So let me guess, if you’re interested in reading this you may be in one of the following places:
a) you absolutely hate your job
b) you’ve been made redundant
c) you’ve resigned
d) you are looking for more flexibility
You may even be a seasoned freelancer who understands very well the five reasons to go freelance already!
According to reports, there are 42 million freelancers in the US and 1.4 million in the UK and these numbers are growing.
Employers see it as a way to avoid paying national insurance, healthcare and pensions not to mention the headaches of having to motivate a full-time workforce.
But what are the top reasons to go freelance? Here are my top five:
No office politics
For those of us who are long in the tooth and too old to bother about who’s sucking up to the boss to get his/her next promotion, freelancing is a breath of fresh air when it comes to having to navigate the political environment of an organisation.
You just don’t bother engaging. No need. No bollocks, no power games, no demeaning, bullying, hijacking, underhandedness or competitive behaviour. It’s refreshing to just go to the office, get on with what you need to do and then go home knowing you don’t have a permanent tie to the ‘characters’ you happen to share an office with temporarily.
Spreading the risk
If you take time to develop your pipeline of clients, then you are spreading your risk of unemployment by having several, rather than one employer.
Contrary to what some people believe, if you are a full-time employee then you are putting all your eggs in one basket and if you no longer suit the role or you become dissatisfied with your current employer, you don’t have other clients/employers to fall back on.
This causes a time lag between wanting to quit and finding the right opportunity to jump to before you quit.
In fact it’s always advisable to keep networking even when you sign up for a long term freelance contract as before you know it the time will come to say goodbye and you may not have any other project to go to.
More control of your time
This one is a little tricky as it’s not strictly true that you can control your time. If you sign up for a 6 or 12 month contract it might be very difficult to control your time.
If you manage to cultivate enough potential client contacts (through networking and keeping in contact with people) you should be aiming to have a steady stream of enquiries so that when you decide the time is right for taking time off, you can do so in the knowledge that you will have other opportunities to come back to.
Always keep your clients abreast of what your plans are so that when you do decide to take on another freelance assignment everyone knows when you will be available again and can contact you.
People are pleased to see you
The nature of freelancing is very fluid and ‘last minute’. Employers will generally contact freelancers at the eleventh hour to fill an assignment which they have not been able to cover with permanent staff.
Therefore, you are usually covering for a busy and often stressful situation and people are generally quite pleased to have an extra pair of hands. This can be great to make you feel welcome.
A sense of control
Again, it’s unwise to think freelancing is without its pitfalls but when work is steady and fulfils your needs, the sense of control of your life can be exhilarating.
If you couldn’t imagine yourself working full time and stumble across an assignment that you don’t particularly enjoy, there is nothing more comforting than knowing that it won’t last forever and that you will soon be free to pursue other opportunities.
Finally, a word of advice. If you haven’t yet ventured into the world of freelancing but fancy going down that road, do lots of investigating beforehand to find out how active the market is, how many people are freelancing at your level in your industry and always always have enough money to cover at least a few months of not earning anything.
The most important thing you can do is develop a good reputation for yourself. This means you must consistently add value to your clients so that they will call you back and also give you a good reference.
If you get into the swing of freelancing, you may decide to take it a step further and develop your own business idea e.g. joining forces with someone else in your industry to create a company.
Or you may find that through freelancing you end up working for a client who offers you a full time job and you decide to take it having ‘tried’ before you’ve bought.
Please let me know what your reasons are to go freelance by leaving a comment in the box below.