As a marketer, you have a lot of choices when it comes to your career path. Whether this is choosing the perfect industry suited to your lifestyle or becoming an expert in a certain marketing niche. Want to become CMO of a local startup? Go get it. Feel like you’re more of a corporate marketing kind of person? Find your dream corporation and apply. Fancy taking on being a director at an agency? The world is your oyster.
But what happens when you’re questioning your current role and asking yourself, what happens now? Maybe you need more flexibility and time to spend with your family. Or perhaps you just want to travel and don’t want to be tied down to a 9 to 5.
According to a recent report by Upwork, 47% of hiring managers are more likely to hire independent professionals since the COVID-19 crisis than they were previously. The Office for National Statistics also shows an increase in freelance workers from 2001 to 2017, self-employed workers increased from 3.3 million to 4.8 million.
Freelance digital marketing is a great way to develop your digital skills, grow professionally and have an alternative career route. One thing is for sure, freelancing isn’t for everyone but if you regularly find yourself wondering how to get started in freelance digital marketing then this blog is for you (and may give you the answers you’re looking for).
First of all, freelancing isn’t something that should scare you. If anything, it should excite you. There are many reasons that someone would want to start freelancing, it may be that you’re a specialist in an area of marketing in which you can make more money working for clients rather than on a salary. However, it’s also a good way to build up some content for your portfolio while you’re working or even studying.
Freelance work has its ups and downs but working with clients can also be rewarding. You get to take all the credit for the work you do and equally, you have to take responsibility for when things go wrong.
Let’s just get one thing straight: freelancing isn’t for everyone. It brings flexibility and the chance to work on your own terms. But, it also comes with tax bills and having to sometimes work until 2am on a client launch.
If you’re asking yourself questions around how to get started in freelance digital marketing such as “is freelance right for me?” then it may be time to consider the following questions:
Freelancers must have good time management skills to fit everyone into their day, get tasks done and have time to rest too. Meeting deadlines is important as a freelancer too which will require you to stay on top of your workload.
You may be working on multiple projects with a variety of different clients at once which requires multitasking a lot.
When working with clients, they will put their business in your hands and trust you to do the work you’ve promised. Being reliable is a highly thought of trait when it comes to freelancing, so if you know you could deliver on the terms agreed, it’s a great option for you.
This is definitely important when it comes to payment. Freelancers must charge a rate they feel they’re worth. If you’re only just starting, you may want to charge less. However, if you’ve been working in marketing long-term then you’ll want to charge more. The best way to choose your price is to decide on the salary you’d be happy with and then dividing it into hours. Hubspot suggests using the basic formula of: Rate = Annual income/Hours worked in the year. Therefore, if you wanted to be on £25,000 a year, working 25 hours a week that would be 1,300 hours a year = £19.20 per hour. If you wanted to be earning £155,000 per year for the same amount of hours then you’d have to charge £119 an hour.
Technically speaking, yes you can. If you are employed full-time, once you have earned more than £1,000, you have to register as self-employed (or a limited company) with HMRC. However, keep in mind that not all employers are open to their employees freelancing. This is especially true for people working for digital marketing and PR agencies as you can be seen as a competitor. It’s recommended to read through your employment contract and always check with your employer before starting some freelance work on the side.
Completing freelance work can be seen as a second job. While employees do not have a legal obligation to disclose any other employment to their employer, many employers will restrict you from working elsewhere. This is usually via a clause in your contract of employment. Again, it’s worth checking your contract to see what you have to do in this situation.
Tax is dependent on how much you earn. You’ll pay income tax of 20% on all earnings above your personal allowance (£12,500) and below the upper limit of the basic rate, which is £37,500 for the 2020/21 tax year (or £37,700 for the 2021/22 tax year). Crunch has a great article on freelancing and taxes, check it out here.
If you’re interested in pursuing freelancing and being successful on your journey into freelance life, we’d recommend checking out our Freelance Marketing eCourse. It only costs £29.99 and is entirely self-paced which means you can complete it on your own terms.
Use the code BLOG at checkout for 10% off the course price. So far, hundreds of marketers have completed the course to learn more about freelance marketing and many of them have taken the leap. What’s stopping you from doing the same?