The ONS in the UK states that there are now roughly 4.8 million people in self-employment. This means that 15.1% of the labour force are now working in self employment in the UK.
“The rapid growth of self-employment has been a pronounced feature of the UK labour market in recent years. The number of self-employed increased from 3.3 million people (12.0% of the labour force) in 2001 to 4.8 million (15.1% of the labour force) in 2017. Recent studies of this phenomenon have examined the characteristics of the self-employed (for example, Amankwah and Wales (2016), Tomlinson and Corlett (2017)) but have largely sidestepped the income of the self-employed.
How to Become a freelancer
If you are an expert in your industry or a recent graduate, becoming a freelancer will enable you to have a better work life balance and will put you in control of your career.
Many people decide to become freelancers as they can follow their passion with their work. Freelance Photography, Freelance writers, or Freelancing online is become increasingly common now.
Going freelance is often seen as a risky option to a 9-5 job, but for many people, once they have started the freelance route they will never go back. Working on your own schedule doing something that you enjoy doing is always going to be the best choice for those who need flexibility in their working schedule.
Are you thinking of going freelance? We have put together a checklist for people thinking of going freelance.
1. Maintain Discipline at all times
In order to become a successful freelancer you will need to discipline yourself. In everyday 9-5 jobs you are told what to do by your boss and your company. With freelance work you don’t have anyone doing that. At first this may seem like a dream, but you need to remember that you are more at risk in the early years of freelancing and you need to be giving your work 110% more that your old day job.
2. Get clients and how to get them
It sounds obvious, but if you are considering going freelance right now, do you have any clients lined up? If the answer is “no”, then you need to start thinking about getting some!
Part of the process of being a freelancer is the process of finding your own clients.
How do I find my clients?
In an ideal situation you would leave your job with a contract of some sort with a client prepared for when you become freelance. This scenario however isn’t always the case and it can be tricky to find clients. A lot of freelancers use sites such as Linkedin
to manually find clients or decision makers. Linkedin can be an incredibly useful tool for finding potential clients, but it also is worth looking at other professional sites as there may be less competition.
Luckily there are many freelance sites now available that now enable you to get clients very quickly.
The best freelancer sites will be listed below.
Other ways to get Clients
i) P2P recommendations and word of mouth
If other people hear from your existing clients that you are a great person to work with you are likely to get recommended for more work. Personal recommendations are very important for local businesses. If you are creating great work for your existing clients, then you are likely to win more clients through personal recommendations.
ii) Market yourself professionally online
Do you have a website? Do you have social media accounts? Are they up to date? These are the types of questions that you should be asking yourself when you take the steps to becoming a freelancer or self employed. You have to put yourself in your client’s shoes and understand that they will make decisions based on these aspects. Ensuring you have a portfolio of your work on your website is very important to give clients an idea of what services you can provide for them. These days a lot of people do their research through Google and
iii) Network in Person (Or via video call)
For 2020 it was hard to meet in person at all due to the global pandemic, but the flipside of this is that video calling has become a lot more common and now is considered part of normal business. Devices such as the Facebook Portal allow you to contact people on WebEx, Zoom and through other methods making it a catch-all solution for video calling. Ensure you are aware of the major video calling products and be available for a call on anyone of them, or why not be proactive and suggest a quick video call.
iii) Establish yourself as an expert
This comes with the marketing of yourself, whether this is through your website your social media, in person or all three. You need to establish yourself as an expert in the field otherwise clients will not take you seriously and will go to your competitors.
3. Register for Tax with HMRC
If you start working for yourself, you’re classed as a sole trader. This means you’re self-employed - even if you haven’t yet told HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
You will need to register with HMRC early on and is an essential part of going freelance. Luckily everything is easy to manage these days through the HMRC website. It pays to have all your documents for HMRC easy to access.
Registering as self employed
Insurance is definitely something to consider when you make the move to becoming a freelancer.