With the option of flexible hours, working from home and being your own boss, it’s no surprise that many are turning to freelancing instead of the traditional nine to five for income. To help those looking to start out on their own, a new study was conducted looking at the best locations in the UK to freelance, with Manchester top of the 23 city list*.
The research looked into the number of existing freelancers in the area, the average rates they charge and the number of start-ups looking to utilise local freelancers. To assess the work-life balance of freelancers, the research also looked into local property costs, the number of Wi-Fi hotspots and coffee shops, as well as the general quality of life in the area.
The best locations for freelancers to establish themselves are:
Manchester – The North West city offers the most active freelance economy outside London, with a high number of freelancers advertising and an average hourly rate equal to that in the capital (£30.00). Reasonable housing costs and plenty of Wi-Fi hotspots go towards making Manchester an ideal home for freelancers.
Brighton & Hove – Brighton & Hove is a centre for workers who like their independence, with the highest number of start-ups per capita after London (5,105), giving freelancers plenty of companies to get involved with.
Edinburgh – The Scottish capital offers a chance for freelancers to thrive, with a high average hourly rate of £29.50 and a high life satisfaction score of 7.59 indicating the great quality of life Edinburgh has to offer.
Belfast – Belfast’s strongest selling point is its high life satisfaction scores. Housing prices are also relatively low (£129,950) and the availability of Wi-Fi hotspots is high.
London – The UK capital still ranked within the top five cities, pulled down only by high local average property costs (£635,000) and a surprisingly low number of Wi-Fi hotspots in relation to the size of the population.
The survey also uncovered the main driving factors behind making the move to freelance and the benefits enjoyed: 58 per cent of respondents cite flexible working hours as a key benefit of being freelance, with the average weekly working hours of freelancers surveyed being only 27 – 10.5 less than average full-time work; An improved work-life balance, with 45 per cent seeing it as a major advantage; Escaping the constraints of a company hierarchy, with 14 per cent stating the desire to be their own boss as their biggest reason for going freelance; 14 per cent of those surveyed admit to feeling their previous job was too stressful, indicating that emotional wellbeing played a role in the move.
While freelancing may have its perks and can improve your work-life balance, it’s equally important to consider how to protect your financial situation.
Tom Flack, Editor-in-Chief at MoneySuperMarket commented:
The freedom and flexibility of self-employment is clearly seductive enough to tempt people away from traditional jobs, but freelancers should remember that it also brings a lot of responsibility. Take accounting for tax – a freelancer has many tasks that a company employee doesn’t have to worry about.
There’s also the management of personal finances. A freelancer doesn’t get sick pay or holiday pay, and doesn’t get commonplace employee benefits such as life insurance or critical illness cover – even though they need them just as much. So it’s crucial that freelancers think about the financial products they need and make sure they get the best possible value when buying them.
Life insurance is a nailed-on essential for any freelancers that have dependants. It provides vital financial support in the event of the policyholder’s death, which can make a world of difference at what is inevitably a difficult time for those left behind.