Despite recent green shoots, the UK remains in the worst double dip recession for over 50 years. It seems, however, that being made redundant or losing your job is not keeping Britons down. Record numbers of Britons are transforming their lives and exploring their entrepreneurial side, looking to self-employment or freelancing in order to pay the bills.
With this new hike in freelancing, self-employment allows workers to become masters of their own destiny, doing work they want to do whilst achieving job satisfaction and a better work life balance.
Freelancer.co.uk, the world’s largest website connecting businesses with freelancers, has witnessed an increase in business and freelancers registrations of more than 300%. This is supported by Government statistics, which confirm that although overall employment figures are down, self-employment in Yorkshire and The Humber stands at 12.4%, contributing to record overall UK self-employment figures of 4.1 million or 13.42%.
Freelancer.co.uk figures also show a 70% rise in earnings from the self-employed using the site during the last two months of 2012, compared with the same time in 2011. More businesses in the Yorkshire and The Humber are now employing freelancers through online marketplaces such as Freelancer. A survey of 1000 businesses in the Yorkshire & The Humber found that 56% of small businesses stated that they were more likely to increase their capacity to grow by using a range of skilled freelancers. 60% of small businesses said the added benefits are that as a small business they only pay for services they need, providing them with instant expertise and freeing up their time to focus on running their business.
Freelancer.co.uk also paves the way for greater things, with 33% of their registrants being so successful in self-employment that they go on to set up their own business, with some even taking on their own new recruits. One key example of what can be achieved is Sharon Brogden who has literally transformed her life, from struggling to pay the bills, to a successful, international business with a £360k turnover.
“I stumbled upon Freelancer.co.uk in an Internet chat room as someone said they could listen to my voice all day and had I thought of recording audio books?” Until that point the outlook was very bleak indeed. Now as a voice over artist and agent I now represent nearly 40 other voice-over artists and have just been asked to find the voice of the London Olympics,” Sarah says, who runs the Great British Voice company from her back bedroom.
According to Matt Barrie, Freelancer.co.uk’s CEO, there has never been a better time to start up on your own.
“The numbers of the self-employed are swelling at records rates because of a combination of job insecurity, technological advances that reduce set up costs and sites such as Freelancer.co.uk that provide thousands of jobs and clients in one marketplace,”
He continues: “What’s more, as these new businesses begin to grow they can access a network of skilled freelancers from around the world to support their business. Freelancer.co.uk’s latest figures show that the amount of UK small businesses spending on freelancers is up 134% on last year.”