Why become a freelance academic writer?

If you're thinking about becoming a freelancer there are probably a few practical questions you will have. What's it really like working freelance? How do you get work, and get paid for it? What admin do you need to think about? There are also some questions you should probably ask yourself about whether freelance work will really suit you in terms of your working style. Freelance work is certainly becoming much more popular as part of the gig economy, but like any job, there are pros and cons to consider.

The Good Points

Some of the potential pitfalls

Practical considerations

If you decide you want to take the plunge and go freelance, one partial solution is to dip your toe in the water by doing a small amount of freelance work alongside your main job until you are sure that this is what you like. Make sure that you keep up-to-date with your admin, and if you are still employed, remember that most employment contracts have a clause stating that you have an obligation to tell your employer if you take a second job, even if it is freelance. You will almost certainly need to submit a self-assessment tax return, unless your main job has a very low-income threshold - if you are in any doubt at all about this, do seek professional advice. You'll need to ensure that you have access to the materials you need to complete freelance work to the standard that clients expect. Some freelance agencies are more supportive than others when it comes to access to materials, such as journal databases or specialist software, so this is another aspect you might want to check.

For the benefit of our new writers, we have a probationary period in place so that we can manage your workload and give you the opportunity to make a decision about whether freelance work is for you. We have various in-house teams who offer unrivalled support to help you through every step of being a new writer with us, and we are here to help wherever required. We also offer journal database accounts for any active writers should they require this.

There are some more mundane things to consider, too, such as reputable sources of advice, and tips to make life as a freelancer a bit easier. A list of 'things you wish you'd known at the start', if you will:

In our rapidly-changing employment landscape, freelance work is on the increase, but it's not necessarily an easy option. Certainly, for those who enjoy it, they could never envisage going back, but it is also something that needs to be approached with a balanced view of the benefits, possible pitfalls, and practical considerations.

Please note, this advice has all been provided for anyone that is eligible to work in the UK. Some of this will differ if you live in Australia, Canada or USA, for example.

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