Have you ever thought about packing in your nine-to-five and setting yourself up as a freelancer? It’s an idea that many of us toy with when frustration with our work environment begins to get us down, but is it a viable alternative to a regular job? Here at CareerFoundry we know that it is.
Has Sharon in HR refused to give you the holiday dates you wanted? Has Kevin from Accounting taken your favourite mug from the kitchen again? Office life - and office politics - can make a boring job a terrible one. But on a more serious note, pressures of an office environment have led more and more people to the conclusion that working for themselves is a more viable and financially lucrative option.
But what other advantages are there to having your own clients, rather than a regular employment contract with one firm? And do the benefits of being a freelancer outweigh the risks involved in working for yourself? There is also the question of how to find work and the uncertainties associated with living off an irregular income. At CareerFoundry we not only work with freelancers ourselves, but we provide each student with the right skillset, contacts and motivations to be fully prepared to go freelance on completion of their course. We believe that with the right training and network, working for yourself can be the most rewarding kind of working lifestyle there is, filled with variety, exciting opportunities, flexibility and freedom.
Like all career changes, going freelance does involve risk, but the range of rewards can be huge. In this special series on freelancing we’ll be addressing all angles of the freelance lifestyle and how to make it work for you. In today’s post we’re starting with the good stuff; the advantages. Have a look at the list below and see what awaits you once you’ve made that career change.
1.) Freedom - As a freelancer, you can choose the clients you want to work with and the types of projects on which you work, particularly if you have an excess of work. If you find you have too much to do you can drop high maintenance or slow-paying clients or turn down less interesting projects at will. Not only do you have the freedom to choose who you work with, you are also physically more free: no more being chained to a desk in an office on the 5th floor - you can work wherever you like, be that in your bed, in a coffee shop or in the park.
2.) Autonomy - Freelancers are highly autonomous. When you own the business, you generally don’t have to answer to anybody (other than your clients) and you are free to operate on your own terms, at your own hours and at the rates you establish. This could mean finishing early to watch a football match, taking a Friday off for a weekend away with friends or spontaneously extending that Christmas break.
3.) Work-life balance - Because you can work from home or from a cafe, or from wherever really, as a freelancer you often have a better work-life balance. You can spend more time with your children, friends or the dog and steal moments to relax and do the things you love. No more traffic jams on the way to work, no more queuing up in the mornings for a train ticket.
4.) Higher salary, less expenses - If you want to charge more, you can do it. If you feel you’re not making enough per hour, change your hourly rate, or charge per project. No more asking your boss for a raise. With no travel costs, smart work clothes or daily bought lunches, as a freelancer you save a lot of money too.
5.) You learn every aspect of running a business - Being a freelancer will help you learn how to manage money and also keep up with your financial paperwork. You will be the salesperson, administrator, bookkeeper and project manager on top of the work you’re actually being paid to do. Learning these skills may be hard work, but they will be a great addition to your portfolio.
We’ll be continuing this series over the next month looking at other aspects of the freelance lifestyle, including how to find work and improve your network when working freelance. If going freelance in tech is something that interests you, head over to the CareerFoundry site and take a look at our fantastic Web Development and UX Design courses and begin working freelance in tech in just three months.