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Don’t be afraid to freelance

3 min, 41 sec read
9:00 AM | 5 April 2017
by Adam Oldfield
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It’s estimated that 1 in 7 workers are self-employed in the UK. 1 in 2 people in the creative industries alone, are freelancing.

Meaning a massive 4.5 million plus people are self-employed in the UK. This group is also expected to outnumber public sector employees by 2020.

So let's just say you're definitely not alone if you’re thinking about making this change or addition to your current work life.

So if you're think about freelancing your skills, we've got the advice you need to get started, regardless of whether you’re in study or full-time work. Plus there are a few handy resources to help you on your way beyond FutureRising.

What’s your freelance talent?

It could be anything, nowadays people are prepared to pay for a variety of skills. It doesn’t just have to be something that is normally associated with freelancing, like copywriting, design, filmmaking, etc.

Your skill set could be in finance, where you could think about doing the accounts for a small business. Likewise, running social media or building simple websites for new businesses. Your language, musical or sports skills could also help you open up a revenue stream on the side.

You don’t even need to have the skills already, you could take an intensive course to learn a new trade that helps you become a freelancer in an area you love.

Think about what skills you have already and how you might utilise and sell those skills professionally.

Freelancing during a degree

Freelancing during university could be the easiest time to do it. If you’re fortunate enough to have lots of downtime around lectures across first and second years of university, you should have time to dedicate one or two days each week to freelancing. And still have time to catch up with friends.

Building your portfolio/case studies/client work during university allows you to practice and earn some money. It may even help pay the bills, and potentially reduce that university loan before you finish.

After university

If when you come to the end of university, you find yourself with a number of clients and contacts then the easiest thing to do might be to carry on working freelance and building your network.

The first year may be hard, but your work should steadily pick up if you’re consistently promoting your talent and networking. Check out our self promo area for good examples.

Being a freelancer is vastly different to working full-time at another business, especially if you work from home alone. So you may want to work from communal workspace to be alongside other freelancers.

You’ll need to consider things like declaring your own finances and setting up a pension. But the biggest perk is you set the rules and the benefits can be whatever you want them to be.

Whilst in full-time work

Freelancing beside your full time job can help you improve your skills, build stronger business knowledge and learn new practices that will help you go further in the workplace.

It could help pay for those extra holidays, and if you’re in a position that having children restricts you working five days a week, it could be a perfect move for you to work when you want.

Next steps

Think about what type of lifestyle you want. Is it more time, more flexibility or more spare cash? Do you have the skills now or by doing a short course can you obtain skills to help you go freelance?

To read more about freelancing and get started, I've put together a list of resources for you:

Red Lemon Club
Advice from Alex Mothers a prolific freelancer, he's an illustrator by rate but his tips can be applied to any area.

There's tonnes of web platforms around, Squarespace though is simple to use and you can always sign up to a developer account to create something extra special.

People Per Hour
Find out how much to charge by comparing what others are charging in your area and then attract clients by setting up a profile.

These guys offer good pricing on co-working space month to month in the London.

Check out the meet ups happening in your area, you may find regular events that allow you to talk with other freelancers and meet new clients.

Comment below or Tweet us if you have any further resources you think freelancers should know about.

Please log in or sign up before participating in the conversation.

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