A quick personal post today, reflecting both on decisions I’ve made recently, and decisions available to you (and an explanation as to why I haven’t been updating this site as much).

For nearly five years now, I’ve been mainly freelancing from home. I’ve had one part-time digital media job during that time and several in-house contracts (usually 4-6 weeks long), but my general preference has been for working from home.

But back in September, I started an employed contract role three days a week with Quest, training graduates and young people in careers skills and social media. It’s a bit of a departure from my previous work in digital media, but that’s part of the joy of this way of life – you can explore lots of different roles, environments and sectors without someone rolling their eyes at your CV. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to work with grads, and I can draw on my experience both as a freelancer working with lots of different companies, and as a recruitment consultant (my first role after university). Plus one of my goals has been to improve my training and public speaking skills – and nothing does that better than standing in front of a bunch of 20 year olds!

I still freelance two days a week from home (oh, who am I kidding, the occasional weekend might be a freelancing zone too). For me, this will be an interesting look into how a part-time job can impact on my freelancing schedule – so far I’ve found, and been told the same by my colleague Jenn, that having less time to freelance means that the days I do get to work from home are far more efficient.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m still hugely passionate about freelancing, and I couldn’t take on a full-time employed role for that reason. In fact, had this role been a freelance contract, it would be even more perfect (it’s far simpler from a tax point of view for one). But I think it’s important for me to honest about what I’m doing.

So, that’s what I’m doing at the moment. In a year’s time, I might be back to freelancing full time, or try out a series of contracts. Who knows? I have a feeling training will become a really strong part of my career future though – it’s a huge buzz being able to help and shape the progress of others.

Do you mix up freelancing, contracts and part time jobs? Let me know how you find it in the comments.


4 Comments on Freelancing, contracts and part time jobs

  1. I don’t generally mix them by having multiple at the same time. (In software development, everybody seems to want workers for 40 hours a week, if not more.) But I do have multiple, sometimes of different types, in the same *year*.

    The ideal is to keep the “contract” income between two limits. The lower is how much covers the shiny toys, conferences, etc. I want to deduct, plus a little so the Tax Man doesn’t call my business a hobby and disallow ALL deductions, retroactively. The upper is how much makes the city want me to pay business taxes. For me, that means between about $5k and $10k (about £3k to £5k). As you noted, “employment” income is simpler for tax purposes. That difference is HUGE here in the US (where the tax code frustrated even Einstein), and presumably similar in the UK. I’ll gladly take that simplicity in exchange for the ability to brag about how much money my “business” (which is really just me) brought in last year. 😉

    • if it’s a job, it’s can be almost no extra paperwork in the UK to what you’d need to do anyway. If it’s a contracted role, it depends on the contract, the circumstances and what UK’s version of the IRS think about it. Again, it also depends whether the contract is under a limited company, sole trader, or if it’s clearly employed work.

      Our tax rules are uber complicated but on the plus side, the forms are a lot easier to fill in than the US ones, we get a sensible amount of time to do it in, and most people who have only employed income don’t even need to do one!

  2. Freelancing is a state of mind imho. 2 days a week, 5 days a week, 3 hours a week, it’s probably only your sofa and the kitties where it’s really changed. Settled income for a while can allow a ‘rest’ period to relax as long as you don’t blow it all! 😉

  3. I’m very much in a place of employment and freelance together. While it’s not ideal at the moment as I work full-time and freelance at weekends, TOIL and days off, I am heading in the right direction. For me I need to feel that I have some financial security, as I get very anxious about money. I know I would catastrophise if I couldn’t pay my rent, bills etc. and it would be bad for my mental wellbeing. You could say that what I’m doing at the moment is going my no favours, but I have an element of control and flexibility until such time that I go part-time at work. I have no intention of completely giving up paid employment and my ideal situation will be 2/3 days employment and 2/3 days freelance. Keep us updated on how it goes and I’d be keen to hear your views on the plus and minuses of this mix.

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