Permanent vs. Freelance

Moving from to permanent

Moving from freelance to permanent can be an effective move if for whatever reason (getting a mortgage, having kids, career progression etc.) you decide you need  more stability and a guaranteed regular income. Or you may just be a bit fed up of being drafted in for certain parts of a project but never seeing things through from start to finish, or not being able to put pieces of work in your portfolio. Additionally you will get paid holiday; expect 20-25 days per year, but you can’t realistically take more than 3 weeks at a time. Sick pay is also a benefit and let’s not forget good old team work, although you should consider how this may affect you.

Freelancers often get used to their own company and freedom. Having to answer to someone and work with the same people day in day out can be a shock to the system. But all of this aside, lets talk money. Probably the hardest mindset change from freelance to perm is money because when freelancers are busy, they earn well. The compensation for this comes in stability; not spending your time worrying about where the next bit of work is coming from, plus you won’t have to spend out on software and hardware. And career progression, pay rises and personal development are all in there too!

Are you considering going freelance?

Or perhaps your’re already on a permanent contract and you’re considering going freelance. Fed up of the same clients and responsibility? Same faces and not enough holidays? Part time DJ and fancy nipping off to Berlin to do a gig when you want? There is definitely a lot to be said for it, and something I have frequently been envious of, especially when my freelancers are off for the quieter winter months to ride a motorbike across Vietnam (swoon). But it is important to think of the other side of things. Planning can be tricky: consider that amazing, well-paid project that comes up and is too good to turn down. Or you may get put in a certain bracket and do the same type of work repeatedly. The world of freelance is competitive and keeping your portfolio up-to-date may be laborious but it’s necessary to keep you front in line for the best projects. As a freelancer you are judged instantly by your portfolio and are often up against 4-15 other candidates, but you will see an awesome cross section of different agencies out there and your network should build quickly. The two most important things to remember if seriously considering going into this:

1) Different times of the year are busier – expect summer to be busier than winter, but this can always change and unpredictability is not to be taken for granted.
2) Don’t enter life as a freelancer without some savings and some equity behind you. You will always need money for a rainy day or a broken MacBook Pro that will set you back a bob or two.

Get some advice

Whatever path you choose, seek advice and consider your current personal position. There is a lot to consider. Will you be a LTD Company Contractor, PAYE or go through an umbrella company? Understand the IR35? No idea what I am talking about? Seek advice from a recruiter or do some research. Additionally there are better times of year to freelance than others which might aid you in getting more work. Leaving a perm role in June when established freelancers are already busy and getting repeat bookings would not be the best idea. On the other hand, giving notice in January/February leaves you in a good position for when March/April kicks off and it gets really busy. And the same goes for the switch to permanent work. You should use your experience as a freelancer to decide what you really want from a permanent job. What type of people have you most enjoyed working for?  What goals are you hoping to achieve by making the move?

Either way, good luck and enjoy it. The good news is – you can always change your mind!

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