Is freelancing when working in the creative industries the road to success? The Royal Society of Arts has predicted that the self-employed will outgrow public-sector workers by 2018 so it’s clear that more and more people are embracing the freelance lifestyle. There are benefits and drawbacks to both types of working but here I’ll be examining freelancing, especially when it comes to web and mobile development.
Working freelance allows you to work on diverse projects. Rather than work on one project or in one particular discipline a freelancer can pick and choose what type of work to do. This helps keep a freelancer creatively stimulated and allows them to develop naturally and, also, means a freelancer can choose not to work on a project they perhaps find unethical. In my case I can work on an e-commerce website one week and the next week I can be producing a mobile geolocation app.
Freelance work can also give you time to work on your own projects. During the summer, I did freelance work producing content for a hotel groups staff app. I completed the work in my own time meaning I also had opportunity to work on my side project producing an app and putting it in app stores.
You can work wherever and whenever suits you. This is especially beneficial if you have children or are responsible for caring for someone else.
When you work as a freelancer there is no guarantee of steady work coming in. Weeks or months could go by with barely any work and this leads to money worries. While there is little security in permanent jobs nowadays there is no promise of stability being a freelancer.
As a modern-day freelancer in the creative industries you have to compete with online websites such as Upwork or Freelancer. Many people see this as a race to the bottom as you have competition from all over the world, including freelancers from countries that can undercut your prices, as the value of money in their country is vastly different to yours.
If you decide to become a freelancer then you have to deal with paying your own taxes. This can be overwhelming if you have many different projects and have no experience claiming your income.
One of the most important things you can do as either a freelancer or company worker is network. Meeting new people is the most successful ways to gain new clients or make new contacts that can help you with your growth and improvement. Every new contact is a potential client or someone who can refer you to someone else.
Networking can be done online through social business networks such as LinkedIn or, more beneficial, face-to-face. Websites such as Meetup, Eventbrite or CodeCraft hold regular networking opportunities for a lot of creative industry disciplines. They meet in informal settings where you can meet up with others within your chosen profession, chat and ask questions.
These site were especially handy for creating this blog post: