Working as a freelancer

The life of a freelancer can often make those in permanent jobs more than a little envious. The ability to be your own boss and use your skills and expertise to build a varied and lucrative career as a freelancer can be an attractive prospect.
With the economy now on the mend - and with marketing agencies bringing in plenty of new business, skilled freelancers are back in demand.

The benefits:

  • Better pay – freelancers receive higher hourly rates for their services than permanent staff.
  • Experience – exposure to a variety of brands, people, products and companies can add real depth and experience to your CV.
  • Fresh scenery – freelancers get to operate in many different work environments, so staring at the same four walls rarely becomes an issue.
  • Contacts – a great way to build your reputation and your contacts within the industry.
  • Flexibility – allows you to take time off between contracts – ideal if you have family
    commitments, want to study, or go on holiday. You can also choose how many days and hours a week you want to work.
  • Company exploration - offers a risk-free opportunity to learn about a future employer without committing to a permanent contract.
  • Work options – can allow you to work from home and therefore consider companies that you wouldn’t normally look at because of an unworkable commute.
Freelancing is definitely a lifestyle choice, and not one that will suit all tastes.

Here are some of the obvious downsides to freelancing:

  • Lack of permanence - there’s no guarantee of permanent work at the end of a contract, although the experience and skills you’ve gained will always be valuable.
  • Lean times - you’ll need to budget for time between contracts. The next role may not begin immediately, so there could be times when you are not earning.
  • Out of the loop - you may not feel part of the organisation, and be left out of social events.
  • Sole agent – as a freelancer you will be obliged to take care of your own tax affairs and accounts.
  • No frills - in most cases you won’t benefit from perks such as healthcare, car, pension etc.
  • Tough market – freelancing has become increasingly competitive, with clients often preferring professional temps/interims.
Whether you’re a professional freelancer or a novice looking to make your mark on the world of freelancing, Michael Page can advise you on the best way to proceed. 

Here are some tips on making yourself more employable as a freelancer:

  • Broaden your skills - hitting the ground running is easier if you have experience of multiple environments and organisations.
  • Be confident – you’ll be meeting with many different people in various jobs and offices so keep positive, friendly and get stuck in from the start - but never be afraid to ask questions.
  • Be flexible - not all jobs are in the centre of town. If you work from home, make sure you deliver on time and if you’re asked to do something not in the job description - roll your sleeves up and get stuck in.
  • Be that expert - if you have a proven track record of completing similar projects make sure we and the client know about it – key experience is highly rated by clients.
  • Flag your skills - demonstrate proven tangible success in your field that will differentiate you from the rest of the market.
  • Be open to change - being a temporary worker is not easy and you should be comfortable with change and changing environments. Clients pay a premium for flexible staff who can hit the ground running.
  • Be professional – always present yourself in a professional manner and always remember you’re representing both yourself and your profession.
Michael Page provides marketing agency recruitment solutions for freelance workers and agency clients. Get in touch with your local office to find out more