According to Wikipedia *cough*, the glass ceiling is “the unseen, yet unbreachable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements.”
Pretty sucky, right? But increasingly, I’m coming to the conclusion that this glass ceiling is being smashed through by freelancers and the self-employed, who aren’t restricted by the traditional workplaces and career options. While the pay gap in the British workplace may be shrinking, it’s still a big problem that a lot of women and minorities suffer with. But the flexibility and variety of freelance life means that women in particular are able to overcome these income and work barriers.
So, how can freelancing help women in particular break through the glass ceiling?
- Freelancers, in general, are hired based on their talent, qualifications and skillset. Also, on recommendation. That said, a large part of the success of many entrepreneurial women is down to their personal brand – and women are currently leading the boom in post-recession start ups. According to a recent PeoplePerHour survey, “Women are winning 58% of online work advertised, with an average hourly rate of £22.43 when freelancing. In comparison, men earn an average of £21.57, almost a pound less than women per hour.”“Women are winning 58% of online work advertised, with an average hourly rate of £22.43 when freelancing. In comparison, men earn an average of £21.57, almost a pound less than women per hour.”
- Lifestyle businesses, and particularly those aimed at women, are huge right now (just look at women like Marie Forleo, Denise Duffield Thomas and Jo Gifford). Once that brand is established, you can grow your business by working with other freelancers and entrepreneurs. Being a freelancer is a wonderful way to begin a career as a future business owner.
- Freelancing and flexibility go hand in hand, and this is particularly the case when it comes to hours. Rather than having to conform to fixed work hours, freelancers can work around their other commitments, such as childcare or sleeping patterns (some people just work best early in the day or late into the night). This means you can run a business around your life, rather than the other way round.
- The internet has given us far more opportunities than we’ve ever had before. Now freelancers can reach out to a wide variety of clients, rather than being restricted to those nearby. We can also offer a number of different services, so we’re not just limited to one job or one client. Which kind of ruins all those theories that being employed is more secure than being self-employed.
- We can set our own prices. Freelancers, and female freelancers in particular, are now able to set their own prices and raise them. You can charge what you’re worth, as an individual offering a customised service, rather than simply what others in the same job get paid.
- We now have far more success stories to look towards for inspiration. As well as the women I’ve already mentioned, women like Arianna Huffington and Susan Cain continue to inspire women in particular to realise that the sky really is the limit when it comes to earnings and growth.
The time has never been better to go freelance, and it’s the perfect opportunity to achieve the goals and dreams that are limited in an employed role.