Rapid growth in virtual businesses is leading to huge opportunity for freelancers
A recent survey of 2,000 UK businesses, by leading freelance sourcing portal Office Cavalry, found that the new wave of ‘virtual’ businesses will help to ‘lift the UK economy into recovery mode’, and lead to an increased demand for skilled freelancers. Nearly 80% of these businesses – which focus heavily on new media, and sales and marketing activities – consist of just two to five members of staff, and half of these use freelance staff to address specific business requirements. Ease of access to freelancers is fuelling the rapid growth in the UK’s virtual businesses, which are thought to number at least 225,000, and technology such as the internet and cloud computing is increasingly providing the low cost software options which make this type of working possible.
According to the survey, virtual businesses benefit from an increase in productivity due to reduced travel time, ease of communication and collaboration due to cloud computing and low cost software and increased profitability due to lower overheads compared to traditional businesses – with the added benefit of easy online access to a worldwide freelance workforce. Commenting on the survey findings, co-founder of Office Cavalry Andy Turner said, “There is little or no physical infrastructure in support of virtual businesses; instead there is a heavy reliance on hiring skilled freelancers, as and when required to address specific needs. The majority of virtual businesses we interviewed use skilled freelancers who come together for specific projects or tasks and then disband, ready to reunite when another suitable job comes along. By going virtual, businesses are saving money as well as having a more flexible approach to staffing requirements, especially in hard times such as this period of recession recovery.”
With these findings in mind, there couldn’t be a better time to think about freelancing for the first time, or taking the plunge if you’ve been considering it for a while. Contracting for freelancing through your own limited company isn’t as daunting as it might seem , and here at SJD we’ve loads of tips and useful guides to help you. Click here to read our new straightforward guide on how to contract or freelance through your own limited company or download our free step-by-step guide to contracting.
There are many different types of freelancers, but in the main they all have one thing in common. They all provide a service or a skill set which their clients could choose to gain access to by taking on an employee instead – with all of the expenses and responsibilities that brings. Particularly suitable for the virtual business surveyed by Office Cavalry. Often, these companies will not be experts at whatever it is that they decide to use you for, so they either employ someone to do it for them, or look for outside assistance from professionals. By freelancing for one or more clients you can generate an income which is often better than a full time employee salary, whilst also enjoying the benefits of being your own boss.
The benefit from your clients’ point of view is that they can gain access to a wide range of services which freelancers provide – and what’s more, they can choose to only pay for these services as and when they need them. This is also ideal for smaller virtual businesses as they generally do not have the budget to employ someone full time, even if initially they might think they want to, and this provides a perfect opportunity for freelancers to show their worth. Using a freelancer is efficient, flexible and cost effective – three things which most businesses today are certainly looking for!
If you have any questions about freelancing or would like any further advice please either contact your SJD Accountant or call our New Client Services helpdesk on 01442 275789 or e-mail email@example.com.