I never set out to become a freelancer. I happily worked for employers in both the private and public sector for almost 2 decades.
Then, around 2 and a half years ago, I decided I needed a change, one that didn’t involve working for another PR or marketing agency or going in-house again.
So, I decided to go freelance. And, I love it. Here’s what I most love about it:
There are two sides to my business – copywriting and PR. Fortunately for me, both involve lots of writing, which is what I’ve been trained to do.
You see, my career started when I became a journalist at the age of 17. I spent more than 6 years in journalism. During that time, I was sent to ‘journalism school’ in Wolverhampton where I learnt all about the tools of the trade, including how to write copy that people want to read.
Ever since leaving journalism, I never thought I’d be fortunate to have a job again where I could pretty much purely write day in, day out. Now, I’ve hopped on over to the freelance side, I’m doing just that.
Most people tend to think that freelancing involves flitting from here to there. And to a large degree, it does. Not only are you your own boss, you have the freedom to choose when you work, where you work and who you work with.
You can choose when you start and finish, when you take lunch, how long your lunch break is and when you take annual leave (without having to ask for permission to take time off).
I guess this is the side of freelancing that most appeals to people, but it’s important you don’t get too carried away with the flitting about side of things, and you have a strategy to make your business work.
As I’ve just mentioned in point number 2, running a freelance business is what you make of it. If you want to work flat out all day, every day, you can do that. And if you want to work four days a week and have every Friday off, then you can do that too.
Freelance life is incredibly flexible and it’s why so many people, who are keen to readdress their work-life balance, decide to go down this route, me included.
The number of UK freelancers and solo self-employed workers has risen by 25% since 2009, generating £125 billion a year (IPSE). The total number of UK freelancers is estimated to be around the 2 million mark and half of the UK workforce at leading companies, like Google and ASOS, is reportedly made up of freelancers.
If you ask me what I worked on last month, you won’t get an immediate answer. This isn’t because I’m being vacant or deliberately coy, it’s because I’m having to remember all of the different projects!
One day I’m SEO-optimising website content, the next, I’m writing a series of blogs. One week, I’m writing a 40th anniversary company brochure and the next, I’m putting together a content plan or PR strategy or brainstorming straplines. No 2 days are ever the same and the projects I work on are all incredibly varied.
Freelance life is a different experience for everybody. Some people instantly take to it (like me), and some don’t. For some, it’s more of a slow burn, and for others, it never becomes anything more than an idea.
Freelancing is what you make of it, the more effort you put in, the more you get out of it. Best of luck if you do follow in my footsteps and venture down this route.