With the festive break fast approaching it’s hard not to think about what the new year will hold. Setting New Year’s resolutions can be a great way to focus on your aims and goals for the year to come. And if 2020 feels like the right time to make the jump to self-employment, here’s five things to consider if you want to go freelance. The benefits of working for yourself can be amazing. You’re your own boss, you can work from home, and set your own holidays. However, branching out on your own isn’t as simple as walking out on your job before Christmas and racking in the big bucks come Jan. 2020.
According to statistics collected by the Professional Contractors Group, there are 1.4 million freelancers in the UK which is a 14 percent growth over the last decade. Seventy-eight percent said freelancing and flexible working help promote a good work/life balance and 72 percent said they think freelancing had a positive impact on their family life. According to the Office of National Statistics the number of self-employed workers has reached a record high. LinkedIn cited that some of the benefits of freelancing include the variety of work, flexible hours meaning you can avoid the dreaded commute, and you keep all of the profits you make. However, freelancing isn’t all work coffee dates and working in your pyjamas. LinkedIn’s careers expert Charlotte Davies explained the five things to bear in mind before you take the freelance plunge in 2020.
1. Networking Is Essential
It might just look like going to events and having a chinwag with people but there’s an art to networking. It might sound pompous but building lasting relationships with people in your industry will be a way of getting your name out there and could be the difference between picking up a new client and eating beans for the last week at the end of the month because you’ve run out of cash. Davies said, “networking is always beneficial for your career, but when you go freelance, it becomes essential. In no time, you’ll have nailed your elevator-pitch and will master the art of the professional follow-up with a LinkedIn connection request. It’s important to embrace networking because as any freelancer will tell you, you might end up getting a business opportunity from a really unexpected place.”
2. You Might Experience Loneliness
Not having to join the other commuters on public transport or on the roads every morning might be one of the greatest things about freelancing. However, the flipside to this is you might only have your houseplants and pet for company all day. LinkedIn found that 86 percent of freelancers feel lonely at least some of the time. Davies said, “if you’re the social type, make sure you plan for this by arranging to meet up with friends, clients or old colleagues during the week to make sure you don’t get cabin fever. You could even invest in a co-working space or hot-desk at a client’s office – both provide more opportunities to build relationships that you won’t necessarily get if you’re working from home all the time.”
3. You’ll Need To Build Your Own Online Presence
Your days of using Instagram to look at cute puppies and political memes are almost over. While you should absolutely let your personality shine through on your social media, as a freelancer it’ll be your biggest tool to sell yourself. Davies said, “you’ll probably have a portfolio of work at the ready, but think about showing what else you’re doing day-to-day online too. Whether that’s a quick snap of an event you’re attending or thoughts on a piece of industry news, it shows that you’re passionate about your work.” And maybe leave what you did after that fourth glass of wine on Friday night off Twitter.
4. You’ll Probably Need Financial Advice
Between building connections with other freelancers, getting great commissions, and treating yourself to a day working from bed there are a lot of perks to freelancing. However, one of the biggest downsides is working out your finances. Davies said, “there are loads of resources out there to help, such as LinkedIn Learning that provides online personal finance courses, and if you are really struggling to make sense of it all, get a financial adviser to help guide you through setting up so that you can focus on the important stuff, doing the work you love.”
5. You Might Find A Mentor Helpful
While building relationships with potential clients is helpful, building bonds with other freelancers who have been in the game longer than you is priceless. Whether you’re stuck with tax, feeling bored of your own office, or just need a work moan — they’ll be there. Davies said, “if you’re feeling cautious about stepping out into the big wide world of freelancing, remember that there are plenty of other people who have taken the plunge before you and would be willing to share their experiences with you.”
Without falling prey to the new year, new me cliche, January can be a great time to re-evaluate your goals and work out how you want to progress in your career. Taking the plunge to go freelance is super scary but the rewards can be endless.