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So you want to start out on your own?

The pandemic has diminished our sense of job security. A rise in redundancies and an uncertain business climate have left many professionals questioning their career. For these reasons starting out on your own you could be the answer, and now could be the perfect time to pivot.

By the end of last year the Office for National Statistics reported that there were over 5 million self-employed people in the UK. Freelance working is becoming increasingly popular with professionals, who are embracing the benefits of being their own boss and all that the gig economy has to offer.

Here we guide you through some key considerations before making the leap, as well as highlighting actionables that will give you the best shot at freelance success.

Know the risks...

The risks of starting out on your own will vary greatly depending upon your circumstances. The biggest is sure to be the impact on your income. Know your finances and have a fall back plan for any periods of low or no income. At the planning stage it can also be helpful to set out how you intend to get work, and any existing connections you can tap into.

As well as preparing yourself for challenging times money-wise, you should spare a thought for your well-being and lifestyle. The pandemic has given us a crash course in the remoteness of remote working, and freelance working pushes this to the next level. Without colleagues to message on slack, or regular Zoom meetings there is a real risk of loneliness. This can be detrimental to your productivity as well as your health, therefore is worth addressing when you're preparing yourself to make the leap.

Perhaps you have been freelancing on the side whilst working, in which case the jump is going to be far less daunting. For others, self-employment is going to be new territory. Either way it is well worth taking the time to consider the risks involved.

...but also the rewards

Whilst at the research and forward planning stage you should also look at the rewards freelance working has to offer, such as the average salary and earning potential. Consultancy day rates, for example, tend to be far higher than you’d make in employment.

It may also be worth seeking the insight of others, perhaps someone you know personally, who has transitioned to self-employment. Their perspective can be invaluable, and they can likely offer tips and guidance for starting out as well as for making it work long-term.

Whilst there are sure to be challenges, the counter argument is that starting out on your own is now easier than ever before. In a monumental shake up working from home has made professionals evermore resilient and industry’s eyes have been opened to remote employment. The gig economy suits a lot of businesses who benefit from short-term or project-based employment of freelancers, and organisations are much more ready to work in this way.

Invest in yourself

The biggest advantage you can give yourself as a freelancer is investing in yourself. You could upskill with a management training course, expand your knowledge with relevant industry websites, or simply assign yourself time for networking – in person or on LinkedIn. There is no better time to work on your professional self than when starting out on your own.

A broad range of business knowledge can put you a step ahead when shooting to win work. Learning more about a company or industry is always going to be good use of your time. There’s a wealth of industry insight and expertise in blog articles, industry magazines, webinars and TED Talks, so make a habit out of reading and researching.

There is strong demand for professionals who can combine deep knowledge of the industry with high level expertise in the core skills of their role. And so, training and upskilling can be hugely advantageous. Our PRINCE2 courses are perfect for evidencing your competencies. You gain consistency in processes and the ability to speak a common language with PRINCE2, and they are widely recognised in the industry. Not only do additional qualifications make you more appealing to a potential client, but they also provide you with technical skills that are greatly valued.