11th December 2014
Independent working may not offer the regularity and reliability of a traditional full-time job, but it provides freedom, flexibility and greater control over your career direction.
If you are transitioning to freelancing, here are five of the most significant advantages you can enjoy once you become your own boss.
Escaping the rat-race
For many people, attempting to navigate the ‘rat race’ is all they will have known in their working life. A seemingly endless routine of getting out of bed in the morning, travelling to work and completing the same daily tasks, only to brave the roads or public transport once again to get home.
It can be hard to muster up enthusiasm and passion for your job in the face of such drudgery.
Working for yourself can offer welcome liberation from these constraints, giving you the freedom to decide when and where you work, often with the option to work from home.
This is not to say that freelancing is easy – far from it. Independent working requires excellent discipline, organisation and self-control. Still, if you can master these qualities and feel confident you have the necessary traits to be your own boss, freelancing could be the career path you have been looking for.
The opportunity to boost your income could be one of the most compelling reasons to go into independent work and become your own boss.
Freelancers being brought in to lead or contribute to a particular project can command higher pay than regular employees working for the same company; Freelancer rates can be double or even triple that of full-time staff members.
One of the reasons for this is that employers often require freelancers to provide specific expertise for a critical short-term task and be prepared to pay a premium to acquire the skills they need.
Furthermore, operating independently means you have the freedom to take on contracts from different clients at the same time, which boosts your earning potential.
It is worth bearing in mind that there isn’t a guaranteed supply of work for freelancers, so it is vital to plan how you will cope with fluctuations in your income.
Make the most of the lucrative periods by taking care of as many financial obligations as possible and putting some money away to prepare for leaner times.
Anyone with a job that involves leaving the house very early and not getting home until late will appreciate the feeling of giving all their energy to work and having nothing left for anything else.
‘Work-life balance’ has become something of a buzzword of late, with more and more workers expecting flexible working arrangements and other provisions to help them achieve equilibrium between personal and professional commitments.
Freelancing could be the optimal approach if an excellent work-life balance is one of your priorities, as it allows complete control over when you work. If you have children, you could arrange your projects and contracts to allow time off during the school holidays.
Lyndsey Miles, a freelance e-commerce consultant and mother, underlined this benefit. She told the Professional Contractors Group: “I had always been dissatisfied in permanent employment because of the constraints of being in an office and someone else being in charge. Freelancing means I no longer have to ask for anyone’s approval. I can go to my children’s sports day without any hassle.”
Being in one job – or several roles within the same sector – for a long time can result in a feeling of being trapped, a sense that you can’t try something new without tumbling to the bottom of the career ladder.
Going freelance and becoming your own boss solves this problem, as your career direction is entirely in your own hands.
Starting as an independent professional, you could focus on projects that suit the skills and experience you have already gained in your working life, before branching out into areas that are of personal interest or fit in with your future career aspirations.
As your own boss, you have the freedom to bid for all sorts of contracts in various sectors. You lose nothing if your applications are turned down, but could gain invaluable experience and career lessons if you are successful.
The nature of freelance work means you will develop many skills and have experiences that are not part of day-to-day employment for most people in full-time jobs.
You will be in regular contact with people in senior positions within all sorts of businesses, from small firms to large organisations. Developing good relationships and communicating clearly with clients is a crucial freelancer skill that could prove crucial for networking and career development.
Pursuing opportunities with diverse companies in various sectors will give you valuable insight into different businesses’ cultures, working methods and structures. This could prove particularly useful if you are interested in moving into consulting or an advisory role.
Building up a broad and varied skillset will put you in an excellent position to take your working life in any direction you choose, laying the groundwork for a lucrative and personally fulfilling career.
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