Freelance culture is booming with the Office of National Statistics reporting 15% of the U.K. workforce is now self-employed. In an economy struggling through a global recession, freelancing gave many workers the opportunity to earn when their full time employment wasn’t dependable. And it’s paid off, becoming less of a quick fix and more a legitimate form of long term employment.
Going it on your own might seem a daunting pivot for your career but it’s a worthwhile one in many ways. Here are five reasons you should consider becoming a freelancer:
Freedom makes freelancers happier
Studies have shown that freelancers are actually happier than those in full time employment. Being able to control your own schedule and what work you take on has been shown to improve the mood of freelance workers. And this increased positivity then makes you more productive.
Notably, freelancing gained huge popularity among new graduates because of “the independence and flexibility on offer”, helping them to create their own place in the job market in a role they enjoy.
Depending on your freelancing industry, you may also have busier and quieter times of year. This can give you the freedom to diversify your work, while learning new skills. For example, having an accountant is important for every business. But many smaller businesses will look to make cost savings by doing what they can in-house, using a freelance and/or contractor accountant in a support role or for important financial checks, such as at the end of the tax year. As a result, a contractor account can expect to be busy around March and April, but experience a quieter period in June.
Less stress means fewer sick days
Between 2014 and 2015, a worrying 40% of all work related illnesses were attributed to stress. Being able to say you are happy at work really can make all the difference to your quality of life, and your ability to do your job to the best of your ability.
While there are plenty of ways to deal with workplace stress, having a job that makes you happy is a surefire way to make sure your mental and physical wellbeing are both kept intact. While a permanent position builds in sick days, they can still be harmful to productivity. As a freelancer, every day is an opportunity and you can make the most of them by having the minimum number of days off due to illness or stress.
You’re in demand because you’re affordable (enough)
Hiring permanent, full time staff requires businesses to make larger financial commitments, such as for yearly wages, pensions and other in-house benefits. This makes it easy for companies of all sizes to appreciate that hiring freelancers on an ad hoc basis instead will cut their spending by a substantial sum.
This can also be an attractive option for small businesses owners because it means that no matter what services are required to keep their company afloat, they won’t have to permanently grow their business before they’re ready.
You’ll be free to play to your strengths
Working with freelancers means that businesses “don’t have to worry about finding someone who is the best in many different areas.” This in turn means that, as a freelancer, you can divide every skill that you’ve gained in your past and/or existing jobs into separate, hireable skills.
For example, if you have industry experience and knowledge of copywriting, then you have the potential to take that skill and market yourself as a freelance copywriter, rather than the business having to hire an in house writer. These hireable skills can be used individually or they can be combined to make you more attractive to potential clients.
Division of your skillset means you’ll be free to play to the industry strengths that you have and select jobs based on the tasks that you enjoy the most. You’ll end up having far more control over what you do and who you do it for.
Brexit could be good for freelancer business
Even though Brexit started causing trouble for the economy within mere hours of the EU Referendum result, “Brexit marks an opportunity”. But is it an opportunity for those working independently?
As the Guardian puts it: “If immigration is reduced then those possessing skills that are in demand will be at a premium. Also, during periods of uncertainty businesses tend to opt for flexibility and this can be good news for freelancers and contractors.”
In addition to that, Brexit could very well lead to the end of “the ever controversial EU rules and regulations that might affect (freelancers) ability to work, like the Agency Workers Regulations.”
When it comes to making your decision about becoming a freelancer, the benefits are obvious. If you find that your company is being negatively affected by Brexit in the months or year to come, all is not lost, for you might very well find that freelancing presents a realistic and satisfying alternative.