Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Advantages of Freelancing As a Career Choice by Greg Dixon

When people think about changing careers they often consider changing not because they dislike the kind of work they are doing, but rather the environment in which they are doing it. It is often simply that they dislike office life or the relationship between employer and employee, or the pressures involved in fixed salaried employment.

This is often the reason that people decide on freelancing as a way to change the direction of their career. They get to stay working in the field of their choice, doing whatever it is that they love; but they also get to dictate for themselves how they approach their job and career, how often they work or go on holiday, or how much time they get to spend with their kids, and most particularly, they can choose the direction that their career takes. Moreover, freelance opportunities have massively increased over the past few years with the end of 'jobs for life' culture and the immediate, global nature of the internet and online employment. As such freelance and contract work is now more sought after and viable than ever before.

And whether you choose to freelance on site or in an office, or like many people, work from home, there are a number of advantages to the freelance lifestyle. Firstly there are the flexible working hours - freelance workers or contractors are often able to choose when they work, particularly if they work from home. Indeed working from home also cuts out the massive amount of time often wasted on commuting. As well as this, contractors and freelancers are able to choose when they take their holidays, and if they have been lucky enough to have had a good few months of contracts they can then choose to holiday for weeks on end!

Secondly, freelancers and contractors get to choose the jobs they take on. Once you are established as a freelancer you will hopefully be able to pick and choose the projects you are interested in and go for the work you enjoy doing the most. As well as this you can choose jobs which allow you to develop new skills sets and gain new experiences to broaden both your career and your cv. Alternatively you can specialize in one area and become an expert or 'go-to-guy' who companies know they can trust.

Thirdly, you are your own boss. You work for no one but yourself. Aside from the great feeling this gives you, you'll quickly see that the relationship between yourself and your clients is far more equal than that between an employer and employee.

Finally, if managed well freelancing can be extremely rewarding financially. The average freelancer rate is normally at least double that of the salaried fixed worker. Moreover because the freelancer runs their own business there are often significant advantages built into the tax system for them to use, from umbrella companies to employee benefit trusts.

With careful planning and research, freelancing or contracting can change your career, or life, for the better.

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