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Thinking of going freelance? Here’s 8 things you should consider

16 Jul 2021

Making the transition from company employee to freelancer can be daunting, but if you’ve always dreamed of taking the plunge there’s plenty of sound advice to follow.

There are lots of reasons to go freelance, especially at the moment when different models of working are becoming increasingly popular thanks to technological advances.

Freelancing can offer workers increased autonomy, which suits people who work in tech and the creative industries where the practice is more common.

A 2018 study by consultancy firm Eden McCallum and London Business School found that freelancing cut the gender pay gap from 30pc to 3pc. This finding would suggest that freelancing is an attractive option to parents who wish to avail of the greater flexibility and independence offered by this mode of working.

The main reason most people are wary of making the transition to full-time freelancer is money. They are concerned their income will suffer if they leave the safety net of an outside employer behind.

But, while freelancing can be risky, particularly when starting out, if done properly it does end up benefiting people in a lot of cases.

If you know your market and you have the wherewithal to create your own opportunities – in other words ‘hustle’ – you can end up with a great, fulfilling career that suits you because you’ve created it yourself.

So, if you’re ready to be your own boss and you think you can handle all the extra admin responsibility that entails, have a look at this infographic by ZenBusiness, which contains eight tips for fledgling freelancers to absorb, as well as a brief questionnaire.

And, in case you need a little more encouragement, Eden McCallum’s 2018 survey found that two thirds of people who took the plunge and went freelance earned the same or more than they did at their previous nine-to-five jobs.

That said, you’re never going to be part of that majority without being proactive and getting your finances in order. Set up a business bank account and a bookkeeping system so you can track your work expenses separately.

This next tip is a bit of a no-brainer, but it doesn’t hurt to remind the serial procrastinators anyway: set your work hours and stick to them religiously. A good rule is to start your day with your most difficult task and once that’s out of the way you’re less likely to waste time going down an internet rabbit-hole or doing the ironing.

It’s always good to have a few projects in the pipeline to get stuck into for when you do start freelancing, as it can be daunting chasing clients while trying to set up the financial side.

If you can, build on any existing relationships you may have with potential clients. Remember, social media is very useful for tracking down new clients – so long as you use your professional accounts and not your personal ones where you’re likely to fall prey to the aforementioned dreaded procrastination.

Swap cat videos for productivity tools like Mailchimp, Trello, Upwork and LinkedIn. You’ll be able to work smarter and this will free up valuable time elsewhere in your working day.

Perhaps the most important tip for would-be freelancers is don’t ever work for free. People can unfortunately take advantage of you if you don’t set boundaries when you go out on your own. Know your worth and treat your job like the job it is – it’s not your hobby.

Ultimately, once you learn to balance the impulse to procrastinate with the freelancer’s tendency to overwork, you’ll have a very satisfying career on your terms.

Are you ready to go freelance? Infographic.

Before you go freelance infographic checklist.

Infographic on the dos and don'ts of freelance work.

Click to enlarge. Infographic: Zen Business


Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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