The working world is changing and more employees are choosing to leave full-time work and go it alone. IT is particularly popular among freelancers, as it provides many opportunities to work outside of the traditional office environment. When you become a freelancer, you can choose when to work and who to work for, providing for a better work/life balance.

People with IT skills, particularly those working in a consultancy or development role, are in demand from businesses across the globe. Advances in technology, including faster internet speeds and video conferencing capabilities, mean that there are fewer restrictions on where you can work.

Before you jump into the freelance world, it would be beneficial to look at the contracting market and see what positions are available for someone with your skills and experience. This will also enable you to see what rates of pay they attract, so you know if it’s a viable option for you.

Some IT skills are more in demand than others and will have greater availability and higher pay scales. The skills that businesses are currently looking for include Microsoft SharePoint, C# and .Net, Office 365, Internet Protocol Version 6, and PHP. JavaScript developers and business analysts are also sought after.

Starting out as a freelancer

When you first become a freelancer, you need to market yourself and build up your profile within the industry. Initially, it might be a good idea to use online job boards and agencies to find positions. These can be useful means of getting yourself in front of new clients. If they like your work, they will be more likely to come to you directly or request you again through the agency. Working directly for a business will obviously provide you with a higher rate of pay, but this can sometimes be daunting for new freelancers.

Maintain your profile

Your CV and online profile is crucial when you’re searching for roles. A freelance CV should be concise and your current experience and skills should be detailed clearly at the top. It’s important to tailor the CV for individual roles and show how your skill set meets their requirements. When you’re freelancing, having a LinkedIn profile is an easy way of being seen by many different companies.

Financial matters

One of the areas that can be an obstacle for new freelancers is dealing with invoicing and tax issues. Working for your own limited company is the most tax-efficient option, but there are also areas that you need to factor in, including ensuring you don’t break IR35 rules. A simple option is to go through an umbrella company. They will deal with all the administration and payments, as well as providing tax advice. You won’t have any tax benefits with this route, but you don’t need to be concerned with IR35.

If you have the right type of skills and market yourself appropriately, becoming a freelancer can be of enormous benefit. Once they’ve left the world of corporate work behind and become successful, many freelancers choose never to return.