The Professional Contractors Group estimate in the UK there are around 1.6 million freelancers. Many of these are in the IT industry. The freelance market may be buoyant overall but deciding to take the plunge and become a freelancer is a major decision and shouldn’t be rushed.
Leo Woodhead, an experienced careers adviser, has explored some of the factors to consider before exchanging permanent for freelance work:
1. Are your skills in demand and what are they worth?
Are your skills in a stagnant or saturated market? Are you going to secure one contract and then struggle to find the next one? Have a look at the industry you work in and your role. You need to be realistic, if your skills aren’t in demand there is no point changing to freelance.
2. Are you motivated?
Have you got the drive? By going freelance you are effectively running a business – the business is you! Do you have the self-discipline to work and at the same time take care of ensuring your next contract is lined up? You’ll need to repeatedly sell your services. If you hate interviews then freelance work is not for you.
3. Have you got your finances in order?
Going freelance may mean you say goodbye to a steady income. The earning peaks may be high but there will inevitably be some down times when a contract has ended and the new contract hasn’t yet started. Set money aside so you are less likely to panic. Enough money to cover your overheads for 3 to 6 months is a good idea.
If you’re still keen, try and make the move to freelance gradually. Would your current employer consider letting you go part time so you could start doing some freelance work? Perhaps this combination would suit you in the long term as well?
If you are in a strong market a major challenge will be picking the right company to work with. When you freelance it’s easy to panic and accept the first role you are offered. In time, and with experience you will be able to recognise the good and bad roles and will better understand your negotiating position.
At ISL Recruitment we work with employers who are looking for permanent and contract employees. If you would like to learn more about going freelance pleasecontact us.
Note: Although this article has many interesting points for debate the opinion expressed in the article doesn’t necessarily represent the opinion of ISL Recruitment.
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