As a working mum, going freelance give you the freedom to use your skills and experience in a career you love, while working on your own terms and controlling that precious work-life balance.
But, while freelance jobs can seem to offer so much if you have the courage to make the break from permanent employment and go for it, it can also be a scary proposition for some people.
To help you decide if freelance work may be the right choice for you, we look at six of the most common reasons people give for not going freelance – and why we think they’re not always right.
1) I need more security than freelance jobs offer
At first glance freelancing may indeed seem the more risky path to take if you need financial stability, but the truth is that today very few jobs are truly secure. If all your income is reliant on one permanent employer and their company gets into financial difficulties or your role becomes redundant, you could suddenly be left with nothing.
While it’s true that freelancing can have its ups and downs, most freelancers try to spread their workload among a number of different clients. So even if one client stops needing their services, they can still rely on income from the others until they can find new clients.
With careful planning, a freelance career can potentially offer more security than a permanent position.
2) I can’t run my own freelance business
The simple fact is that none of us are born business people. The only way to acquire business skills is to learn them. And a freelance business is an easy way to dip your toe in the water and get started as a working mum.
Getting started as a sole trader or setting yourself up as a Ltd company is very simple. With the right advice you do it yourself. Or if you need a bit of help, you can easily get an accountant to do it for you.
3) I can’t afford to make the leap to freelance jobs
It’s true that it can take a while to build up a freelance client base. But if you can’t afford to be without an income for a short while, you can choose to get your freelance career started while working – especially if you work flexibly.
If you’re prepared to work in the early mornings, evenings and/or weekends, you can start building a freelance business slowly, making contacts and establishing a reputation while having the security of a reliable income. Then, once you feel more confident about your prospects as a freelancer or have enough clients, you can quit your permanent job and begin your new freelance career proper.
4) It’s not a great time to be a freelancer
It may seem crazy to consider going freelance in a recession, but it is in fact a great time to make the leap. Most businesses need to cut back on costs when times are tough, which makes a solo freelancer with no overheads a cheaper and more attractive option than larger companies offering the same services.
Not only can you offer a more cost-efficient service, but you can also provide greater flexibility. Many working mums turn the fact they work at home to their advantage, working on projects for appreciative clients out of hours, including at weekends.
5) I don’t have the skills to go freelance
You don’t need to be brilliant at everything to succeed as a freelancer. The trick is to work out what potential clients need, and how you can offer it. Most busy freelancers have identified a niche for themselves and work hard at being brilliant at it. And like most things in life, you may not be 100% perfect when you first start out, but you’ll learn over time and build on the skills and experience you have.
So have a think about what it is that you do. Not just your job title, but all the little things you do to get your job done. What are you good at? What do you enjoy? What particular talents do you have that make you brilliant at certain tasks? And how could those tasks benefit a potential client? When you understand exactly what you can offer, you’ll feel more confident about convincing clients that you can help them.
6) I don’t know how to find freelance clients
Thanks to social media, it’s actually never been easier to find freelance clients. So if you don’t have a social media presence and you want to go freelance – get joining (don’t forget to join our club and network with other working mums). Many freelancers depend on LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs to help promote their services and attract clients.
Don’t be afraid to network – get in touch with anyone you know who may know potential clients and let them know you’re going freelance and what services you offer. Get a website built outlining your skills and services and let people know how to contact you. Tell as many people as possible about it.
There are also a number of online freelance directories that, for nothing or for a small monthly or annual sum, will let you put up a profile. Often these directories can be found on the first page of Google if you search for the skills they offer, so if your own website doesn’t have great SEO, they can be an essential way for new clients to find you.Hannah Martin