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Freelancers reveal the best (and most annoying) things about going self-employed

2-minute read

Sam Bromley

Sam Bromley

4 July 2018

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Lots of Brits are making the move to freelancing. While the choice comes with amazing freedom, you may also have headaches you don’t find in traditional employment.

To discover the biggest perks and the most frustrating peeves, MoneySupermarket surveyed freelancers about their choice of working style. This is what their research revealed – does it chime with how you feel?

We’ve also got ways you can beat the annoyances at the bottom of this article. Read on for more.

Most believe freelancing is a positive career choice

The good news is that, despite the challenges, almost two-thirds of freelancers think that going self-employed was a good career move. What’s more, only 10 per cent actively regret it.

The large number of people praising the move could have something to do with the frustrations of working full-time for an employer. The biggest hates for the freelancers surveyed were:

  • Commuting (13.6 per cent): studies suggest a daily commute negatively affects your wellbeing, so it’s no surprise to see that travelling to work was the top pet hate
  • Stress at work (13.1 per cent): in 2015-16, over 480,000 people said that work-related stress was making them ill, according to Acas
  • Not being your own boss (9.4 per cent): the ability to choose the clients you work with is a big plus for freelancers

The top 3 benefits of being a freelancer

For the freelancers surveyed, it’s all about flexibility. Instead of being tied to a desk for a set number of hours and working for one company, freelancers enjoy the control that they have over their projects.

The three best things about freelancing for those surveyed were:

  • Flexible working hours (59.6 per cent): freelancers juggle multiple deadlines, but they can work on projects when they want – no more clocking in at 9 and leaving at 5
  • Being your own boss (42 per cent): freelancers enjoy being responsible for their own success, without a manager looking over them
  • Flexibility over which projects you work on (39.6 per cent): this ties with being your own boss, as you can enjoy variation in your work

The 3 most annoying things about being a freelancer

It’s an unfortunate truth that some of the benefits of being a freelancer come with downsides. Where there’s flexibility, there can also be stress and inconsistency. For the freelancers surveyed, this was mainly around finances.

These are the top three frustrations:

  • Inconsistent cashflow (57.8 per cent): with no fixed wage, it can be difficult to manage your money – and late payments from clients don’t help
  • Being responsible for finding your own work (37.6 per cent): it can be difficult to find work as a freelancer, with networking and growing your contact base being massively important
  • No company pension (29.8 per cent): less than a third of self-employed people are paying into a pension. We have a guide to pensions for the self-employed, which should help if sorting one out is still on your to-do list

How to beat freelancer frustrations

  • When it comes to cashflow problems, it helps to have payment terms that are as clear as possible. If you’re chasing late payments, we have tips on how to write a late payment letter, which should help you get paid sooner rather than later
  • Freelancing is as much about building relationships as it is perfecting your craft, and nurturing your contacts is key to finding your own work. Attend events that will get you noticed. And, if you haven’t thought about building your own website and content strategy (a blog, for example), this can help elevate your brand and establish you as an expert in your field
  • Self-employed people need to think about their pension much more than employees, who can look to schemes like auto-enrolment to help them save. Personal pensions let you choose your pension provider and how to invest your contributions – read our guide for more information

Looking for freelancer insurance?

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Sam Bromley

Written by

Sam Bromley

Sam has more than 10 years of experience in writing for financial services. He specialises in illuminating complicated topics, from IR35 to ISAs, and identifying emerging trends that audiences want to know about. Sam spent five years at Simply Business, where he was Senior Copywriter.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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