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Freelancers: What makes them tick (and why we love ‘em)

“Freelancers make the world go round.” OK, so that might be a bit of a stretch, but freelancers definitely help to keep our world at Word Monster spinning on its axis. Not only do we employ a team of permanent writers (who, incidentally, work as freelancers for other Med Comms agencies), but we also have a trusted and ever-expanding network of freelancers whom we can call on using our very own Bat Signal (AKA: Sarah on her phone).

Why, you might ask? Well, working with freelancers means we can pull in extra resource as and when we need to, affording us the agility to adapt to situations with ninja-like flexibility. Imagine all the rigmarole and red tape we’d have to wade through if we needed to hire a full-time member of staff every time there was a last-minute request from a client? Absolute nightmare. With help from our freelancers, we’re more equipped to address urgent and short-term needs from our clients. It also means we can call on writers with more niche skillsets when the need arises, rather than handing the project to a writer who may be less comfortable taking on the task. We’d never try to force a square peg (reluctant writer) into a round hole (unsuitable project)!

And it seems like our love for freelancers is matched by a growing trend in the number of people opting to go freelance. In June 2019, it was estimated that of a total ~4.8 million people who were self-employed in the UK, 42% were freelancers, constituting 6% of the UK workforce as a whole.1 While this percentage by itself might not seem like a massive portion of the pie, this was a whopping 55% increase from 2008.1 Freelancing is undoubtedly growing in popularity, but what exactly is it that makes someone want to trade in the security of a traditional 9-to-5 for something typically seen as a bit “risky”?

Flexibility and Freedom Are King

In one UK survey, flexibility and freedom were by far the biggest reasons to go freelance (accounting for 45% and 25% of decisions, respectively).2 Freelancing affords people the flexibility to fit work around their lives, not the other way around. It means that rather than rushing around to sort out childcare or fighting to book the coveted evening slot at the dentists after work, you now have the freedom to dictate your own working terms, and set clear boundaries with the client. Unsurprisingly, 91% of freelancers from the same survey also said that since going freelance, they had noticed an improvement in their quality of life.2 Time is a precious commodity, cherished by everyone; freelancing simply offers the promise of more control over how you spend it. And perhaps that most elusive of creatures, the work-life balance, isn’t so elusive after all?

Focus to Pursue What You Love

Making the decision to leave an office also means making a conscious decision to leave behind some of the day-to-day bureaucracy that employees normally have to deal with and keep the focus on what you really love – the work. Whether it’s writing, designing or programming, going freelance means you’re essentially able to dedicate (almost) 100% of your time on actual deliverables. This may not be for everyone, but it’s easy to see why it appeals to so many.

And if we go back to that analogy of square pegs and round holes – freelancing also offers more choice about what you work on. This means that you can be selective and pursue your passions, and pick the projects that really get your blood pumping. Similarly, you’re able to perhaps be a little more selective about who you work with, and filter out the not-so-nice clients from the ones that genuinely put a smile on your face.

Freelancing is more than just a fad, or a by-product of the way the working world has changed over the past year. Freelancers and freelancing are at the beating heart of Word Monster; so, perhaps saying that freelancers make our world go round isn’t so much of a stretch for us, after all.  

References

  1. https://www.thehrdirector.com/features/flexible-working/rise-freelancer-self-employed-spikes-people-seek-flex3322019/ Accessed February 2021.
  2. https://getdinghy.com/blog/freelancing-in-2020-state-of-the-industry-a-dinghy-survey/ Accessed February 2021.