Whether you’re a student needing to strike a balance between work and study, or a graduate looking to start working for yourself, freelancing can be a good option to consider.
What is freelancing?
Freelancing is a type of self-employment, which means you work for yourself using your skills to provide a service or product to clients. Unlike a 9am-5pm job, a freelancer has the flexibility to set their own schedule, agreeing deadlines with a client and then planning their work time to ensure that they can deliver on time.
Freelancers often work from home or they might rent shared office space like Sussex Innovation.
Important: If you are an international student you cannot freelance while on a student visa. You can still talk to us for advice about your ideas and options. Find out more about what you can do after graduation in the UK.
- Flexibility – as a freelancer you choose the projects that you take on or turn down.
- Creativity – you are permanently exercising creativity, in terms of how you find and keep clients and in terms of the work that you deliver.
- Work/life balance – you set the hours you work and choose when you’ll take holiday.
- Variety – as a freelancer you can be working for multiple clients at any one time. Projects often vary, which keeps things interesting.
- Personal development – as a freelancer you have control over the skills you choose to develop and what you specialise in.
- Be your own boss – as a freelancer you set the direction for the business and make decisions about marketing, strategy and delivery of work. You ultimately hold responsibility for everything from making sure your tax is paid to delivering to your clients on time (and everything in between).
- Finding work – alongside delivering work for your current client, you need to continue to market yourself and put time and resources into securing your next client. Your income can be irregular, especially when you’re starting out and building a client base.
- No holiday or sick pay – as a freelancer you won’t earn money unless you’re working. This means that you’ll need to plan and budget for periods of holiday and sickness.
- Administrative responsibilities – unlike an employee, a freelancer is responsible for paying tax and keeping records of their income and business expenses. A proportion of each week will need to be set aside for this as well as marketing and business development activities.
- Professional development – an employer will often budget for and pay for their employees to attend training and conferences to ensure that their staff members' skills and knowledge are always growing. As a freelancer you need to budget for your own training and build in time for it.
How to get into freelancing
Freelance roles may include (but are not limited to):
- bloggers or vloggers
- personal trainers
- sign language interpreters
- web designers
- dog walkers.
How can we support you
We can support you at any point of your journey as a freelancer, whether you're just considering starting up or already working with clients.
Sign up for our freelancer starter pack, with everything you need to get going!
We also provide workshops and services for those who want to gain useful skills, including problem-solving, team-work, creative thinking and pitching ideas - all relevant to being a successful freelancer!
You can book a one-to-one appointment with a member of the Entrepreneurship team to meet online or face-to-face.
In your one-to-one you can:
- discuss ideas, plan next steps and learn how to develop as a freelancer
- get specialist advice on everything from funding and finance to marketing and intellectual property protection
- access mentors and experienced founders/freelancers who can help you grow
- receive coaching and feedback to keep you on target and reach your freelancing goals
- learn about other opportunities available through the University network.