2015 will be the year of the freelancer with more workers than ever before choosing to make the switch from 9-5 to anytime goes, according to one seasoned expert in the field. Tom Bendix set up the website freelance-cameraman.co.uk in 2008 and has been freelancing from his London base for almost a decade. In that time, he has witnessed fluctuating changes in business, economic and social conditions and believes that 2015 is the best year yet to make the leap. He has published an infographic which outlines exactly why record numbers will choose to leave fixed employment to be their own boss this year.
He said, “When I went freelance almost 10 years ago, it was daunting. There wasn’t anywhere near as much support available as there is today. But in the last 12 months in particular there have been a number of changes at political and business levels which make for very favourable conditions.”
According to figures from the Office of National Statistics, there were 4.46 million self-employed in the UK In January 2014 (the figure most widely used to calculate freelance numbers). By October, that number had risen to 4.52 million.
Bendix has identified five key factors which will drive the freelancing tidal wave in 2015. The first is the availability of growth vouchers, a £2000 voucher from the government to help finance the cost of growing a business. Vouchers can be used for a range of services including learning about marketing, the digital landscape, how to manage a business, learn sales techniques or fine tune a business plan. Bendix said, “The vouchers reduce the cost of starting or growing a business, offering a powerful incentive for those who have always wanted to do their own thing, to go out and do it right now.”
A second factor likely to drive record numbers towards a freelance career in 2015 is the advent of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill. A unique piece of legislation, the Bill sets out to improve the landscape of small business, with clearer and stricter payment terms that make it easier for micro and start-ups to deal with suppliers and manage cash flow. Announced in 2014, the Bill makes for a much more attractive environment for those considering freelancing to go it alone.
Home business incentives are a third factor set to nurture the rise of the freelancer over the next 12 month. These incentives make it cheaper and easier to run a business from a home office- or even the kitchen table – removing much of the daunting detail and spectre of expense that has put many off working for themselves.
A government procurement target, which sets the ambitious goal of purchasing a quarter of all needed supplies from small businesses, is vital to creating business opportunities for the freelancer. This kind of objective opens the playing field up to freelancers and micro-enterprises, giving them a chance to win profitable contracts without competing with big business who have the benefit of large marketing departments, sales teams and in-house manufacturing.
Finally, giving freelancers a voice in government with the appointment of MP David Morris means more of these opportunities will be created, bringing freelance concerns and a freelance voice to national awareness. Bendix said, “David Morris has promised to be the voice of the freelancer in government and fight for favourable measures for the freelancer, which means that there will be a lot more confidence, a lot more incentive and a lot more support available this year for those who want to make a change. Having worked freelance for many years, I really see this as being the year of the freelance movement.”
Bendix’s site, freelance-cameraman.co.uk was set up in 2008 when he began freelancing as a London cameraman. As a producer, he has collaborated with some of the world’s biggest brands including British Airways, Microsoft and American Express. To find out more and to view the 2015 state of freelancing visit http://freelance-cameraman.co.uk