Freelancers of Ireland, we salute you!

Freelancers of Ireland, we salute you!

Before crafting your career as a Freelancer in Ireland, there are certain things you need to know about this talent revolution. What better place to start then with real-life lessons from Ireland's leading Freelancers.

On Wednesday, 10th of October, RECRUITERS hosted an event: "Freelancing: A Talent Revolution - Craft your career with lessons from the lancers". Our aim was to expose frameworks and philosophies that could be applied back to crafting or developing your own career as a Freelancer.  

Freelancers networking

Ireland's Freelancers have spoken

What started out as an event targeted at young millennial Freelancers quickly transformed into an event for all Freelancers of all ages. It became very apparent to me that Freelancing doesn't have an age limit. Mature Freelancers stand to benefit more from the experience and confidence they've gained in their personal and professional lives. Younger Freelancers also benefit from confidence but one could argue that they have less experience. However, I guess in their minds they also have "less to lose". 

And as I found out, a risk-free attitude stands to benefit a Freelancer over a risk-averse one. There is a fine line between an entrepreneur and a Freelancer. The biggest difference is that a Freelancer works by themselves, for themselves to grow themselves. Regardless, Freelancing is for anyone looking to follow their passion for something and staying true to their beliefs and values as individuals.

And society and our values are changing. Gone are the days of having one job all your life. We no longer live to work. Freelancers work to live. It gives us an opportunity to be our own boss, to work without rules and to be independent of the 9 to 5 grind.

RECRUITERS work with 150 Contractors and Freelancers across the country and place them into various daily rate roles. We speak to them every day and listen to their everyday questions, issues and uncertainties around what is still a relatively new way of working in Ireland. We wanted to provide an informal platform where answers to the knowns and unknowns of Freelancing can be exposed and also provide an opportunity for like-minded people to come together and share their thoughts & experiences on Freelancing in Ireland.

Millennials are one of the first generations to navigate this new world of work but many are following suit. Because there are very few rules or playbooks, Freelancing can be both scary and exciting at the same time.

Networking at the event

Lessons from "The Lancers"

After some light refreshments and networking, we were joined on Stage by our Freelance Panelists (Louise Cooney, Jenny Darmody of Silicon Republic, Jamie White founder of The Start Summit and Ciana Moultan - a Freelancer for GirlGrew) for a fireside panel discussion. We wanted to get answers for all 100 guests in the audience on common questions, such as:

  • What could you achieve if you were to design your working day from scratch?
  • How do people motivate themselves with no deadlines?
  • How do you manage work-life balance and avoid being always “on”.
  • Where to start when creating an online social presence- what to do and what NOT to do.

Networking at the event

That said, there was no script for this event. No strict protocol for the panellists to follow. We wanted to pick their minds and raw opinions in a conversational fashion. Just as you would if meeting them for a coffee as a friend to talk about how everything is going for them as a Freelancer.

There were no rose-tinted glasses handed out on the night. The panel made abundantly clear that Freelancing and Contracting are not easy career choices. They require working unusual hours, juggling gigs, being very specialised, building a brand, being a sales rep and business development person all at the same time. It means grabbing opportunities in every shape and form...even if this means doing it for free as was the case for all of our panellists in their early Freelance careers.

The Panel

The mental strain and stress of all of the above can lead to health issues if you don’t look after yourself - mentally and physically. The need to be an expert in your field cannot be underestimated and this takes constant further education and skills development in your area of expertise. You’re only as good as your last job. If that wasn’t good, then this will lead to reputational damage as a Freelancer. As a Freelancer, if you don’t don’t eat. How’s that for self-motivation!

In our professional careers, we can all only hope and dream for a mentor to guide and teach us along the way. In Freelancing, mentors and guides are difficult to come by. In fact, they are probably your competitors. This is where knowing the value of your time and skills is crucial. You must have confidence in yourself and your ability to perform better than anyone else on a particular job. Over time, your own experience and learning become your mentor and this can then be incorporated into the price you charge for your services.

If you don’t know your speciality and industry inside-out then reconsider a career as a Freelancer. This is not to deter anyone from giving it a go - It’s to advise readers that this is a crucial element in Freelancing and to warn those thinking about Freelancing to know your stuff, know your stuff and know your stuff again before putting yourself out there to the market.

You would be doing yourself an injustice otherwise and ultimately reputational and financial risk in the medium to long run.

With all that said, being a Freelancer has its benefits and it's a wonderful career choice for those that want to follow their passions. It allows you to do what you love doing. Every day is a new you which brings thrill and excitement and ultimately happiness back into your careers. You are executing and monetizing a passion. It enables you to potentially earn more money than you ever would have as a permanent staff member in a large corporation.

You meet so many amazing people in so many different industries that truly value your skills and your time. You get to help others in areas they need it. You are appreciated. You build businesses and help entrepreneurs turn their dreams into reality. You are wanted. You work alongside other great teams in helping them achieve their business goals. You are respected.

The panel laughing

So Freelancing or Permanent?

Regardless of your career choice, your work should compliment you as a person. It should build your confidence. When you find a job that you love, you’ll find that it makes you glow. Freelancing further enables you to follow your passion and your soul's desires. This, in addition to a lot of hard work, will return good results.

Whether you are an employee or a Freelancer, be honest with yourself. Are you happy? You might be really successful on the outside, but if you're not happy on the inside, then every day is going to be an additional struggle which in turn can lead to health and wellness issues. 

Freelancing puts you in control of who you want to be and what you want to do. The more "gigs" you get, the more you will turn into the person you want to be. Remember, your work should compliment you as a person.

That said, if I have a bad day at the office, I'll still get paid at the end of the week or month. The hardest part of getting started as a Freelancer will be the changes to need to make to your financial structure and corporation mindset but the rewards financial, emotionally and spiritually are endless.

What next for Freelancers of Ireland?

Since this event, RECRUITERS have set up a meetup group called "Freelancers of Ireland". We encourage all Freelancers and those thinking about Freelancing to join. The group aims to connect like-minded Freelancers together so that we can all learn and develop from one another. We will continue to bring in guest speakers of all ages and backgrounds so that we can continue to "craft our careers with lessons from the Lancers". If you'd like to be kept informed about the upcoming meetups and events, you can join the group here for free!

Networking at the event

About the author:

Picture of AndrewAndrew Sheehan

Marketing Manager | RECRUITERS

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