With the rise of the gig economy and the trend for employees demanding better workplace environments, it’s only natural to think that the generational shift powering these changes will continue to evolve and change the face of the workplace as we know it.

However, with more and more people registered as self-employed — currently, over 4 million in the UK alone — is there scope for making money this way, or is the shining light of freelance work and the promise of better work-life balance starting to diminish?

Freelance Life

Social Media has undoubtedly played a massive part in romanticising remote working, becoming self-employed and having your fingers in many different pies (thanks, side hustles). Still, is it really all it is cracked up to be? And, should the incoming working generation be eschewing traditional working methods to create their own path and hold their own thing?

Yes and no. Even before the internet, people were constantly creating new businesses, shaking up the workforce and injecting new life into different industries. It is part and parcel of life. Much like the world needs new energy and innovation, the world also needs people to become the workforce and fulfil roles created by others.

But suppose you have a desire and will to push forward with your life and create the perfect freelance lifestyle or run your own business. In that case, it can have a fundamental impact on your life. This post looks at some of the things you will need to consider when looking at your responsibilities as a self-employed member of the workforce.

Work Can Be Irregular

Depending on your industry, work can flow and ebb. It is natural that the market changes, and as people’s needs shift, so will the demand for your services. On top of this, as more people seek to do what you do, the chance to source jobs and work can become scarce and harder to come by. You must consider your ability to adapt to these changes and roll with the inches. Are you able to figure out new avenues for income and bounce back if you take a hit? Or will you struggle in the face of adversity?

Hidden Costs

Whether you are working on the road with a coffee and laptop to hand or you want to set up shop and provide a service to consumers. There can be so many hidden costs to doing it yourself. It can quickly add up from taxes to insurance to the price of simply being able to operate (even if all you need is an internet connection and a laptop). If you aren’t considering these factors and earning enough to cover your basic costs, you can soon become in the red. However, some things, such as van insurance and public liability insurance, are legalities, and there is no way around them. Other times, you can get creative with what you need to pay to reduce these hidden costs.

Time Off

One thing that can take many people by surprise when they become self-employed is how little time off they get. Sure, it can be nice to work from your bed at 5 a.m. and then pick and choose your working hours. But the reality is you still need to work. If you don’t, you don’t have any income; it is as simple as that. And if you don’t have defined working hours, how will you know when to stop? And how do you afford time off? For example, do you really want to take a holiday and work while you’re away, or can you put money aside to cover lost earnings while you are away?

Do You Love It?

Finally, before you even consider making any massive changes to your lifestyle, do you really love what you do enough to do it every day with no motivation from anyone else? This is the question to ask when deciding to become self-employed.

Because when you take away those rose-tinted glasses and look beyond the social media filters, you are left with the passion and drive fuelling you to get up and get the work done every single day. And if you don’t have that, then you won’t succeed. You have to do it for the right reasons, be disciplined and motivated to make this work, or you won’t make the cut. Twenty per cent of businesses fail each year for various reasons. If you are leaving the 9-5 behind to get in on the hustle that is generating your own working life and being the ‘man,’ not ‘ working for the man,’ then you need to have the tenacity to see it through and do what needs to be done.

In short, becoming self-employed can open many doors for you and provide you with the life and career you dream of. If you haven’t stepped back and considered the points mentioned in this post, then you will be doing yourself a massive disservice. However, there is a lot that goes into being successful.