What are you going to do?

Even if you’re planning on freelancing in exactly the same field as your current employed position, it’s worth taking a moment to consider how that’s going to work.

The work might be the same, but the requirements on you won’t be.

You’ll suddenly be responsible for:

  • Finding work
  • Working out rates
  • Paying for your business’ running costs
  • Accounts/bookkeeping
  • Getting your legal things together (contracts, insurance, etc)
  • Marketing yourself

...and more. Many freelancers find they’re only able to bill 50% of their working time because all the other stuff is so time-consuming.

This isn’t to discourage you, but new freelancers are frequently surprised at just how much time and effort non-work things take. Of course, it’s possible to hire someone to take care of each of those aspects of your business, but you’ll probably want to keep initial costs low and take the opportunity to find out what’s involved in each task.

Different types of freelancer

The term freelancer is quite broad, and it’s worth considering what type of freelancer you will be. Here are a few loose and imperfect definitions:

  • Independent: Generates own project or retainer-based work and sets their own rates. May work with more than one client at a time or several clients over the course of a year.
  • Contractors: Work for a single client for a fixed period (e.g. 6 months), usually set-up as a limited company. Rate often set by client.
  • Gig workers: Working through a platform that lets the freelancer apply for jobs. Typical examples would be Uber and Deliveroo, but platforms like Upwork and Fiverr could fall under this category: some platforms set rates, others let the freelancer set their own.
  • Creator: Creates products to sell to customers.

These aren’t mutually exclusive: e.g. an independent freelancer might also sell products. However, being aware of these different routes to freelancing can be useful.

For instance, gig workers and contractors might look at marketing themselves in a different way to an independent freelancer, or someone selling products.