In the UK, more of us than ever are self-employed, working as freelancers or contractors of one sort or another, and it’s a growing trend; not just here, but in many more industrialised parts of the world.
But is a freelance career is the best choice for everyone? And having started a freelance career, is there ever a good reason to stop?
The answer is yes. In fact, there are…
Four Good Reasons to Stop Freelancing
You should stop if…
You Should Never Have Started In the First Place
Freelancing requires you to be a self-motivator and small business owner, unafraid to sell your skills, talk (or write) their way into work. You need to communicate clearly, effectively and confidently with both potential and existing clients to ensure you get work, get paid a fair price for your work, and do it to the client’s satisfaction; this is no place for shrinking violets.
You also need to be a great employee and a firm but flexible boss simultaneously.
There is no one to complain to but yourself and nobody to chastise you or chase you up but yourself. If you have any shortcomings as either a manger or an employee, you’re going to come face to face with them in yourself fairly quickly.
There’s not Enough Freelance Work And/or Money In Your Industry
Certain industries, such as writing, financial consultancy, website management and graphic design, attract freelancers by their very nature and are chock-full of freelancers – although this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re all thriving. Sometimes there’s just not enough work, and new, untried freelancers are unlikely to get the pick of the work. Other industries aren’t really attuned to freelancing, and opportunities are few.
Also, regardless of the number of opportunities, sometimes there’s not much money to be made in certain industries either – and remember, you need to be making at least as much an hour as someone employed in the same job. Avoiding travel expenses may have been a big saving for you, but don’t forget there’s no sick pay, maternity pay, paid annual leave, compassionate leave or pension scheme for you unless you put the money aside to cover these requirements.
The Freelance Life Freaks You Out
Freelancing can be lonely and the only cure for this is to ensure you have a good network of people to communicate with, not just online but face-to-face. If you’re an introvert who finds the ready-made social pool of a workplace very handy and just enough to keep you sane, then having to make the effort to seek companionship and colleagues (of a sort) can be difficult.
Freelancing can also be a life of uncertainty, tension and ups and downs, particularly when you start out. Will you get that job? Was that pitch a winner or could you have written/explained it better?
Did you quote too much – or too little; either way, is that client sniggering as they look at your figures? Have you promised too much? Are they going to ask you to do something you’ve never done before or spout acronyms that you’re too scared to admit you’ve never heard of? Will you earn enough this week to buy food the next?
This kind of solitude and uncertainty isn’t for everyone, and although it’s likely to get easier as you become more established – hopefully, with more regular work and a network of friendly contacts – it can be tough. If you’re stomach is permanently tied up in knots.
You Are Offered a Fantastic Employment Opportunity
Of course, to lure you away from freelancing it will have to be a solid, long-term, fulfilling opportunity that offers some flexibility to weave in other elements of your life, such as family commitments, isn’t it. No? Then it had better offer enough in terms of job satisfaction and a generous salary to compensate for leaving the benefits of freelancing behind!
If, of course, you don’t pine for the security of a regular pay cheque and birthday doughnuts at break time, courtesy of that guy at the end desk who wears the comedy ties, then carry on freelancing for as long as it keeps you happy, healthy and fed!