Self-employment is more popular than ever, and as of May 2021, there are 4.2 million self-employed workers in the UK. Here we look at what it means to be self-employed, the benefits, how you can find clients, and how clients can find you.
You are self-employed if you run a business for yourself and are responsible for its success. You might have several customers, have your own equipment, decide when and where you work, sell goods, or set a price for your services.
Different types of self-employment
There are three legal forms that your business might take if you are considering self-employment:
- Soletrader: This is the simplest form of self-employment. You will work on your own, create your own income, and be liable for debts or losses.
- Partnership: Consisting of a minimum of two people, you hold a share in the business, and your liability and pay are proportional to the share you own.
- Limited company: Your business is in itself a legal entity and is registered with Companies House. There are more tax benefits and rules governing the company.
Benefits of self-employment
There are numerous benefits to self-employment that make it an attractive proposition for some people. You may be interested in self-employment because of:
- Salary: The financial rewards are limitless, and you are in control of your fees, prices, and working hours.
- Location: You can choose to work from home and avoid a daily commute to an office. Working alone, you will also avoid office politics.
- Independence: You are your own boss with creative freedom and control over your finances and administration.
- Flexibility: You can improve your quality of life by setting your hours and working around other commitments, such as childcare or attending certification courses.
Freelance job boards
Freelancers are self-employed and are not committed to one particular client. As a freelancer, you might approach a client for work or advertise your service. Freelance job boards are an invaluable tool where job advertising takes place, connecting freelancers and clients. The top job boards for freelancers include:
- Upwork: This job board has extensive reach with 12 million registered freelancers and 5 million clients. Freelancers from entry-level to expert consultants find short and long-term work on this job board.
- Freelancer: Freelancers win lucrative projects through marketing, showcasing their skills, and competing against others.
- Toptal: A job board for top-tier talent. If you have lots of experience and consider yourself an expert in your industry, you can find work with clients such as JPMorgan or Airbnb once you complete the screening process.
Self-employment has significant advantages, including being your own boss, scheduling your work, and setting your hours. There are also disadvantages, such as no paid leave, social isolation, and fluctuating income. However, if you find the prospect of working for yourself and being responsible for your success attractive, you should give it a go and be your own boss.