Few people consider a job to be for life anymore, they prefer to move from company to company and change their role every two to four years. However, others are thinking of the long-term and are keen to do just one kind of job for the rest of their working life. The difference is that they are not working for one person, but a whole host of employers. They have decided, in short, to go freelance.
Freelancing is when a self-employed individual invoices their clients directly, administering their own tax and National Insurance affairs. Most freelancers work on a ‘gig’ basis, a gig being one project for one client. Some clients provide more than one task and are repeat customers; other clients offer only a one-off project. This means that while the freelancer is providing a very specific service, it is likely that no two projects, and therefore no two days, are the same.
Individuals usually start freelancing for one of two main reasons; out of necessity because they have lost their job and cannot get another, or out of choice, because they are fed up with the daily grind and want the freedom that comes with being one’s own boss. Whatever the reason, being a freelancer is rarely easy but is often very worthwhile. The burden of running and growing a business can be a trial, from marketing work to gain clients, to ensuring you are paying your tax on time. Being a freelancer can be a challenge.
So, where are the best freelance opportunities? Well, recent studies have revealed that writers in particular can certainly make a career out of freelancing. Writing includes copywriting, where freelancers create work such as website copy, articles and blogs, as well as more traditional forms of writing, such as journalism. Journalists, such as Alison O’Riordan, need no longer be tied to a specific newspaper group and contracted to write only for their publications. To use Ms O’Riordan as an example of how a journalist can experience success as a freelancer, she is able to choose the news stories that are of interest to her, whether that be politics, crime or whatever, then pitch them to the news agency of her choice.
Graphic design is also promising for the freelancer. With so much business being conducted both in print and online these days, the opportunities are enormous for a graphic designer to come up with stunning websites and graphics. If you are a programmer, you will also be in high demand as a freelancer, required to create apps and other digital products. Smart technology is also providing opportunities for freelance electrical engineers, while businesses that can be run from one computer in a spare bedroom means that outsourcing certain tasks to freelance secretarial-style assistants is also booming.
Anyone who can put up with the pressure of working for themselves can make it as a freelancer, so much so that you will probably never want to work for someone else ever again.