Life of a freelancer: common misconceptions

9th April 2017

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It’s been great news of late for the freelance community with it being reported more companies keen to hire freelancers, and that self-employed figures are on the up and predicted to represent 50% of the UK workforce by 2020. Naturally with this piece of news, it’s also been reported that more workers in full-time employment are now seeing the attraction in freelance working and seeing it as an exciting movement to be part of. There’s now less fear attached to the idea of freelancing and workers are now more assured over their concerns regarding the lack of security freelancing holds.

The many benefits you can reap from freelancing are the driving factors in the continued upsurge in freelancer numbers. Despite opinions on entering the freelance industry becoming more positive, there still needs to be that degree of caution when approaching the idea. For all of the tremendous positives surrounding the life of a freelancer, it isn’t all plain sailing in choosing to become one. Tough challenges will lay ahead but the end results will be worth it.

When thinking of becoming a freelancer, it’s important not to be too swayed by these common misconceptions…

Never a bad day

Working as a full time employee, you’re always likely to get that feeling of gloom once in a while. Whether it’s a Blue Monday, the eternal struggle to get out of bed in the morning, or just a bad day in general; there’ll always be the occasional day where you wish you’d be some place else rather than in the office doing the 9 to 5.  

This feeling is what motivates a lot of people to make that change to freelance. But be warned, freelancers are still known to have those one off days where morale dips and they feel slightly low. This could be down to lack of work, a prospective project they’ve put themselves forward for falling through, or maybe just lacking motivation for that day.

Your days as a freelancer can be rosy, but you need to be prepared to take the rough with the smooth and understand not every day is the same and hard work is required. Which brings us on to the next point…

It’s easy

Quite the contrary. Working as a freelancer is still working but just in a different context. The same level of commitment, passion, and hard work that one would put into full-time employment, is still required for freelancing. Being a freelancer comes down to attitude and applying yourself correctly.

With flexible or remote working being a nice perk for freelancers, a freelancer still needs to treat their days like any other work day and approach it with discipline and professionalism.

Not forgetting freelancers need to promote themselves and their services, that is another layer of work that freelancers have to contend with and that is no easy task by itself.

Freelancers, just like full-time workers, have to work hard. Of course the benefits that come with it are great, but nothing comes to anyone easily.

Always financially comfortable

Given freelancers’ unique tax status, it’s commonly perceived that self-employed workers like contractors and freelancers are always financially comfortable. Yes, it’s true there is huge financial benefit to becoming a freelancer and you can enjoy longer periods of time off because of this. Going freelance however is in no way a 100% guarantee of financial stability.

One of the drawbacks of working as a freelancer is not having that security of knowing where your next pay cheque is coming from. Although you may have been kindly rewarded by your last contract, as a freelancer you do not know what lies beyond that and where your next project is coming from.

Having those emergency funds in place to fall back on are key as you’ll discover, that as a freelancer you may be dealing with quiet times now and again and seeing no money come in.

You’re always free

Choosing your own hours and benefiting from a positive work life balance is one of freelancing’s biggest plus points. As a freelancer you can take better control of your life and forge your own path. Some view this as having the freedom to go wherever and do whatever you want, and approach your work however you want. This is far from the truth.

As a freelancer, you may think that given your line of work, you’l be able to drop everything at a moment’s notice and, say for example, meet a friend for lunch or coffee and take two hours out of your working day. Not to say that this is impossible, but be prepared for the consequences of your actions. You are at the end of the day responsible for your workload and will have projects to deliver with timelines attached to them – will taking a two hour lunch break impact the completion of these projects?

Freelancing will allow you a certain level of autonomy but you must act responsibly and manage your time accordingly.

Working as a freelancer does offer a new working way of life that can reap many benefits for a person, but be prepared for the level of work required to make it a successful venture.

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