Published 2. August 2019

Why go freelance?

Freiberuflicher freelancer

“Freelance” sounds smart. The word suggests freedom, adventure, an awakening. Who doesn’t want to be free instead of being tied down and employed? Plus there is a chance of earning more! Particularly in sought-after, specialized professions surrounding IT, engineering, SAP and programming some manage to really hit the ground running.

Is it always that easy? The German equivalent sounds more matter-of-fact than “freelancer”, it would directly translate to “free employee”, which also tells a different story: For instance, if you are free you will, once the company in plunged into crisis, lose your job a lot quicker. Freelancers’ liberty involves both elements, the liberty to win and the liberty to lose.

Let’s have a brief look at the most important benefits of being freelance:

Freelancer benefit no. 1: Independence

Freelancers are not tied into traditional employee and employer structures. They work beyond this structure. This means more independence, personal fulfillment and, in a best case scenario, free thinking. However, if freelancers rely on a sole customers, much of their praised freedom can be at risk. If they work for several customers, they need to efficiently manage their time to make sure all orders are taken care of as requested. Does being in demand make you feel happy or stressed? Maybe a bit of both?

Freelancer benefit no. 2: Deciding about details yourself

Freelancers go on vacation whenever they want. They decide on when to purchase that new monitor or company car. Freelancers make their own schedules. Ideal if you like lie-ins or prefer to get up early. Freelancers work when it fits in with their schedule and benefits their well-being and psyche. Taking the laptop to the café? There are many options. Sounds great and (often) also rings true. However, ultimately their SAP, engineering, or programming project must be a success. Liberty involves a great deal of discipline.

Freelancer benefit no. 3: Earning more = feeling more valued

Especially freelancers in IT and engineering are paid very well. Usually, they earn more than employees. Freelancers can define their own hourly rates to a certain extent. If the order situation is on the up, they can even reject unprofitable orders. That’s a great boost to self-confidence and makes us happy. However, as a freelancer you should never forget: Freelancers must also cover higher expenses, for instance for office equipment, expenses or tax advisors. They are responsible for their own pension, take precautions in the event of illness or get through times in which work is scarce. And then the tax office also wants a piece of the pie. If you manage to price all that into your rates and save up, you will be better off in the long run.
Here are some tips on how to correctly issue invoices as freelancers.

Freelancer benefit no. 4: low levels of investment

In many cases, training as an engineering, IT or SAP expert is not easy. However, once you graduate – or have gained plenty of professional experience and references if you haven’t enjoyed higher education – initial investments for freelancers are not too high, plus they are classed as business expenses. Consequently, if you correctly assess your own services, skills and expertise, but also your character, discipline and market, you are generally at a low risk.

The right recruitment agency can make freelancers’ start to their career easier

You face plenty of new things as a specialist launching into a freelance career. You need to start thinking like an entrepreneur, plan in the long term, keep an eye on income and spending, and your tax return will be more complicated. You should also acquire new customers, calculate hourly rates and other terms as well as maintain contacts. In terms of the last four elements you need to check whether it may be helpful to fall back on professionals from the respective field.

Westhouse Group is one of the leading recruitment agencies and the experienced specialist and partner for IT specialists, engineering, SAP, and other technical and scientific experts. We can give you non-binding information on how we can set you up with appealing start-up projects to make your launch into your freelance career easier. Visit our page for candidates. Contact us. We are here for you.

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