Diane Hall - The Frazzled Freelancer

Freelancer, Entrepreneur and mother of two...

Freelancers = flexible, affordable, adept, valuable – please get the message out

The UK Government is making it very attractive for private companies to choose freelancers…

…….by causing even more problems for company owners with employees.

New rules have just been announced that all company owners will be forced to offer staff pensions to their staff from 2012.

Although some do this now as a gesture of goodwill and towards the welfare of their employees, smaller business owners, who may only employ a couple of people, could find this a worrying and expensive problem.

There’s so much employment law in place in the UK, a major chunk stemming from the last government, that I can imagine employers are wary of employing someone, either on a permanent or temporary contract.

Sympathy and employee wellbeing costs money, you know…

The hidden cost of employed staff doesn’t just stop at holiday pay.

There’s sickness pay, maternity/paternity pay, bereavement entitlement, paid time off for hospital appointments or family emergencies, parental leave, employers’ liability insurance and probably more.  That’s not accounting for downtime; you know, when work slackens off a little and your staff fill their days filing and surfing the net until it picks back up again.

That’s the costs.  Then there’s the paperwork; sorting out employees’ tax implications and payroll, legal red tape, etc.  This new law which insists pensions must be a part of all this is going to bring more cost and more paperwork.

The benefits of no benefits

Freelancers are the saviour of the employment world and I still don’t understand why employers aren’t banging our doors down, day and night.

Our costs have to be competitive to secure work and even if some fees seem more than the hourly rate paid to in-house staff (sometimes, freelance fees are cheaper than employees’ hourly pay in some circumstances) but once you add in all the benefits mentioned above – that wouldn’t be payable in any way to a freelancer – in most cases, outsourcing the work will be significantly cheaper.

Paying for the downtime also disappears; with a freelancer you pay only for the work they carry out.  If you’ve no work to give them, your money stays in your pocket.  This act alone could save a company thousands of pounds a year.

Potty preconceptions

I once came across a comment about freelancers – I can’t remember where – that suggested freelancers offered less commitment or competence.

Now there may be some freeloaders (I can’t call them freelancers) that think they can make a career either scamming or wasting employers’ time, but the vast majority are committed individuals who would actually go above and beyond what would be asked of employees; if we don’t, we won’t win your repeat business, so we can’t afford to muck about.

We have to stay abreast of technology and trends, simply because if we fail to keep in line or keep up, we marginalise our market and therefore narrow the amount of possible work we can win.  In-house staff can be adept at tailor-made, in-house systems but some struggle when they’re back in the big, bad world and have to learn something new.

Freelancers are constantly learning – each new employer or project will almost certainly have an element or working practice that is unfamiliar.  The fact that freelancers can meet these challenges so successfully is a testament to our flexibility.

It does seem to be a big problem getting this message over to company owners.  After all, we, as freelancers, know what a great deal we’re offering them – but how do we get them onto our wavelength?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this as well as any suggestions/successes you’ve had changing companies’ perceptions.

Freelancers = Flexible, affordable, adept and valuable – please help get the message out!

Tweet it, recommend it, email it, LinkedIn it, Facebook it – but let’s get this message out!

Meet lots of flexible, affordable, adept and valuable freelancers – for less than the price of a meal

Manchester, UK – 9th November

Daresbury/ Cheshire, UK – 19th November

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Written by Editor on November 1, 2010 and filed in Entrepreneurs, Featured, Frazzled Freelancer, Freelancers, Opinion , ,

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