The freelancer and gig economy is growing every year. In the first quarter of 2016, there were 4.7 million self-employed people in the UK. Yet despite this popularity, many people are still unfamiliar with the perks of freelancing.
For the uninitiated, freelancing is a way to take back control of your career, set your own working hours and decide your own earning potential. You find your own clients, bill them for the work done, and take care of your own taxes and insurance.
When explaining to friends and family that you’re a freelancer, you will undoubtedly come up against the following comments at some stage. Would you agree that these are some of the things you never want to hear?
Freelancing doesn’t have to mean sitting at home alone and talking to the cat – but if this is your idea of freelancing heaven, that’s fine too! Some freelancers work in co-working spaces while others will head to the library or their nearest coffee shop to get some work done. Freelancing means flexibility to work from wherever you want to, so if you ever get lonely, you can always find some like-minded people to work with.
As a freelancer, you will often rely on recommendations from friends and family to help grow your business. Unfortunately, this can often lead to some people taking the ‘free’ in ‘freelancer’ far too seriously. It’s not uncommon for people to ask you to do odd jobs for them for free once they learn that you’re a freelancer.
It’s true that many freelancers haven’t started thinking about their pensions, but this is a very personal question that can easily offend people. Saving for your pension might be more difficult as a freelancer, but freelancers aren’t the only ones failing to save for their pensions. A 2016 report revealed that 47% of 30- and 40-year-olds are not saving adequately or at all for retirement, so the problem isn’t only related to freelancers.
Like the pension question, freelancers are also more likely to be prodded with questions about their income. If you live in a big city and have an irregular income, many people will assure your financial situation is a fair conversation topic. A freelancer’s income can vary throughout the year, but you have to assume that people are making enough to live. Otherwise, you can only assume that they value their freedom and ability to set their own working hours far more than money.
This question is popular with your elderly relatives who don’t really understand what you do, but your friends might also fall foul of this question from time to time. There is a strange perception that freelancing is simply a stop-gap career choice or a fancy way to describe unemployment. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Freelancers will know that their career choice is just as fulfilling as any other career path, you just have to learn to dodge the awkward questions.
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