This report has been produced by PCG, the professional association supporting the interests of freelancers in the UK. It provides an insight into the varied approaches being used by freelancers to achieve their professional and life goals.
For the purposes of this report we have pin-pointed seven business models being used by freelancers to commercialise their services. In reality freelancers are likely to move fluidly between these seven business models, often merging several of them together. However, we hope that by dividing them into a simple list, whether you are a new or established freelancer, you will be able to take a step back from the day to day delivery of work, have a look around and take in what other people are doing. Is there anything in here you could apply to your own situation? Or could it serve as a reminder to implement something you had already considered, but temporarily forgotten about?
As a rule people tend to move into freelancing once they have developed an expertise in their particular area as an employee first, as demonstrated by the fact that 92% of PCG’s 20,000 members are over 35 years old. This report doesn’t therefore cover how to acquire the relevant expertise. It is more about different ways of applying the expertise you already have.
Of course this document is just the tip of the iceberg – it is designed to focus the mind and to provide a signpost of where to look for further information, with relevant links where appropriate.
The content is based on the results of three initiatives launched by PCG in the runup to National Freelancers Day 2010 as follows:
1. The top tips campaign
Freelancers were invited to submit their best advice for other freelancers on starting out, running and growing the business, client handling and working with freelancers.
2. The Mastermind Sessions
Groups of freelancers gathered around the UK to brainstorm career building strategies. Events were held in Manchester, Brighton, Edinburgh, Bristol and Watford. People came from very diverse backgrounds; engineering, film, graphic design, project management, IT, PR and change management, to name a few. You can see some of the freelance success strategies that the groups came up in edited highlights on video here.
3. The Ying-Yang survey
In November 2010 PCG conducted the largest survey of its kind – 1624 freelancers and 668 clients participated.
They were asked parallel questions to find out how closely the thinking matched between clients and freelancers. The results are available here.
The feedback gained from these initiatives captures the collective experience of the freelance community, providing a fascinating snapshot of the imaginative ways that freelancers use to free up their potential.