Four reasons to go freelance today
Posted May 16th, 10:46
3 min read
On account of the UK’s uncertain economic situation, freelance life is more stressful than ever. Despite this, freelancers are feeling optimistic about their future prospects.
According to a recent survey by the IPSE, freelancers’ confidence in their own business performance has risen for the first time since early 2016, and is now in positive measures. This is, perhaps, surprising, since day rates have dropped to their lowest since 2015, freelancers are frustrated by the government’s ever-changing regulatory and taxation policies, and are, of course, concerned about the impact of Brexit.
However, freelancers are resilient. One of the key findings of a report by the IPSE is that people rate skill development and having a sense of purpose as more important for their career progression than having a higher salary.
We asked four freelancers about their motivations and why they prefer to go it alone.
Get outside your comfort zone
Freelancing has always appealed to me. In previous jobs, I always felt frustrated by the fixed role that I found myself in – I was there to perform a specific set of tasks, and rarely had the chance to do things outside my comfort zone.
Since turning self-employed two years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to develop skills beyond what I might otherwise encounter as an employee.
Pitching for client work, pricing my services and even doing my own tax return are all things I never got to experience while working for someone else.
Others might see those things as a distraction from what they’re best at, but I enjoy the variety that comes with running a freelance business; you learn so much from having to do it all yourself.
The freedom and flexibility you have as a freelancer is another massive advantage. I started out as a journalist, but have since expanded my services to cover online marketing and social media – two specialisms that businesses need more than ever in today’s digitally-obsessed world. Being able to adapt my offering based on what people need is ultimately why I’ve been able to survive as a freelancer.
Matt Ayres, copywriter and content marketer
Escape office politics
There were several reasons why freelance life appealed to me, but escaping the office environment was a major one.
Even if you’re not caught up in it yourself, being surrounded by office politics, bureaucracy and sycophantic behaviour five days a week can become exhausting.
Being your own boss means you can avoid it all, and just focus on doing a good job while building relationships with people who share the same values and traits.
Victoria Cao, Stray Pixel
Choose your own work
An important part of me deciding to go freelance was being able to choose my own clients and projects. I wanted to be a free-range human: doing work that excited me; work with purpose and meaning, work that developed my skills and knowledge.
Of course, when I woke up on the first Monday morning of my freelance life reality hit – I needed to make money to pay the bills!
I was scared of turning down paid work in favour of taking unpaid time to build my own client base and pitch for work that excited me so I said yes to everything.
That meant I often ended up doing work I could do (and do well, I might add!) but didn’t necessarily want to do. But that was then.
Now, more than two years into my freelance career, I feel much more comfortable exercising my freedom to choose my own clients and projects.
For example, I specialise in writing about all things money-related because I believe in financial wellbeing. So, when the opportunity came up to write for a top money website I went for it. Now, connected to that work, I’m in discussions about a financial education project for young people. Freelancing has given me the freedom to work on projects that matter to me.
Talia Loderick, freelance journalist and copywriter
I went freelance four years ago after working in-house as an image retoucher and photographer for a major fashion brand. There were a few things I disliked about the 9-5 that pushed me to leave after 12 months there.
The rigidness of the working day – 9-5, all day every day – made me feel trapped and bored, and I hated the hour-long commute to and from work.
Since going freelance I’ve spent months working from different countries, making contacts abroad and working with people across the world. Now I split my time between London and Wales, working where I want when I want – I can’t imagine going back to working in one place!
Ryan Bater, freelance photographer
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