The Office of National Statistics found that the level of self-employment in the UK increased from 3.8 million in 2008 to 4.6 million in 2015.
Freelancing is often seen by the traditional workforce as some kind of Eden. A paradise, available to a select few, with lie-ins every day, set in the interior of your local bare-walled coffee shop. But is freelancing really the utopic vision that the traditional workforce perceives?
Of course not. In fact, freelancing can be harder since your income is never stable – freelancers have to have a continuous pipeline of work otherwise they could find themselves short at the end of the month.
So, what makes a good freelancer? If you’re hoping to get into freelancing, these skills are essential:
To be a successful freelancer, you have to be a natural networker – after all, that’s how you’ll find your work! Attending events on your particular skillset, as well as participating in online communities, will help you find new clients that will keep your pipeline full. If you’re the type of person who hates talking about themselves, then freelancing may not be the route for you.
As a freelancer, the level of responsibility that you have can be a big jump – especially if you’re used to working as part of a team. That’s why organisation is key and is probably the thing that makes or breaks most freelancers. Not only do you have to know exactly when your different projects are due, but you also have to be organised enough to know exactly how long different tasks will take to ensure you’re managing your time effectively.
Just because you don’t have to be in an office, doesn’t mean that you get to slack off – that’s probably the biggest misconception about freelancing. Most freelancers start their days at 9am regardless of what hours they’re contracted to. In order to freelance successfully, you can’t fall into the trap of saying “i’ll do it tomorrow” everyday. If you’re thinking of transitioning into a freelance role then why not try working a few days from home to see if you can still discipline yourself to get things done?
Not only do you have to be able to sell your skills to potential clients but you also have to negotiate your price. If the thought of asking for a pay-rise makes you feel a little queasy, then the life of a freelancer could be challenging for you. You need to know exactly how much your work is worth, and if you can’t negotiate a price that suits both you and your client, you’ll lose work.