for what they need to do to get the job done.
###An Entreprenurial approach
Freelancing is a great way to take baby steps towards entrepreneurship. There are many ways freelancers take an entrepreneurial approach to their career.
They experiment with multiple sources of income. Some sell stock from China on eBay, others do writing or speaking engagements and some resell other companies products to generate side income. There are no limits.
Just like their Entrepreneurial counterparts they keep a tight grip on their expenses, and learn to better manage their cashflow. They monitor their finances and understand how tax laws affect them to legitimately make the most of their earnings.
Self-promotion and marketing is a primary concern for freelancers. The best freelancers learn how to actively create opportunities. They're smart about how they network and they always nurture relationships for the long term.
Pricing strategies help freelancers find ways of maximising their income per engagement. Many freelancers are experimenting with various ways of charging for their work and varying rates. It's a fine balance of value, worth and pricing models.
###They have fun
When you have fun, work doesn't feel like work. When you're inspired, you do great work. The biggest difference between those in full-time employment and Freelancers is that Freelancers mostly love what they do. They do work on their own terms, are free to choose and fire clients, pride themselves on excellence and always seek client satisfaction - the first rule of business.
It's not all sunshine and picnics. There are just as many freelancers that work less hours, do inspired work and earn a handsome income as there are those that struggle to find new clients and crave the financial stability of a regular job.
Still… those that learn to cope will most certainly rule tomorrow.