Are you thinking of taking the plunge into becoming a freelancer? You are certainly not alone as freelancing has been recognised as an increasingly attractive option for UK workers. The freelance economy has grown by 25 per cent since the year 2009 and the turnover is an estimated £109 billion a year.
There are significant benefits which include deciding which clients you work with and being able to maintain a more flexible work schedule. The role of work life balance has certainly been improved through the growth of freelancing.
The role of freelancers can add huge value to an organisation, allowing companies to make use of part-time staff and help with the workload. In fact, more than 30% of employees at Google and ASOS are considered to be freelancers.
For reference, here are some common jobs associated with freelancing:
- Article Writing
- Video/Music Editor and Producer
- Content Creator
- Graphic Design
- Proof Reading
- Social Media
- Date Analyst
- Make-up Artistry
Initial steps when going into freelance
When taking steps into going freelance, you will need to prepare for your new given freedom and what you want out of it. Is this going to become your full-time job? Or will you be keeping your day job, and doing a bit of freelance in the evenings to increase your income?
If you are considering leaving your job to pursue freelancing, you need to list all the commitments and financial responsibilities which are non-negotiable at present. While freelancing offers a lot of positives, it does not always deliver on the certainty front – so consider whether you would still be able to afford these commitments. One needs to be prepared for slow months or if work dries up, especially around the Christmas period. So having extra savings available can be vital to maintain your current quality of life.
Get your pricing right
As a freelancer, you have to find the sweet spot in terms of what you can charge. A day rate as a freelancer is typically higher than the average employee because firms appreciate that it is usually short-term and does not provide the cushion of full-time employment. You can find the right day rate for you by speaking to other people and freelancers in your industry and getting a feel of what they charge. You also want to put yourself in a position to gradually increase this year-on-year so you raise your income as you get more experience.
Based on supply and demand, you may find times where you can charge more for your services. For instance, if someone is urgently looking for freelancers with your skill set and need someone last minute, you can potentially increase your rate. Similarly, around busy times of year and where there is a higher demand, you may be able to charge more around Christmas, Black Friday, special birthdays and weddings.
Work out what your routine will be
Some see freelancing as an opportunity to stay in their pyjamas all day and lounge about whilst working. However, it goes without saying, that this is not going to help with productivity or getting into good working habits.
To help you out, set your working hours (9am-5pm for example) and stick to them. Get up and get dressed as if you were going into an office, although your attire does not have to match this in terms of wearing a suit or a smart dress. Be sure to work in a clean and tidy environment, preferably at a desk or table.
Having a good working routine will create a better mental state to get the optimum amount of work done. Structure is essential when you are a freelancer.
How to get freelancing work
It’s true, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know – so they say! In any industry, networking is a great way to build up your career. When starting freelancing, it is worth considering connecting with your personal connections and/or previous clients – this may help you to get off the ground. Even if the people you directly know are not in need of your services, they may be able to put you in contact with people who may be interested in you and your work.
Make use of networking events that happen near where you live. Joining your local Chamber of Commerce can help you meet like-minded individuals and small businesses. Other networking events are posted on the likes of Eventbrite and Meetup where you can just attend and pay a small entrance fee.
The world of social media is full of endless possibilities. If you advertise yourself or follow freelancing accounts on social media outlets, you are far more likely to connect with a more global audience, and a larger domestic audience as well. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are your best bets for this type of success.
There is no harm in putting yourself out there, writing something like “Is anyone interested in a copywriting freelancer? Feel free to tag below or message me.”
You will find that your connections and close circle of friends will always be eager to help you out – and this can potentially open you up to hundreds of their connections too. It is valuable to position yourself as an industry expert on social media by regularly posting what you are up to and sharing useful guides and information. This will make people remember you for your speciality and recommend you in the future.
There are plenty of websites which are dedicated to helping you find your feet in the freelancing world.
Upwork is one of the largest job sites for freelancers in the entire world, boasting an impressive 1.5 million clients on their system. The large amount of clients, however, can have its pros and cons. The variety of jobs available across of all the different sectors can be great for opportunities – both long-term and short-term. However, the huge number of clients can mean that the competition is rather strong.
Another site, PeoplePerHour allows you to easily and quickly search for jobs which are up for immediate start. This site is similar to Upwork in terms of a large variety of opportunities in different sectors to suit you.
You may wish to get freelance work through the help of an agency. This way, you will have to pay a referral fee to the agency, but you may see fantastic results. This may be a great way to take off in your career as a freelancer and really start building up your contacts. When you feel satisfied, you can always decide to go it alone (without the help of an agency).
In addition, consider partnering with agencies in your speciality. Whether it is digital marketing, translation or babysitting, they are likely to have several leads on the go and might be looking for someone to pass these referrals onto, especially if you have good availability, references and are flexible with pricing. By speaking to several companies in your industry that are located nearby, you will be able to ensure a regular flow of work coming through.
Uncle Buck is a leading payday loans company in the UK which is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. We are always looking for good people to be part of our team. For more information, visit our careers page.