How to become a freelancer

Have you ever considered going freelance? Of the UK’s 1.88 millionfreelancers, 40% are women and the vast majority of those who started out recently are new mothers.** The benefits are numerous. Being your own boss means you can work how you want, when you want – and freelancers’ job satisfaction is generally extremely high as a result. Before you take the plunge, though, there are a few things you need to know:

what is a franchise

A franchise is often described as a “business in a box”

Freelancing allows you to find a family-friendly work-life balance

You can base your workload around what’s going on at home, perhaps slowing down in the school holidays and taking on more work in term time. If you need to drop the work and pick up the children at short notice, that’s OK too; it’s all about flexibility.

Start out by using your existing network

Whether it’s your personal or professional connections, there are people around you who know you’ve got the skills to get the job done. So as a starting point, why not find out whether they can put you in touch with your first clients, or even give you a project themselves? Social media is useful too; LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are all free, effective ways of putting your name out there.

Building a support network means you won’t be isolated

If you’ve spent your entire working life in a vibrant office environment, the transition to a solo office or coffee shop could seem like a big one. But it’s easily overcome; digital communities such as Workingmums and LinkedIn groups allow users from all over theworld to connect. Workhubs such as Club Workspace, meanwhile, allow the self-employed to come together to network, share ideas and learn from each other.

Meanwhile, IPSE’s own Women in Freelancing network is on hand to support the growing number of freelance women. We organise regular events, allowing freelance women to meet the experts and like-minded small business owners.

Don’t be put off by male-dominated industries

If you have the technical skills, entering the IT industry, for example, could be a very attractive proposition. Because it’s a sector dominated by males, many IT departments are taking steps to promote more women – and it’s been suggested that working as a female in a male-dominated environment can actually give you a competitive advantage.

You need to plan for maternity pay

Conventional employees are eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay, which is 90% of average earnings for six weeks then £138.18 for 33 weeks. But the self-employed receive £138.18 for 39 weeks – meaning they miss the six when employees receive almost average earnings. This can make a big impact on finances and so you need to be prepared. Hiring an accountant is always a smart move, as they’ll ensure you’re complying with HMRC regulations and maximising your take-home pay.

The Government-commissioned self-employment review, due to report back very soon, is exploring ways to make the system fairer. And, fortunately, freelancers can earn significantly more than their employee counterparts on average, so it soon balances out.

As with every life decision, there are many things you need to think about before starting your own business. But it’s unlikely to be a decision you’ll regret.

 **Figures correct as of October 2016.You can find out more at www.ipse.co.uk.




Comments [8]

  • Lora says:

    Hello, thank you for this article it has been very useful.
    I have just completed a business degree and have many years experience of assisting business with a range of different areas, seeking new leads, grants/funding, social media, financing/accounts, general organising and liaising.
    I would love to become free lance as I am very flexible and I love to help businesses grow. Could you give me any advice?
    Thanks
    Lora

  • Tanya says:

    Hi

    I I’m really interested in becoming a freelancer as recently had a baby.
    I have been working as a contractor in the finance industry for the past 3 years, before that I worked in education.

    Would just like some advice on where I can go from here?

    Many Thanks

    Tanya

  • Andreia says:

    Hi,
    I am looking for freelance work or even flexible work, I am an experienced manager but most roles require someone full time. I have excellent organisational skills and very good at multi tasking,motherhood certainly puts that skill to the test.
    Could you advise what roles may be better suited for me please?
    Thanks in advance

    • Mandy Garner

      Mandy Garner says:

      Hi Andreia,
      I’m not sure from your comment where you have worked and what kind of freelance work you have been looking for. Have you considered interim management? Are there any particular sectors you have experience in or would like to work in? It would be good to have a little more detail so our careers advisers can help. You can email this to mandy@workingmums.co.uk.

  • Swapnali says:

    Hello,

    I am looking for work. Could you please help me how to start.
    I have my experience in automated software testing.
    How to become freelancer?

    Thanks,
    Swapnali


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