As the country emerges from the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, many people are facing a very different working situation than before.
Some have been furloughed, others may have worked for businesses that haven’t been able to survive the pandemic, and there are also people who have decided to move industries altogether.
But one option that some are choosing is going freelance. Choosing to move away from a salaried position to carrying out freelance work is sometimes considered to be sacrificing stability and regular income for greater freedom and control. In fact, there is a lot more to it than that.
Here we take a look at whether right now is the perfect time for you to go freelance, balancing the pros and cons.
Pro: Remote working has been normalised
One of the silver linings of the pandemic has been the gradual acceptance of remote working as normal. To a certain extent, many businesses had considered remote working as something that was not ideal, and the vast majority worked in-office or on-premises, even if this was not strictly necessary for the job.
As businesses were given no choice but to work remotely over the course of the pandemic, many now have the infrastructure in place, as well as an understanding of the benefits of remote staff. Given the many freelancers prefer to work remotely, this can be considered an important beneficial step to help more people go freelance.
Con: Harder to network
Networking has been made more difficult by the pandemic, and unfortunately, this is something that looks set to continue for a while. There is hope that everything will return to normal as soon as possible once the restrictions have lifted, but for some organisations and people, the change back will be gradual. Expect to see your opportunities to network in person slightly limited for the immediate future.
Pro: Growing businesses
Businesses are coming out of lockdown and looking to grow. This means that they will likely need staff and expertise but may not wish to commit to a full-time team. This makes it possible that there will be a greater number of freelance opportunities available.
It is really worth taking the chance to build a base of clients who are looking for skilled freelance staff. Many companies simply won’t have the budget to hire members of staff, so you could potentially find yourself freelancing in multiple positions for a range of businesses.
Con: More complex managing your finances
As a freelancer, you’ll need to take greater care when managing your finances. It can be most helpful to think of yourself as a business and closely manage your money, bills and tax requirements. It can be especially helpful to work with professional accountants who have experience doing the accounts of freelancers. In any case, this is more complex to manage than simply having your salary paid into your bank account with all taxes already removed.
Pro: Fit it around your lifestyle
A major advantage of freelancing is having the opportunity to plan your working day around your life – rather than the opposite. This could be hugely beneficial to many people.
A large number have taken up studying and retraining over the lockdown period, and now require some income, while still developing their skills and experience for their next career move.
Con: Not right for every industry
Making the decision on going freelance right now can depend very much on the industry that you are in. Over the course of the pandemic, some industries have struggled and others have thrived. More than ever, however, it is important to have the right contacts and experience if you want to get solid freelance work.
If you are considering a move into a new industry, you might actually benefit from working a salaried role in-house for greater learning opportunities. In creative industries, freelancing may be a great choice right now. For others, it is possible that more can be gained in a salaried role. However, this will all depend on the specific industry you work in.
There are potential advantages and disadvantages in going freelance at any time, but given that we are just coming out of a truly unprecedented pandemic, you need to really consider whether it is the right choice for you. Consider the specifics of the industry that you want to work in and whether freelancing fits in with your preferred lifestyle.