Freelancing has become the career choice for a growing number of people in the UK and across Europe. This article describes the top 7 reasons why people freelance.
What is a freelancer?
A freelancer, also known as a contractor or service provider, is someone who offers his or her services for an agreed period in return for a fee. Freelancers are independent of the businesses or individuals that hire their services. Generally, freelancers work on short-term contracts, although contracts can vary in length and can be and are often extended (renewed).
Why do people freelance?
We've put together 7 of the top reasons why people freelance – in no particular order:
1. To be your own boss. Freelancing is one of most successful ways to start your own business and businesses can be as diverse as you can imagine. Personally, I offered IT services but freelancers offer a varied set of services, some of which include:
- event management
- editing and proof-reading
- online-marketing and SEO
- book-keeping and accounting
Being your own boss also allows you to decide how many hours you work, when in the year and in which locations.
2. As a lifestyle choice. Some people enjoy new challenges and may find working for the same employer over many years uninspiring. Freelancing allows you to work for different organisations and individuals, experience new job challenges and develop career opportunities.
3. To travel. If you enjoy travelling, then freelancing can allow you to do just that and get paid! Freelance opportunities can occur locally, regionally or internationally. If you’re willing to travel then you’ll have more opportunities open to you. In my freelancing career, I worked across the UK in Milton Keynes, Cardiff, Hemel Hempstead and various locations in Central London. In Europe, I worked in Austria and Germany, and internationally, I worked in Australia and Brazil.
4. To work remotely or from home. If your preference is to work remotely or from home then freelancing offers this flexibility and freelancers can enjoy a successful business doing just that. The key question to ask is can the work you would like to do be done remotely or from your home. If the answer is yes then there’ll be businesses and individuals looking to employ your skills. Website development is a popular activity but others include data entry, virtual assistance, copy writing, translation, online & private tuition, and so on.
5. As a quick way back into work. If you’re between jobs then getting back into permanent employment can take several months. Freelancers can be hired and receive their first payment within a few weeks of initial contact by an employer or agent. Moreover, some contracts can lead to permanent employment as the hiring firm seeks to retain your services.
6. As a quick way to earn money. Freelancers can be paid not only more quickly and frequently than permanent employees but also a premium for not being on an employer’s payroll or for working on a short-term job. This allows a freelancer to earn much more in a given period than a permanent employee doing similar work, which could be used to quickly pay off credit card debt or for a long overdue holiday.
7. To gain experience and specialise. Working as a freelancer allows you to develop and utilise your specialist skills more fully, which working for the same company might not provide. Thus by working on different contracts for different businesses, freelancers can quickly gain experience and become subject matter experts in their chosen field.
These are just a few of the reasons why people become freelancers. You might have a different reason from those already discussed. If you feel that freelancing is right for you then why not give it a go. I did!
Freelancing has increasingly become a career choice for thousands of workers in the UK and across Europe. This is because freelancing offers many advantages and can provide a flexible and fulfilling alternative to working as an employee.