small girl big town

Original illustration for Aesthetic by Ella Masters.

Gone is the taboo of the 9-5 job: enter the freelancer way, a world that is, surprisingly, not littered with pyjama days, shoe wardrobes of cosy slippers and extended lunch breaks.

Of course these are perks of the job, but let’s delve into the world of freelancing and break the mould of the atypical day job.

Over 4.2 million people in the UK are self-employed today, and the industry is only growing by the day. Lifestyle shifts paired with the current economic situation means that homebound work-style is less taboo and in turn has become somewhat of an enviable position.

‘The Alternative Day Job’

First things first, that ‘day’ job we’re talking about? Put that to one side for a moment. Freelancing extends to more than sitting at home for eight hours a day, getting up and heading off out without a commute home attached. It requires perseverance, hard work and mounds of self-motivation.

If you are your own boss, you can’t be late for work – right? In turn, there are no hard and fast rules of ‘finishing your lunch break’. Sure, we can take an extra two hours out in the middle of the day, but then we’re up until midnight. The day job? A no-go.

As the UK faces another recession, worryingly the trend is turning to involve part-time self-employment, denoting that while money struggles remain evident, there is no firm encouragement or method to keep afloat of them. On average, self-employed income is more volatile and has even fallen 5% in light of the economic crisis. 14.3% of those that are employed are now self-employed, and within that, only 20% of those are due to a new business or product idea.

What does this mean?

By our terms, self-employment is more unstable than ever…

Read more in Issue 4 of Aesthetic, available to purchase here.


  • Register yourself as self-employed with HRMC.
  • Know what your budget is. HRMC have a great start-up guide on their website.
  • Build a portfolio and website that is clear, directional and branded for you.
  • Say ‘yes’ at every opportunity.
  • Take that two-hour lunch break once in a while.
  • Create a designated work space if you freelance at home. Or make sure you know where the nearest ‘within walking distance’ coffee shop is. Coffee shop miles are not claimable miles.


  • Pigeon hole yourself into a niche at the start of your career.
  • Alienate yourself from other freelancers. They’re a help, not a hindrance. Or competition.
  • Rely too heavily on those oh so cosy slippers. Meeting days will be a shock.

* Statistics from RBS Group, January 2013.

Michelle Chai is a self-confessed colour avoider, avid coffee enthusiast, multi-tasker extraordinaire and, by night, a regular fashion blogger at Daisybutter. She edits Aesthetic (both online and print) and really enjoys her ongoing quest for the perfect knit. FYI, this one came close to nabbing the title.


One thought on “The Ins and Outs of Freelancing

  1. Pingback: Lest you be tempted by the dream of freelancing … | Seymour Writes

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