Guest blog post by jrc.agency associate copywriter, Gabrielle Whitehead.
Testament to the prolific rise of freelancing in recent times and the enterprising job freelancers do for the economy and business community, is the fact that each year a day is dedicated to mark, recognise and celebrate freelancers.
The aptly-named ‘National Freelancers Day’ (NFD) is now in its ninth year. National Freelancers Day is taking place on Thursday 8 June 2017. Freelancers, in their various guises, will gather at King’s Palace in Central London to celebrate the UK’s most enterprising independent professionals.
The NFD event includes seminars, masterclasses and workshops, all providing tips, advice, experiences and strategies on various features associated with freelancing. Such as how to win work, setting and maximising rates, working independently in a post-Brexit world, and much, much more. A stellar panel of freelancing experts will share their tips and advice at the NFD event.
NFD is organised by the IPSE, a self-employed and freelancer association, which represents 68,000 independent professionals across a wide range of industries.
The rise of freelancing in the UK
Freelancing is on the rise. In 2016, freelancers contributed £119 billion to the British economy, a £10 billion rise from the previous year. The number of people freelancing in the UK has now topped the two million mark and the freelancing community continues to be the fast-growing area of the wider self-employed population in Britain.
Some of the fastest-growing freelance occupations include health roles, which have seen a 191% increase since 2008, as well as professional media, literary and artistic freelance roles. Those freelancing within the sports and fitness industries have seen a whopping 103% increase since 2008.
The freelancing ‘epidemic’ the economy and business community in Britain is enjoying is pinned on a number of factors.
A rise in remote technology and telecommunications that enables independent contractors and businesses to work together efficiently from remote locations is hailed as a key driver in the rise of independent working. Co-working space, whereby professionals share a communal office and enjoy the perks of an office environment without being rooted to a specific employer, is also contributing to the thriving freelancing community.
The demand for greater flexibility and a more balanced mix of life and work, which allow parents to spend more time with their children yet still benefit from a full day’s work from the home office, is another underlying factor that’s associated with the rise of independently-working freelancers.
The benefits of the agile agency model
The traditional full service agency model structure included a completely in-house creative team, with designers, developers and copywriters all employed full time for one agency. While some larger agencies still follow this model, many agencies now choose a more agile model: with a smaller in-house team supported by an extended network of talented freelancers.
This model of working enables freelancers to work with different agencies and develop a wider range of experience working with many clients. It means agencies can call upon the best person to work on a specific project and create a bespoke team for each project. This ensures fresh, new creative ideas are always being brought to the table. And it also allows agencies to minimise the costs associated with staffing a permanent team, a saving that can be passed onto clients.
Many freelancers prefer this “portfolio career” style of working as it gives them flexibility, while also delivering them a consistent and regular workload through the agencies they build up a good relationship with.
I’m quite lucky in the sense I can literally take my work with me when I go on holiday, as all that’s needed in my trade is a computer and a Wi-Fi connection! That said, I’ve not managed to have a fully non-working holiday since becoming a freelancer!
How I work with jrc.agency and what we do to keep ideas fresh
I’ve been working with jrc.agency since 2014, managing content projects and copywriting for a number of retained clients, as well as undertaking ad hoc content work and projects. This includes blog writing, social media content, as well as researching and writing content for online PR and linkbuilding/outreach campaigns.
I love doing what I do – having the freedom to set my own hours, work from where I want to and essentially be my own boss, enables me to work around school runs and looking after my two young sons, something which parents in full time employment, often miss out on. There’s no commute to work and I have more control over projects and choosing who I work with.
I normally work from home, so I do sometimes miss the office banter! But I meet regularly with the jrc.agency in-house team to discuss projects. Working closely with the agency team keeps my digital knowledge up-to-date and means we can spend time thinking up new creative ideas for client campaigns.
For example, every 1-2 months the whole team gets together for a full day of learning and creative time. We recently explored how Facebook adverts analytics data and user experience mapping (for website development projects) can be used to inform the content strategy, eg through creating buyer personas and targeted messaging.
In summary, freelancing is definitely for me, as it is, I suspect, for the two million other freelancers that are currently enterprising the UK economy.
Developing great working relationships with the likes of the fabulous team at jrc.agency enables me to work independently and have the freedom and flexibility to work when and where I want to!
Happy National Freelancers Day!
For more digital marketing tips and advice, sign up to the jrc.agency blog.