National Freelancer’s Day 2018
So, today’s the day of the freelancer.
We’ve joined the lame ducks, Bunsen burners, and typewriters and now have an entire day dedicated to us.
The day is run by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (ipse) – the only membership body in the UK dedicated to supporting people that work for themselves.
I couldn’t make it down to London to take part in the official event, so have tipped my hat to it with a blog instead.
The rise of the freelancer
The most recent statistics are from an ipse report published in early 2017, so while they might not be 100% current, but they do give a pretty clear picture of the freelancing landscape in the UK.
Between 2008 (when I had just finished up my first real office job started freelancing) and 2016, the number of freelancers in the UK rose by 43%.
I started freelancing alongside a ‘real job’ for some extra cash, but quickly realised that I was enjoying working for myself more than others. It wasn’t long until I quit my job and started freelancing full-time, which must be what many others do, as 90% of the 2 million freelancers in the UK do so as their main job.
We also contribute a whopping £119 million to the economy.
Many of my friends and family joke that I can do whatever I want because I work for myself. Technically, they’re right. I can.
But, just like you, if I don’t work, I don’t get paid.
After all, whether you jet around the globe working for a multinational corporation or you tap away on the laptop from your bedroom, you’re still exchanging your time and skills for money.
That said, freelancing does feel completely different to being employed.
It’s much more flexible, you get to set and negotiate your own rates, you avoid the dreaded commute, and you’re often working on several projects for a number of clients at once – all of which are huge positives, for me anyway.
However, there is a flip side... the benefits you might have once received from your employer don’t exist. There’s no dental or health insurance, no workplace pension, no annual leave, nor sick pay. You have to be super self-motivated, organised, and adaptable.
I guess it's all down to personal preference. Would you rather get to work from home in your pyjamas or have the security of a workplace pension?