You’re having a conversation with friends about your job, and you mention you’re a freelancer. The assumption is you work for yourself, right? Wrong. There are many variables in this key section of the workforce.
In order to define what sort of freelancer you are, you need to be clear about how you wish to work. To complicate things further, your freelance status can change as your life changes (for example a house move resulting in space for a proper office, an inheritance, a new baby etc.) All of these life changes can impact on how much money you need and how you may wish to approach getting your hands on it.
So here are a few freelancer types: (see if you can spot yourself!)
Creative industries, like journalism, are known for having a highly mobile freelance workforce
1. Full-time freelancer – solely fulfilling private work secured by your own contacts/sheer grit and determination, working in your own environment (more often than not, your home.) You’ve probably been freelance for so long, you hardly need to promote yourself as you’ve got a nice selection of steady clients who pay you well, thank you very much Twitter.
2. Full-time freelancer – you are sometimes called a contractor, as you fulfil longer term ‘contracts’ for companies sometimes for six or twelve months stints and you will certainly be a contractor when you fill a maternity leave positions for anywhere between six months to a year. The significant factor about this role is that you are effectively part of the team you are working with, for the duration of your contract – in some (lucky) cases you may even be offered a permanent job!
The interesting this about this sort of contracting is that for legal reasons, some companies require you to work as a Limited Company, which means setting yourself up through Companies House or if you secured your contract position through a recruitment agency, the agency may provide you with the opportunity of working through an umbrella company.
3. Part-time freelancer – you might be a full-time employee, but somehow manage to squash in some private work for love or money. You hope to jack in the day job one day when your private work begins to encroach on your day job or when your earning exceed your day job. Matchstick anyone?
4. Part-time freelancer – you work part-time in an employed capacity, usually in a regular work environment, and do your freelance work on your ‘free’ or non-office days. You feel pretty smug about this set up as you have the regular security from your part-time role and make up your income with more lucrative freelance gigs. The only down side is that you are committed, employee like, to your part-time job and giving it up completely seems risky so you need to fit all of your freelance work into certain days and times of the week, which doesn’t always suit your private clients. Who needs 8 hours’ sleep anyway?
5. Fair-weather freelancer – you are a chameleon, you enjoy the hustle for freelance work whilst in a permanent post and long for security when projects are thin on the ground. As soon as you’re back on your feet financially, or the routine and lack of stimulation of permanent employment becomes too much, you’re off! Freedom, emotional as well as financial freedom is what motivates you. A buoyant market in your area of expertise flushes you out of the corridors of the corporations as soon as the pound (or euro) looks sound. In spite of what your friends (or your mother) may say about you settling into a ‘proper’ job, there’s nothing wrong with this approach, you’re merely following your natural, entrepreneurial instinct. Luckily for you, finding freelance work is easy as you’ve gained so many contacts along the way!
Whatever sort of freelancer you are, enjoy the ride and give a little something of yourself, you’ll get a great reference which will help with future freelance gigs, in addition the company will feel good about taking on freelancers in the future. Everyone is happy.
If I’ve missed out the sort of freelancer that you are, please let me know!
© Writing every word
This article was also published in Creative Digest, you can read it and other informative articles here