What makes a freelancer? NFD says be brave.

22 Nov

Andrew Chamberlain, Senior Policy Adviser at PCG gives his take on National Freelancers Day 2012…

‘Gumption’ is the word that Alastair Campbell used.  John Niland talked about guts and determination.  Jane Wood and Bill Parsons put it more plainly – ‘courage’.  The panel at this year’s National Freelancers Day were discussing one of the key attributes of being a freelancer.  They agreed that of all the characteristics needed to be successful in freelancing – knowledge, expertise, flexibility, confidence, integrity (to name just a few)  – ‘courage’ is perhaps the most important.

As any freelancer knows, the prospect of leaving behind the security of a salaried position and striking out on your own can be daunting.  It’s not for everyone and there are many who prefer to remain within employment.  They are attached to the holiday benefits, the sick pay, the employee’s rights and of course, to the guaranteed wages that come in every month. Yet, if asked, those same people will very often say they would prefer to work for themselves.  The freedom to pick and choose their own work schedule appeals to them and they covet the autonomy from office politics enjoyed by freelancers.

So why is it that only some people take the plunge?  Our panel of experts believe it all comes down to courage.  The courage to believe in your own skill set.  The courage to take on the responsibility of running your own business.  The courage to spurn financial security in search something better, more fulfilling and more rewarding.  Those rewards can be great, and not just for the freelancers themselves.

A new report by Professor Andrew Burke ‘The Role of Freelancers in the 21st Century British Economy’ shows that freelancers play a pivotal role in the economy.  They are sources of and conduits for entrepreneurialism and the benefits of using freelancers are being reaped by all types of business, from multinational corporations to SMEs.  Freelancers enable innovation which helps businesses grow and in turn drives the economy.

So to the UK’s 1.6 million freelancers PCG would like to say a big thank you.  It is your courage that is helping to push the economy back to growth and that benefits everyone in society, including those very same employees that one day just might take the plunge too.


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