Five reasons to freelance

Five reasons to go freelance - and five reasons not to.

Student work on wearable tech course

We’ve pulled together some ideas to help you weigh up the pros and cons of the self-employed lifestyle.

Five reasons to go freelance

  1. Freelancing is a great way to get into certain industries – like fashion, journalism and digital design.
    Any industry that works on a project basis doesn’t want the hassle of laying you off when the work ends. Meanwhile you get to avoid the trauma of redundancy and flesh out your CV with lots of attractive experience.
  2. It’s the future of work – you’re just ahead of your time.
    Traditional jobs-for-life are a thing of the past and the successful workers of the future will continually reinvent themselves, flipping and switching their skills to meet the needs of the market while staying in control of their own careers.
  3. Freelancing shows you’re motivated, determined and an opportunist (in a good way)
    To stay in work as a freelancer you’ve got to pitch yourself and your skills and be tenacious and flexible. All fabulous qualities that scream ‘hire me!’ on your CV.
  4. You’re in charge of your day.
    Yoga class on a Wednesday at 3pm, working in your pyjamas, getting inspired and working on a project past midnight – you decide how you get your work done. If you have other responsibilities (like being a carer for a family member or looking after a child) then self-employment means you can juggle work with your ‘other’ life.
  5. You’re your own boss
    Dysfunctional managers are a sad fact of life in offices. Even as a young freelancer, you’re likely to command more respect from clients than you would as an office junior, plus you’ll avoid a lot of the politics that drain the fun out of work.

And five reasons not to…

  1. Self-assessment tax forms
    Filling in an online tax-return form every year shouldn’t be that hard. But somehow it gets to the deadline and you still haven’t done it. See our self-assessment article for tips on making the process less difficult.
  2. No one to have a beer with after work
    Some freelance jobs – like writing and web design – can be a bit lonely, though others (like working in TV) come with brilliant social lives attached. Try to see friends whenever possible and beg any company you’re contracting for to invite you to work drinks/Christmas parties/’team-building’ days.
  3. You generally have to pay for your own professional development
    Make sure you keep an eye on changing industry requirements and regularly update your skills. You can do this cheaply with online courses, YouTube videos and networking events, or by finding a mentor.
  4. At some point, you’ll have to deal with rejection…
    However good your CV or inspirational your ideas, you’ll inevitably be told you’re not right for a job at some point. This can be absolutely heart-breaking, especially if you feel you wasted time working on a big pitch. We have some tips for coming back stronger from rejection here.
  5. Freelancing is financially insecure
    No pension. No sick pay. No holiday pay. You need contingency before you go self-employed, whether that’s some savings, the promise of future work, or an agreement with your mum that you can have your old room back if you can’t pay the rent.