Do you want to join the freelancers club because you think you will be able to take holidays whenever you want to, earn more and work at your own pace? Think again! If after reading the post below you still want to become a freelancer, then you should definitely go for it! It is very rewarding and a good opportunity to expore your passion.
It is a common opinion that freelancing is, in fact, a lifestyle choice and this is true to some extent a applies to a number of professions.
We usually find ourselves not taken very seriously and explaining that we actually DO work to our friends and family more often than not. They think we spend the day at home in our pijamas typing a few words between taking care of the housework.
The truth is that freelancing has become an important method of employment in the UK, not only as a result of the recession but as the wonderful platform the internet provides for new businesses. Freelancing gives people the opportunity to go solo, to follow and explore their passions and take control of their workload.
However, before deciding to become one of them, it is important to understand the realities of freelancing and to blow apart well trodden myths.
Myth 1: FREELANCING IS EASIER THAN HAVING A FULL TIME JOB
The picture my friends and family have about my wandering around the house the whole day in pijamas does NOT actually reflect my reality. And probably that of the 99.9% of the freelancers either.
Freelancing means running a business on your own which comes with a lot of responsibility, including tax compliance, marketing, project management, invoicing, customer service, etc. Oh, and on top of all that you also have to do your work, the one clients pay you to do!
No one chooses freelancing because it's easy.
Myth 2: FREELANCING IS NOT A "REAL" JOB
It is assumed very often that people go into freelancing because they can't find any other job to do. But it is a minority those who go freelance for this reason.
Research from "Global Entrepreneurship Monitor" shows that the level of "opportunity" entrepreneurship (where people start up to make the most of a good idea) is almost five times higher than the level of "necessity" entrepreneurship.
Therefore, most freelancers are not so out of desperation.
Myth 3: FREELANCERS TAKE LOTS OF HOLIDAYS
This is a common misunderstanding of the true meaning of the word freelancing. Many become beguiled by the use of the word "free" at the beginning of freelancing and believe that it means you can be free from work whenever you feel like having some fun. Sadly, freelancers do not receive holiday pay and any time we take a break, we will lose out financially.
Of course, freelancing has the benefit of flexibility and many professions allow you to work from pretty much anywhere, as I do. However, that usually means that you work from literally anywhere! Regardless of whether you are on holidays, visiting your cousin in France or spending a weekend off in Brighton.
In fact, statistically freelancers take less holidays than those in employment because they are afraid they will lose clients if they take a break. It is also harder to draw the line between work and life and that's why you need to be VERY organised if you want to become a freelancer... or your life will end up being a tangled mess of working hours.
Myth 4: FREELANCERS EARN MORE
While it is true that if you organise your working day very carefully, you have more control over your working hours, this does not mean that freelancers earn more. In fact, research by the RSA has shown that we actually earn less. The pay-cut is particularly pertinent for self-employed women who take home an average of 40% less than men.
Without government incentives to increase financial support for the self-employed (particularly for self-employed women on maternity leave), many will strugle to have a family and may give up on their business altogether.
I can think of many more myths but I hear the ones above over and over again so, if you are thinking about joining the club, welcome aboard! It is rewarding to be able to make a living out of something that you really enjoy doing but think twice about going for it, it isn't a bowl of cherries!