Recent figures from IPSE found that freelancers make up more than 40% of the self-employed workforce in modern society.
Their study found that, of the 4.8 million self-employed people in the UK, 2 million were self-employed.
These freelancer workers are crucial to the UK economy with £125 billion contributed by them annually. As such, they are a key part of the Scottish business sector too.
When you look into the changing attitudes in Scotland towards work and also what freelancing offers in terms of benefits, then the reason for its popularity is clear.
People now lead increasingly busy and complex lives which do not always fit in with a traditional style job with set hours.
Many need the freedom freelancing offers to meet their daily responsibilities like collecting children from school.
This freedom is in itself a powerful draw which freelancing has to offer Scottish workers.
Many younger people now do not want the standard career path of sitting in an office, working in a job they may find boring and being told what to do by an overbearing boss. Instead, they value work/life balance more and being able to structure their own workload.
If you are thinking of moving into the world of freelancing to take advantage of these benefits, then it can be a very wise move.
It does however require some careful consideration first and some research into how to make it work. But what are the best tips for freelance success?
Decide how your company will be structured
In the rush to get started on creating products or offering services, many freelancers skip this step.
This would be a mistake though as it is crucial to your future success. In simple terms, you need to think about whether to set up an umbrella or limited company to work through.
Each has its own advantages and requirements, so you need to look at what works best for you.
In general terms, working through an umbrella company is better if you earn less, do not want to do your own invoicing and do not want to be an official Director of the company.
Deliver what you promise on-time
The freelancing sector in Scotland is highly competitive especially with the rising number of people moving into it.
This means that your ability to deliver the work or services you promise by any agreed deadline is key.
If you do not, then your reputation will quickly suffer and work will begin to dry up. Trust is key in business and you must do what you say you will to establish yours with people.
Try to diversify your client base
Putting all your eggs in one basket is not ideal when freelancing. The very nature of this work means it will ebb and flow, with sources of work coming and going.
If you only rely one or two major clients for your income, then you are at risk.
If they go out of business or choose to use someone else, then you are left without any money coming in. To avoid this, try to find numerous clients to spread your workload around.
Networking is vital
Business still relies on who you know as well as what you know – this is even more important when freelancing.
Whether you network via popular online platforms like LinkedIn or do it at real world events in your own town, networking is key to succeeding as a freelance worker.
It not only helps to build a network who you can call on for help or advice but it can be a great source of new business. It can also simply be nice to talk to people if you work on your own all day!
Many freelancers across Scotland will work at home and this can be a problem for some. Succeeding in this sector requires you to be a self-starter who can motivate themselves each day. With many distractions on-hand such as TV and the internet, you must be able to shut them out. By doing this, you will complete the work you have scheduled and then have the time to finish early if you like.
Freelancing looks set to make more gains
The broad picture around freelancing across the UK has been one of a steady rise in popularity over recent years. This shows no sign of slowing down with more people not only choosing to work this way but also needing to find fresh ways of working in the modern economy. Freelancing could also see more people enter it if business is hit by the upcoming Brexit plans. Whatever happens, it is sure to be a career choice that many Scots continue to make.