Starting out on your freelance career can be exciting. You’ve got the freedom to be your own boss and can use your creative skills or technical talents as a service. In the UK, in particular, around 4.5 million people are self-employed. Getting set up and started is one thing, but you also need to know how to find freelance work in the UK.
In this post, we’ll look at different ways to find freelance work here. You can work as a freelancer in almost any field, such as writing, design, development, marketing, teaching, or consulting. You can also set your own rates, hours, and projects. After you’ve worked that side of things out, it’s time to source some work.
It’s important to establish your growth plan as well as set your pricing structure as a freelancer. You’ll need to do this before you even start looking for gigs. Ensuring you’ve planned for financial stability is crucial when considering the kind of jobs to look for. Try to keep in mind the level of uncertainty that comes along with freelancing. Don’t be afraid to factor that into your pricing structure when evaluating work opportunities.
Know your worth, and be confident in the value you can offer to clients. With that in mind, there are a couple of affiliate links in this post to places that can help you find freelance work in the UK.
How to find freelance work in the UK
It can be tempting when you first start freelancing to take any paid work that comes your way. In the beginning, this seems like a good idea. However, you want to try and research your options as much as possible before launching into your freelance career. Some ways of finding freelance work in the UK are better than others. You need to know where to draw the line with your services and pricing, to ensure you don’t end up being taken advantage of.
With that said, there are some key ways to kickstart your search for freelance work. Here are some tips and resources to help you find freelance opportunities, land clients, and grow your freelance career.
Some of these will work better for you than others, but it’s worth exploring the options and seeing which method feels right for you.
Online freelancer platforms
One of the easiest ways to get started with freelance work is by joining online platforms and marketplaces. These specialist services connect freelancers with clients who need a specific service. All you need to do to get started is to create a profile, share a portfolio or samples of your work and set prices for your services.
You’ll need to ensure you craft a compelling listing for yourself on these platforms. Research other freelancers offering similar services to you and see how you can improve on that. You want to attract clients, so ensure you design an attractive and well-written profile, with useful services that are priced appropriately.
One of the best freelancer platforms to get started on is probably Fiverr. It’s an incredibly well-established marketplace and has a wide variety of categories for you to provide services in. You’ll also get paid online immediately following the completion of your work.
Other freelancer marketplaces to try include PeoplePerHour, Upwork and the aptly-named Freelancer.
Develop professional credibility
One way to generate more interest in the work you do is to establish your professional credibility. This can lead to increased interest from potential clients or those in a position to offer you some regular work.
Consider contributing to collaborative articles on LinkedIn, for example. Adding your insights and expertise on an area of interest can establish you as a thought leader in your industry.
You might also want to invest time into specialist social networks such as Reddit and Pinterest. Establishing yourself with a YouTube channel is another way to regularly share insights into the work you do and develop your professional skills.
Involving yourself in online community discussions and sharing thoughtful and useful content for others could convert into paid opportunities. Whilst it isn’t necessarily a fast strategy, developing your professional credibility is extremely worthwhile if you want your freelance career to last.
Signing up for regular newsletters and email roundups for freelancers is an excellent way to find freelance gigs in the UK. There are a few notable subscriptions worth adding to your inbox, as they’re packed with regular opportunities.
The ones included here are aimed specifically at freelance writers. However, there are bound to be other, industry-specific newsletters for those of you in other fields. Do some research and sign up for the ones that are most appropriate for you.
Some great freelance writing newsletters to sign up for include Freelance Writing Jobs, Media Beans and Journo Resources Weekly. There’s also Where To Pitch, which drops a load of freelance opportunities into your inbox once a month. These newsletters share a variety of jobs and freelance gigs that are worth looking into.
Develop a portfolio website or blog
It kind of goes without saying at this point, but if you’re offering a service then you need somewhere to showcase your skills. Whatever your freelance niche might be, you’ll want to develop a portfolio website or start a blog of your own. To attract clients online, you need to have a strong digital presence. That means putting some time into developing your personal branding and applying that to your website. You want to ensure that it’s professional, user-friendly and conveys your skills clearly and confidently.
If you’re not sure about how to start your own website, you can use website platforms like Squarespace, Wix or the free version of WordPress. Personally, though, I’d genuinely recommend buying your own domain and hosting and building your own site.
There are loads of online tutorials on how to do this, and it’s worth putting the time into it for the overall ownership of your website and its content. As an aside, you can hire me to help you with this, so get in touch if you’d like to know more about that.
Put time into networking
It might not be a direct way of finding paid work straightaway, but networking is crucial to your longevity. Put time into developing your contacts and professional connections as a freelancer.
It’s a fantastic way to build relationships, as well as get referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations from trusted sources. The more people get to know you and your work, the more trust and professional credibility you’ll develop.
Networking online is straightforward, but it’s important to be authentic and consistent. Use social media carefully too, in a way that’s relevant to your field of expertise. LinkedIn and Pinterest are both excellent platforms for making connections with like-minded people, as well as for sharing your content and services.
If applicable, you can also be a visible presence at offline events. Traditional networking at workshops, events and industry-related meetings and talks is still a great way to develop valuable connections with others.
Sign up for jobs digest emails
Along with newsletter subscriptions, it’s worth signing up for regular jobs digest emails. Use Indeed to search for freelance jobs in the UK, and then set an email digest for your search. You’ll get regular emails with a roundup of opportunities in the industry you searched for.
You’ll probably have to comb through them for ones that best suit your working pattern. Some will be on a contract basis, others will be fully or part-time employed roles. They’re still worth looking through though, as lots of short-term and day-rate work is included in the roundups.
Other places you can do this include LinkedIn, TotalJobs UK and Reed.
Other ideas for how to find freelance work in the UK
A huge part of finding freelance work is sourcing the right kind of opportunities. Putting the time into researching where you’ll find the best freelance opportunities is worth it at the beginning of your self-employed career.
It’s always important to read the small print when it comes to taking on freelance work. Especially for new freelancers, be sure to never undertake work without a contract, or to begin without any kind of upfront payment if you’re doing work for a private client.
Protect yourself and your intellectual property and ensure you’ve set up your business banking and accountancy software correctly.
I’d love to hear from you if you have any other ideas about how to find freelance work in the UK. Let me know in the comments if you’ve got any suggestions or recommendations.
If you’ve found this article helpful then please give it a share or a pin on Pinterest. You might also enjoy this post on how to network as a freelancer, as well as my board on freelancing on Pinterest.