Why women rule the contracting and freelancing world

Thinking of leaving employment behind and going it alone? Find out why women are ruling the contracting and freelancing world.

It may have had a reputation for being a man’s world, but more and more women are discovering the advantages and benefits a career in contracting or freelancing can provide. Especially if you have children or are considering starting a family.

In this blog Jenny Winslow from Intouch Accounting explores the rewards and benefits the world of being your own boss can offer women.

Women are killing it, and here’s the proof

The latest Office of National Statistics reporton the current Labour market economic commentary proves a very interesting read. Whilst men still outnumber women in the self-employed market by almost two thirds – 66.3% (men at 3.29m : women at 1.67m), it’s women who are driving change.

With 9.15m women currently in permanent employment, 6.4m of those women also carry out part-time work (an increase of more than double from 1992 to 2019).

It proves that women are no longer settling for the permanent employment work vs lifestyle balance (which so many of us have been programmed to accept), and to look elsewhere for a fit that’s more suited to their own personal needs. 

So what are the benefits of going it alone?

Freedom, choice, increase in take home pay, greater work vs lifestyle balance, sense of accomplishment, faster professional development…the list is endless!

While the rewards paint a very rosy picture, starting out on your on is nothing short of hard work and graft to get you to where you want to be. But whilst the initial set-up and management can be daunting, if you’re ready for the challenge you’ll never consider another day in permanent employment again.

It also takes guts to leave the security and reliability of permanent employment. You’ll no longer have the safety net of sickness, maternity or annual leave pay. You’ll also find yourself at the mercy of finding your own clients, contracts and ensuring you have the capabilities to manage your own business, finances and time.

While this is all ultimately up to you, there is professional help (such as professional accountants) who are there to help you run the business side of freelancing and contracting, leaving you to get on with your contracts. Nothing worth having comes easy, a saying that was quite possibly invented by a freelancer or contractor! 

But if you’re not quite ready to leave behind the security your permanent job offers, why not try it out as a side-gig first and join the 6.4m women who currently do both part-time and full-time work? 

How can contracting or freelancing compliment a parent’s work-life balance?

If you have children, are planning to have them or the thought has even once crossed your mind, you owe it to yourself to think about how your career can work for you, and not the other way around.

And, while the traditional women’s role may have moved on, there’s still very much the expectation that women should put her children’s care first and career second. Freelancing and contracting allows you to put both first…

You’re free to set your own hours, choose your clients, work from home (or wherever you like) and still be there for when it counts. With the higher take home pay than what you’d expect from permanent employment, there’s a far greater scope for freeing up your precious time, allowing you to spend it with your family, start a new hobby or doing whatever you like!

How do you get started in your new career venture?

Have a think about your skills, what you enjoy doing, and how you can make a career from it. Do some research into the industry that would require your skills and job title – what are they looking for, how much are they paying, is there a lot of competition, and would you be in demand people knew your availability? 

Make use of the resources around you, a good place to start is by having a good look at the Talented Ladies Club website. From starting out support and advice, how to set up a great home office space, telling your boss about your side-gig and budgeting tips for when you’re going it alone – it has everything!

Be sure to also have a chat with other people who’ve already started their career in freelancing or contracting. They’ll be able to give you a whole wealth of advice and support, and quite possibly put you in touch with your first clients. 

Finally, it’s all down to YOU

Taking the leap is scary, but the rewards can be worth it. Once the thought has crossed your mind it’s tough not to explore your options, so why not give freelancing and contracting a go today! Your future self will thank you for it.

Jenny Winslow works for Intouch Accounting, the expert contractor accountancy firm for Limited Company contractors.

Photo by Alexandru G. STAVRICĂ