Going Freelance - Feel the fear & do it anyway!

Autonomy & Flexibility

One of the biggest perks of being a freelancer, is the fact that you are in charge of your own destiny.  You can choose your hours, working week, where you will work…even how much money you will get out of bed for each day!

On the flip side of this flexibility, is the fact that people often site freelance as having a lack of job security.  Whilst I would agree to some degree, as let’s face it as a freelancer your work is not guaranteed, & yes, you have to be far more proactive to ensure a steady stream of freelance work comes your way.  It is also true however, that in reality no job lasts forever – and with the current political climate being what it is, you could argue that ‘permanent’ jobs are less secure than ever.  So…this could be the perfect time to take the plunge and finally go freelance after years of sitting on the fence!

Getting set-up

Setting yourself up as an independent freelancer has never been easier.  This is thanks to the extensive availability of information & competitive payroll service providers, who are falling over themselves to help you in your quest to become self-sufficient.  Whilst there are numerous options open to you, from Umbrella through to Limited Company, it is important to choose a provider who is fully compliant and meets HMRC strict standards.

It is also important that you work through a recruitment agency that is completely compliant, as they will be able to give you best practise advice on payroll options.  Your primary focus should be on securing lucrative freelance bookings, feeling safe in the knowledge that you will keep as much of your hard earned cash as possible, whilst paying the correct amount of tax.  To ensure your chosen recruitment agencies are compliant, you should confirm that they are registered with a recruitment specific membership body, such as APSCo or similar.

Financial Security

Understandably, a key concern for prospective professional freelancers is the lack of financial security.  As mentioned, it’s impossible to deny that this does come as part of the freelance package, however to compensate for this is the fact that freelancers on average earn at least 30% more than their permanent counterparts.  You must allow yourself some time before taking the plunge, to build up a network of direct clients & good recruitment agency contacts. 

Getting accessible references from your last permanent position will put you ahead of the game.  For creative candidates, having a strong online portfolio of work is imperative – and this should be ready before you start knocking on doors for work.  The freelance market is so competitive that you must put yourself in the best position possible, before leaving your permanent role.  Be as flexible as you can with new clients without compromising yourself - as those that go above & beyond will always be remembered & rebooked!  We also suggest that you allow yourself a financial buffer, that you keep carefully stashed away, just in case you have some dryer periods with less bookings. This will ease any possible anxiety related to being able to pay your bills!

Beat the Political & Economic Instability

With the recent Brexit outcome, understandably some of you may question the wisdom of going freelance in today’s current political & economic climate.  However, truth be told, the freelance market usually booms during these periods. Reason being that many companies, when faced with an uncertain economy, will immediately clamp down on the hiring of permanent staff, invoking permanent headcount & recruitment freezes. This rarely, if ever, effects the freelance side of the business, and the only way they can continue to meet deadlines is to ramp up on the freelance hires.

Expand your network & skill-set

One of the best things about freelancing, and something we hear over & over again from our guys, is that they love having the opportunity to work across multiple clients.  Having access to a range of work and multiple brands, allows them to broaden their skill-set & market knowledge.  This makes freelancers even more employable in the long run.  Not only this, but every booking is different meaning work can seem more exciting!  Lastly, having the flexibility of freelance, means that you are likely to be able to fit in your own personal projects to complement your portfolio.

Even with all these points in mind, we completely appreciate that taking that final freelance plunge can be an overly daunting prospect. Our specialist freelance team are committed to pairing like-minds so would be happy to talk things through with you if you would like to discuss the possibility of freelancing.

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