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!)
Full-time ‘private’ 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.
Full-time ‘contact’ 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 maternity leave positions for anywhere between six months to a year. The significant factor about this sort of freelancing is that you effectively are 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 thing 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.
You might be a full-time employee, but somehow you manage to squash in some private work for love or money. Hoping one day to jack in the day job when your private work begins to encroach on or earn you more money than your day job. (Matchstick anyone?)
You work part-time in an employed capacity, usually in 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, but who needs 8 hours’ sleep anyway?
You are a chameleon, you enjoy the hustle for freelance work whilst in a permanent post and long for security when freelance projects are occasionally 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. 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) 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 while you’re at it, you’ll get a great reference which will help with future freelance gigs and the company will feel good about taking on freelancers in the future. Everyone is happy.
Suzy is a copywriter at EveryWordCopywriting. Follow her on Twitter.