With more and more workers choosing to go freelance in the UK, it could be time to seriously consider it yourself.
Particularly as a woman, thinking about becoming freelance or self-employed could be a great way of keeping a work/ life balance if you decide to have a family, or want to be able to choose your own working hours.
Below are some indications that it might be time for you to go freelance.
Are you stuck in a rut?
Millennials have a reputation for job-hopping and flakiness, but this is partly because we won’t settle for any less than we deserve. Research suggests that young workers are not being rewarded for staying long-term with one employer, so if other aspects of the office are stressful, or the workplace has become monotonous, there is no impetus to stay.
If you are starting to dread going to work in the morning; or you are getting in a habit of hitting snooze for as long as possible, it may be a sign that you are bored with your job and need a change.
Have you hit a ceiling?
Sometimes you might really enjoy your job, but you know you have gone as far as you are likely to get. This might be because the company is small, and so you have progressed to the highest level already, or it might be because you know no more senior positions are likely to open up in the near future.
If you have been trained up, and you know you have a valuable set of skills, freelance work can be a great platform to take them in a new direction, and get involved in exciting, creative projects.
Is the daily commute getting you down?
When you are working every day in the city, the over-crowded, hot, noisy commute can really start to get you down, particularly if you are travelling for an hour or more each way. Not only is commuting stressful and emotionally draining, it can also have an impact on your physical health as well. Long commutes often mean you won’t get enough sleep, you will arrive in the office feeling tired and unproductive, and you are more likely to put on weight.
Working freelance, on the other hand, often means working from home. You can use that extra commuting hour every morning to catch up on beauty sleep, schedule in a morning workout, or, if you are a morning person, to start working early when you feel most productive.
Do you want to work abroad?
A lot of young people now prioritise travelling the world over saving for a mortgage. When you are working full-time, you are lucky if you get more than 25 holiday days a year, and it is unlikely you will be allowed to take all of those days in one go, so scheduling long-distance travel can be tricky. Working freelance can be a fantastic way to travel and make money at the same time.
Obviously, the time difference can be problematic, and you will need to only apply for jobs that don’t require you to do any inhouse work, but there is no reason why ‘working from home’ can’t be a beautiful, tropical beach (as long as you have WiFi and power outlets!). Working this way means you can satisfy your thirst for adventure, without compromising on saving for the future.
Are you keen to work for more than one company?
Sometimes it is better not to have all your eggs in one basket. Working day in day out for one company has many perks (sick pay, holiday allowance, pension schemes, to name a few); but it can also have a lot of downsides (difficult managers, office politics, inflexible working hours).
When you are working freelance you have the choice of signing up for long-term contracts with one employer, or juggling multiple clients at one time. Although having a lot of projects on the go can be stressful, it can also be exhilarating, and it gives you the freedom to try out various clients before you commit to working for any of them on a longer-term basis.
Are you looking to start a family?
One of the major reasons women consider freelance work is because they either already have young children, or they are looking to start a family. The number of freelancing mothers in the UK has risen by 24 per cent in the past two years and it is easy to see why.
In the traditional workplace it can be a struggle to get flexible working hours, and if you do have any childcare emergencies, you may have to use up your holiday or sick day allowances to cover them. Working freelance means you can work around your children’s needs, and you can dictate how much work you take on, and what hours you want to work.
About the author
Amy Durant writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency specialising in matching career starters with graduate jobs. For everything from marketing internships to graduate jobs Manchester, click here.