Always wanted to go freelance? On National Freelance Day, now is the time to make that decision and maybe change your life forever.
According to the latest figures from IPSE (The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), in 2020 more than two million self-employed people were working in the United Kingdom. Indeed, new estimates from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) show a slow increase in the number of self-employed workers.
Andy Chamberlain, Policy Director at IPSE, said: âThe data shows clear and welcome signs that the self-employed sector is finally moving in the right direction. Although the overall numbers are still down by more than 500,000 from the same period last year, we are now seeing the second monthly increase in the number of self-employed since the start of the pandemic. “
Looking further, in the United States, the Upwork study found that 59 million Americans have taken up some form of self-employment in the past 12 months, representing 36% of the workforce. American work. This is an increase of two million freelancers since 2019.
âIt’s no surprise that self-employment is on the rise, especially now that we’ve completely unraveled ‘where’ we work from ‘what’ we work on,â said Hayden Brown, president and CEO of ‘Upwork.
âAmid all the uncertainties brought on by COVID-19, data shows independent professionals benefit from income diversification, flexible hours and increased productivity. At the same time, companies are finding that these professionals can quickly inject new skills and capabilities into an organization and strategically adapt the capacity from top to bottom based on changes in demand and workloads. We expect this trend to continue as businesses increasingly rely on freelancers as critical contributors to their own operations. “
And the New York Times recently defined the YOLO (You Only Live Once) economy by stating, âSome people are giving up cushy, stable jobs to start a new business, turn a side business into a full-time gig, or finally work on it. scenario. Others scoff at their bosses’ return-to-power mandates and threaten to resign unless they are allowed to work where and when they want.
The pandemic has of course changed the working landscape, but has also opened up new opportunities. As companies envision a post-COVID-19 future, the way they organize their workforce will include a growing number of freelancers. The flexibility that these workers can bring to a business cannot be overstated.
Why do people want to become independent? This is a question that is not often asked. Motivations can range from economic necessity to a desire to make radical changes in work / life balance and to the appreciation that the well-being and the work we do are always intertwined.
A specialist in executing public relations and digital campaigns that help businesses build trust, gain visibility, manage reputation and generate leads, Hannah Tulloch has worked with clients across a wide range of industries, including technology and education. After working for eight years on the agency side, she decided to go freelance following the birth of her children.
âI started freelance because I have a baby and toddler and being my own boss is essential for me to be successful both professionally and personally. The flexibility is great – I can work when and where I want. But more than that, I can choose who I work with, which means the job is much more enjoyable too. I work with amazing and disruptive start-ups like VenueScanner and Duel who help me a lot to juggle my personal and professional commitments. We need more companies with these kinds of flexible perspectives for working mothers like me to be professionally successful. “
Often, the transition to the self-employed will be motivated by a desire to change the organization of work and the lack of development potential which can sometimes limit career development. âI became a freelance public relations consultant five years ago after working in-house for 22 years,â explained Chenoa Parr. “I wanted to choose who I work with and I didn’t feel fully appreciated in my role. Things seemed outdated. I also didn’t like the salary cap, I was making a living wage, but I knew I could earn more. money and working fewer hours and with people I love who respected me too.
âIt was a big step, but in three months I had my first client, a technology start-up. It was exciting and I helped them make a difference. I was appreciated, worked fewer hours, and had the flexibility to do things my way, like spending more time with my family, gardening, cooking, and generally feeling less stressed.
Chenoa concludes: âFive years later, I still love my freelance life. I am more fulfilled and I know that my work helps others to have a greater social impact and to achieve greater things in the world. At the same time, I can go out in my little garden or pick up my daughter from school without worrying about what my boss would think! I can never imagine going back to office life.
Turning his back on the traditional path to becoming a professional musician, Chris Lloyd spent ten years studying classical piano at the highest level, with one goal in mind: to communicate with audiences through musical performance. Until one lesson, when a teacher berated him for choosing the best sound option rather than the most technically accurate.
“At that time, I realized that the traditional classical music industry had the wrong priorities: objective perfection over subjective expression for me is not the reason for creating art,” he said. explained Chris. âSelf-employment was the solution to escape the restrictive barriers of the existing model, because it allowed me to do what I love – playing classical music – with people who were not infected with the scourge of conservatism.
âThe traditional classical music industry does not value experimentation and individuality, so I have instead created my own audience through new series of performances and by developing new methods of music delivery that cater to a larger population. “
Self-employment can also be transformative. Many of those who become self-employed report that the risks they took ultimately resulted in an exceptional work / life balance. A good example is Petra Smith, founder and managing director of marketing agency Squirrels & Bears. âThe decision to work for myself was one of the biggest milestones I have ever taken in my life,â said Petra. âIt’s been my dream for a while, but I always doubted myself, thinking that I didn’t know enough, that I wasn’t good enough and that it was too risky to take.
âBut at seven months pregnant with my first child, I realized more and more that I was not ready to waste time watching my children grow up working for someone else, and at the same time. time I wanted to keep a balance in my life, to be successful and intellectually stimulated. Working for myself has allowed me to do both – to have the flexibility while constantly learning and challenging myself.
âI was motivated by the possibilities for growth and the absence of limitations, both professionally and personally, and I hoped that the balance between a growing business and an expanding family would allow me to show my kids they can accomplish anything they want if they dream big and work hard, no matter how unrealistic it may seem at first.
Removing limitations is also often a key factor in the decision to become a freelance writer. This is undoubtedly the case for Sabrina Benjamin who is an independent business and IT manager. âThe reason I became independent is that I like the fluidity of working with different organizations and adding value at the highest level. Working with a large number of companies exposes you to different working methods, business strategies and offers the best opportunity for growth.
âI managed to shatter the glass ceiling that surrounds being a black woman in the workplace. I measure myself only by the quality of my work and not by the clique that I am at work. There is no end of year exam to prove worth, as my delivery / results speak for themselves, and in turn, this created an acceleration tunnel to see excellent results.
âIn addition, I can achieve a level of financial stability that I would not have achieved as an employee. This allows me to make larger investments and gives my business the opportunity to grow. Plus, being a freelance writer gives me the freedom to spend time with my son. Being a single mom, I need strong finances to give my son the best opportunities and the best experience. I’m not sure how his autism will impact his career, so it’s important to build a solid foundation for his future. As a freelance I have greater opportunities to add value to my clients, my family and I am also able to build a business and career where the sky is the limit.
All of these freelancers have in common the desire to create their own future and to walk their own path.
Are you going to start your freelance journey today?