Diane Hall - The Frazzled Freelancer

Freelancer, Entrepreneur and mother of two...

How freelancing can help your local and wider community

It’s the little guys that will get this country out of a big hole….

That’s a line I’ve heard from various politicians and people in the media, talking about how freelancers and small businesses are the key to future prosperity.  This week’s budget seemed to follow this ethos, making life a little easier for those determined to go it alone.

There’s never been a better time to be freelance…

Whilst I wouldn’t suggest every employee turn to their bosses and resign their posts, for anyone thinking of starting up on their own business, there’s far more incentive, information and help than there ever was, to help get your enterprise off the ground.

Every business either sells to other businesses or to the general public.  As they sell more and become wealthier, they, in turn, spend money with different providers and retailers, boosting the economy and growing businesses as the wheel of commerce turns.

Size doesn’t matter

Perhaps your skill set or aspirations are not of world domination, but just a more flexible way of earning a living.  Your idea for a business may not be the ‘next big thing’ or decidedly earth-shattering but as long as you can bring something to the table that your competitors do not, or there is a need for such a service in your area, you’re half-way there.

For example, you may work in a hairdressing salon in the middle of town but know that many of the clients, and other people you meet, long for the convenience of a stylist coming to their home.

Offer a solution to a problem and you’re onto a winner

Therefore, a problem has presented itself.  These customers have money and the need for a mobile service but no one provides that in the area.  The market is there – all someone needs to do is get the necessary tools together, i.e. equipment, a car and insurance, etc. and soak up all the business that’s ripe for the taking.

Perhaps even a sign this promising isn’t enough to make you ‘jump ship’ – why not see if your employer will let you go part-time; that way you can service your mobile clients on the days you’re not working and you’ve a guaranteed income until a time comes that you may need to devote yourself fully to being freelance.  It’s a win-win situation.

There are so many grants and training courses available (many for free) that any fear you may have about keeping your own books, for example, should be easily allayed.  A lot of people may think that being freelance is a lot less secure than a paid job, but with the economy in the shape it is, for the first time possibly – it can be MORE secure to work for yourself – simply because you are in control and can spread your income stream over many clients and opportunities instead of relying on your employer as the only one.

You also have complete flexibility as a freelancer to take time off whenever you want – which points to a better work/life balance.  Sure, you don’t get the paid holidays but you can budget for this and your regular customers are bound to wait for your return rather than go to the trouble of finding another provider.  Remember, if you’re fulfilling their needs at a price that’s competitive and which they’re happy to pay, there’s little worry.

That’s not to say that you can put your feet up and rely on these customers – people move away and other factors influence their custom.  One of the fun things about freelancing is trying to reach new markets.  It may appear scary but it can be addictive, finding out which promotional avenue fits your business the best.

So while I wouldn’t say that freelancing doesn’t have any downsides, there are so many opportunities to earn a better income and bask in your freedom that these often pale into insignificance.  Besides, can you honestly say that working for someone else and abiding by their rules day in, day out, is always a bundle of fun?

Britain was once referred to as a ‘nation of shopkeepers’ and it’s noticeable that this phrase doesn’t hold water any more, due to the conglomerates and empty premises sat on every high street across the country.  We need to go back to providing for ourselves and not relying on others for our prosperity – your nation needs you!

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Written by Alistair Beech on March 27, 2011 and filed in Frazzled Freelancer, Freelancers, Opinion , , ,

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