Working in a permanent full-time role isn’t a right fit for everyone.
Whether it’s the systematic hours and lack of flexibility around other commitments that frustrate you, or even the idea of always working under someone, there are plenty of reasons to want to ‘go it alone’.
Freelancing gives you the flexibility to be your own boss and work when you want. However, it does carry a few negatives too.
The reality is, it takes a very special kind of person to become a successful freelancer.
Here’s everything you need to know before you take the ‘leap of faith’.
What is freelance work?
To freelance, you are technically self-employed and are often working on a flexible basis for one or more businesses.
Freelance work can range from block booking contract roles to one-off ad-hoc projects.
In the graphic design and copywriter industry, you are required to provide businesses with a day rate if they require you for longer periods or an hourly rate for smaller pieces of work.
If you’re unsure on how much to charge, take a look at this article by The Guardian.
And then there’s the matter of whether you work onsite or remote in some industries.
Typically, a lot of London-based freelancers often work onsite, as they can charge a day rate and the work is very common.
However, if you’re living in a remote location, a lot of freelancers decide to work remotely.
This option does then require a certain skill set, marketing know-how and connections to form strong relationships with local business owners. Naturally, this can take time, so it’s worth considering before committing to the freelance world.
One common method to build-up contacts is to go networking. The British Chambers of Commerce offer plenty of local events around the UK.
What professions can you freelance in?
In theory, a lot of industries will have a requirement for a freelancer. But the areas you are more likely to find a greater requirement is in:
- Bookkeeping and accounting
- Photography and videography
- Graphic design
To find current freelance job openings, you should start using the search bar on LinkedIn.
You can find out how to make a super appealing profile in one of our last blogs.
Job boards and specialist freelance websites like Upwork, Freelancer and Peopleperhour are also great.
The pros of becoming a freelancer
To become a freelancer you’ll soon start to realise how quick and easy it is to get started. You no longer have to cater to others in a business or sit in pointless ‘meetings about meetings’.
You’re your own boss and can work whenever you want. If you don’t like the sound of a project, you can turn it down and unlike working for one company, you’ll be able to take on a wider variety of work.
No day is the same with freelancing, so if you are a free-spirited, ‘live for the moment’ kind of person, this might just suit your personality.
If you don’t mind being on the go 24/7 and always keeping yourself busy, freelancing will certainly help you do that. Although this might not suit someone with a lot of responsibilities as it can cause stress and make it hard for you to shut off while you’re away from work.
The cons of becoming a freelancer
The biggest challenge when it comes to freelancing is motivating yourself and staying positive.
Work doesn’t always grow on trees, so it’s important to not only savour the moments when you’re busy, but to actually enjoy the times you have a bit more of it on your hands.
Financially, you should always put money away and learn the basics of accounting.
In essence, becoming your own boss means you are an accountant, marketer, businessman or woman, entrepreneur and salesperson. That’s a lot to think about if you aren’t really into the whole ‘being organised’ thing.
You also have to have thick skin and accept that businesses and recruiters will say “no” (or nothing at all) to you. That’s why you have to be proactive and forward thinking. Always have your mind on finding your next gig.
Unfortunately, there are cases where a business is late on a payment or doesn’t settle your invoice altogether.
This is where it’s important to either get them to pay 50% upfront, sign a contract or agree not to release the work until it’s finished.
The main thing to remember is to consider how it’ll impact your life (including getting a mortgage) and if it suits your lifestyle and personality.
If you think freelancing is up your street, you should try to get everything set up before you launch. This includes a website, contracts, invoice templates and an overall strategy of how you are going to target work.
If you don’t, you may find yourself chasing your tail – especially if you get inundated with work straightaway.
For more candidate tips and advice, subscribe to our blog today.