Everyone has their own reasons for choosing to become their own boss. For me, it was fundamentally about taking charge of my own life. For others, it might be more about achieving a better work/life balance, or earning more money. If it’s not something you’ve thought about before, these are just a few of the compelling reasons why you might want to consider giving the freelance life a try.
One of the biggest incentives for going freelance is the incredible flexibility it offers. Even the most flexible of ‘flexi-time’ arrangements from a full-time employer has nothing on the sheer freedom you’ll have when you work for yourself. Whether it’s a spontaneous day off or taking a few weeks out, when you work is entirely up to you.
No longer restrained by standard 9-5 working hours, you’ll be much more able to fit work around life – whether that’s making time for a hobby during the day and catching up in the evening, or just having the freedom to take time out of the working day to pick up your kids from school, attend a gym class or walk the dog. Not only that, but you can work at the times when you’re at your most productive, giving you the ability to get more done in less time.
Hand in hand with the freedom of freelancing is the autonomy you’ll enjoy when you become your own boss. You won’t have to take orders from anybody; you call all the shots. That means you get to decide everything from how you want your business to develop to which clients you’d like to work with. For me, working for myself has meant that I no longer dread Monday mornings or count down the hours until the end of the day. Nothing beats the feeling of being in charge of your own destiny.
3. No more commuting
With 3.7 million Brits (and counting) spending two hours or more commuting each day, it can feel that it’s just a fact of life. There’s nothing worse than the nagging suspicion that you’re wasting your life sitting in traffic jams, or waiting in the cold and rain for delayed buses and trains. But it doesn’t have to be like this.
When you go freelance, you can work from wherever you want, and fill the time you save doing things that enrich your life, such as spending more time with your family. Your “commute” could be walking through to your study. You could take your laptop and work in a coffee shop. You could even buy yourself a campervan and work from a different place each day. It’s a world away from sitting stationary on the M25.
4. Choose who you work for and with
When you’re employed, you don’t have a choice about your colleagues and clients; you just have to put up with an annoying co-worker or overly demanding client. When you become self-employed, you no longer have to put up with office politics or that colleague with the terrible taste in music. Even better, once you get established you’ll be able to cherry-pick clients, turning down work that you don’t want to do and firing clients who give you nothing but hassle.
5. Increase your earning potential
In a full-time job, you’re usually paid the same salary no matter how hard you work. You could put in lots of extra hours, staying late in the office in a bid to impress the boss, but you probably won’t be paid for them. You’re essentially working hard to line someone else’s pockets, perhaps in the hope of career progression if not any extra cash.
When you’re self-employed, the harder you work, the more you earn. With no employer to take a cut, everything you earn is yours. In many freelance roles that you can do from home – such as copywriting or graphic design – your overheads are likely to be low, and business expenses can be offset against tax so that you pay less to HMRC than you would when you’re employed. Sure, you won’t get sick or holiday pay, and you’ll be responsible for your own pension; but even with this taken into account, your earning potential can be far greater when you work for yourself.
What’s more, you might think that freelancing means less financial security, but in some respects you can actually have more security than you would in a full-time job. Theoretically, you could lose a full-time job at any time with a month’s notice. As a freelancer, you don’t have all your eggs in one basket; so if one client drops you, you still have all the others bringing in money. That’s a strong position to be in.
Feeling inspired? Take a look at some of my other posts to find out more about freelance life.
Rachel Ingram is a freelance copywriter with a background in digital marketing. She's written copy for clients ranging from the United Nations World Food Programme to The North Face, and particularly enjoys working with lifestyle and travel brands. In her spare time, she volunteers for Guide Dogs and flies light aircraft and helicopters.Read full profile