When's the right time to dive into freelancing?

Words, hubbul

Maybe some people have always had an inkling that one day they’d run their own business. You’d think that a fairly big whack of the 2million or so freelancers and in total 4.6million people working for themselves in the UK had a feeling that sooner or later they would be self-employed.

Some people just seem to have that entrepreneurial spirit in their bones, don’t they? Branson, Sugar, Green - it’s almost as if they were born to run their own businesses. And for the entrepreneurs who aren’t born ready - if that is such a thing? Well, they seem to learn pretty quickly on the job.

There’s been a massive change in the way we work here in the UK. The traditional one-job-career is dying a timely death as millions of people take control and start their own business. Decades spent climbing the slippery career ladder are on the verge of distinction.

But at what stage of your life - and your career for that matter - should you make the move from the supposed safety of permanent employment to dive head first into working for yourself?

Well, twenty-odd years the ago, the answer was a simple one. You had to fit a fairly straight-forward criteria. Be a man with a few decades of experience under your belt, a big book of contacts and enough cash tucked away to keep yourself afloat if things don’t go to plan from the off.

But these days it’s a different, and frankly better story altogether. Self-employment in the UK is made up of young and experienced men and women of all ages, working in all professions and industries. It’s no surprise that the UK is quickly becoming known as the self-employed capital of western Europe.

People under 29 make up one of the two fastest growing groups of the independent workforce, shooting up by a massive 38% since 2008. This is closely followed by the +60s, who have seen their numbers rise by 34%. On top of this, the number of women choosing to go it alone grew by a big old 28% in the last year.  Freelancing, contracting, self-employment - whatever you want to call it - has never been more diverse, exciting and important to the UK. 

So, if age and gender don’t play as much of a starring role in deciding when to go solo, what does? Financial security? Perhaps. But unlike times gone by, a start-up doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to get up and running. These days you build a website, register your company and technically you’re good to go. There’s simply no need to lease an expensive office in the centre of town, and have overheads coming out of your ears. Not while you’re just getting started anyway.

It’s now so much easier to become self-employed and easier to work self-employed, regardless of age, gender and occupation. It now just falls on timing, and that’s up to you.

The monotony of a traditional nine to five could become all too much for you at 20 as it could at 50. You could be made redundant and forced to consider working for yourself at 30 as easily as you could at 60. Or, looking at it more positively, a light-bulb moment could strike you at 17 as easily as it could at 70. All that matters is that there's never been a better, more prosperous time to start your own business.

So, in answer to the original question, when should you start your own business if you haven’t already? The answer is actually pretty simple: now.

When did you start working for yourself? Get commenting...

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