More and more young professionals are going freelance with numbers of graduates increasing and job security after university looking less and less likely. Many new graduates cite control and flexibility as reasons for choosing a path in freelancing as opposed to a traditional career: in fact, a recent study found that 87% of the UK’s top performing graduates see freelancing as a highly attractive career option.
57% of Millennials also consider the concept of long-term corporate loyalty to be dead - instead an estimated 5.6 million young workers are choosing to freelance with multiple organisations by operating as a limited company.
The good news is you can make just as much as your peers (if not more) by going freelance, especially if you have a good contractor accountant. It’s important, however, to remember that the amount of time and effort you put into your business is crucial in determining how well-paid you are.
So, Why Freelance?
New graduates and experienced workers alike are turning to freelancing or contracted work - but why? What’s so appealing about freelancing?
Freelancers are usually specialists in one particular area - marketing, design, web development and so on - which means they are often able to command high rates of pay for their skills.
It adds variety. Working on a different project every few weeks is refreshing, especially for people who are easily bored and find themselves feeling stifled by a 9-5 job - 69% of all graduates say independent work offers them a better work-life balance.
Freelancing gives you the freedom to pick and choose what you want to work on and when. You can effectively be your own boss. Choosing what jobs you take and managing your own time can certainly be appealing to people who work best on their own as opposed to in a team.
Taking as much or as little holiday as you want is also the dream for some people. When you don’t have a traditional 9-5 career, you don’t answer to anyone and can therefore take as much or little holiday as you want throughout the year. Some jobs may even allow you to work remotely (depending on your area of expertise of course) which could mean more opportunities to travel and work at the same time.
The Creative Landscape
The freelance landscape is paved with an abundance of creative jobs. With a recent boom in startups - particularly tech related ones - comes a need for creatives to design and build websites and apps, then market them.
In fact, the information economy (which encompassed IT, software, electronics and communications) generated 454 FDI projects, creating 13,663 new jobs in 2014, while also safeguarding 1,208.
Because these startups and other early concept businesses often don’t have the resources to employ full time workers to complete these jobs, they look to hire freelancers as an alternative - people with fine-honed skills who don’t need training and supervision to get a job done quickly and to the right standard.
How Tech Enables Freelancers
We’re lucky enough to live in a very digital age. This means there’s a variety of apps and websites at hand to help freelancers put themselves out there and find work, whether they’re dedicated to particular skillets (e.g Upwork which connects designers with employers) or a free-for-all like Fiverr, which offers the skills of a range of experts from content writers to someone who will sing Happy Birthday while dressed as a pirate.
Technology also gives people the freedom to work from anywhere, be it their sofa at home or a beach in Thailand. With cloud-based technologies like Google Drive and Dropbox, employees no longer need to worry about lugging around a cumbersome laptop with a ton of memory built in, and communication tools like Skype and Slack kill the worry of touching base with their employers.
Although freelancing may be some people’s dream, it can also be scary due to the stress of managing finances and ensuring you’re compliant with HMRC. Fortunately, there are solutions out there dedicated to helping freelancers and contract workers with their taxes.
Boox is one such solution. We are contractor accountants who can help with anything from setting up a limited company to taking care of your self employed tax return (and everything inbetween). Our dedicated online accountants are specialists in freelancers and contractors, so you know you’re in good hands; no more worrying about your finances, you can just focus on the important things in life.