The freelance life in numbers – what freelancers worry about before taking the leap

As you’ll see if you take a look around our website, we’re fairly passionate about the freelance lifestyle. Whether you’re a creative freelancer, a project manager, a contractor or a small business owner, we love keeping you well-informed on ways to make the most of your chosen way to make a living.

We’ve been running the My Accountant Friend blog now for two and a half years, and during that time we’ve run all kinds of surveys with our readers. These are a great way of helping someone new to the freelance lifestyle understand what they need to prepare for.

This week, to save you having to scrape through the 100+ articles we have on our blog, we thought we’d gather together a few stats so that you can get an easy picture at a glance. Before we begin, however, a caveat: it’s important to remember that these surveys don’t claim to speak for the UK as a whole. They’re very much based on our readers’ opinions.

That said, the My Accountant Friend readers are, in most cases, dedicated, long-time members of the self-employed community in the UK, so their response to our questions come from hard-earned experience. As with most of the things we do at MAF, asking these questions of them is a bit like chatting with an old friend.

What worried you most about going freelance?

While the freelance life brings with it a massive sense of freedom, anybody telling you that they skipped into it stress-free would be telling a bit of a fib. Everyone has concerns, even those that have been in their line of work for years, and unsurprisingly, most of those concerns fall into similar categories.

So we asked our readers what kept them up at night in the months leading up to their big life change.

Naturally, being an online accounting company, we were hoping to see the fear of doing your own accountancy out there on top! But the honest truth is that the majority of people aiming to go freelance are confused about whether to be a sole trader or a limited company.

Knowing this, we’ve built it into our offering. All our clients get free advice on this tricky subject, and we’ll even register your company for you as part of your initial setup.

How stressful is the freelance life? 

As we pointed out earlier, there are lot of things to recommend the freelance life, but if you’re easily stressed out then it might be a good idea to prep for the change by educating yourself a little on what other people have struggled with.

Our readers are a hardy bunch, but 71% admitted to finding the lifestyle stressful to some degree, with 22% saying they found it stressful in the extreme. 49% of respondents, however, suggested that it was manageable (hopefully something to do with the excellent level of accounting they receive!), while 7% said they sail through life without a care in the world. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

Have you had trouble be paid in your freelance career? 

The answers to this question suggest that, at some point, payment issues will almost certainly crop up. Such is the nature of the freelance life that you’ll probably have to spend some of your time chasing payments, and while we can only really help you with your accounting, we do have a spot of advice to offer you over in this article.

Just to give you some idea of how common a problem this is for freelancers, only 2% of our readership said they’d never encountered difficulties with payment. 51% told us it’s a common problem, with the remaining 47% telling us that it’s something that happens occasionally.

How involved are you in marketing your own services? 

The younger generation of entrepreneurs in this country appear to have been born with an innate ability to market themselves, and that certainly showed in this poll. 70% of respondents said they were all over their own marketing, with a further 16% saying that they know a thing or two about how to use social media to push their freelance services.

Meanwhile, 7% told us that they hadn’t a clue where to begin. If you’re one of those 7%, then this article here may help you understand what you could be doing to grow your freelance business through digital marketing.

As we said earlier, these stats are based entirely on our own readership, and we regularly poll our community on matters of freelance living. After all, we started My Accountant Friend out of a similar sense of entrepreneurialism, and we remember well the worries that launching your own company can bring.

If there’s anything you’d like us to poll our readers about, drop us a line and we’ll see if we can work it into our blog.

As always, if there’s anything we can do to help you make the transition to the freelance life easier, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We love to chat, and we’d be more than happy to help.

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