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Why more people are choosing to be self-employed

Being your own boss has become the preferred choice for millions of British workers: the self-employed sector grew by 40 per cent between 2008 and 2019 to breach the 5m mark. And then the pandemic hit. The upward trajectory went into sharp reverse as 700,000 people gave up self-employment in 2020 as did a further 200,000 in 2021. But some sectors managed to buck this downward trend - not least law, which emerged from the pandemic largely unscathed.

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If you are considering a career as a consultant solicitor, you should be aware of the distinct advantages that self-employment can offer. A freelance career in law delivers numerous benefits that are largely unavailable in the traditional corporate world - from having complete control over your work to defining your earning potential, setting your own hours, and creating the ideal work-life balance that complements your life.

Advantages of being a self-employed solicitor include:

More Flexibility

You will have greater freedom to adjust your work schedule around your other commitments, responsibilities and interests. Becoming self-employed lets you decide to work as much or as little as you want. Such flexibility benefits both your professional life and your well-being since you can avoid unrealistic demands and unnecessary stress.

Higher Income

Your earnings can increase: as work picks up, so will your income. If your clients are loyal, you will experience this uplift immediately when, restrictive covenants permitting, they follow you in your new venture particularly since you do not have to split commission with a firm.

Your daily commuting costs will disappear overnight because you can provide your consultancy services in whatever way that works for you and your clients. For example, you can communicate online and by phone, eliminating unnecessary travel. If you wish, remote working also allows you to spend more hours on billable work, rather than commuting.

Greater Security

Employment means being dependent on your employer, which always carries some risk of redundancy. But working as a freelance solicitor gives you the security of owning your own business as you cultivate your client base. You can establish solid roots in your preferred location without ever being asked to relocate to a new city or country.

Fresh Creativity

Freedom encourages creativity, allowing you to broaden your skillset as you develop your personal brand. Reliance on technology and social media platforms require you to have creative skills that add value. Leveraging a well-designed website, you can blog legal articles and connect with your target market via social media.

A carefully crafted online strategy can be invaluable, helping you to generate leads and convert them into paying clients. Tailoring your legal services to a specific audience, you can also personalise key messages, addressing a specific demographic or a broader group.

Discrimination eliminated

Office politics can have dire consequences for your professional life and mental health. Law firms are often intense places, combining competitive pressures with a heavy workload that can jeopardise your career, your wellbeing, or sometimes both. Becoming a freelance solicitor enables you to avoid any toxicity that might exist within a firm and create valuable relationships with clients and partners.

Instead of dealing with relentless billable hours targets, or spending endless late nights working to tight deadlines, self-employment gives you the freedom to operate when, where and how often you want. You can then deliver your optimum performance on client work with maximum efficiency, not leave yourself open to the moods and machinations of unpredictable colleagues or capricious employers.

Fresh Challenges

It’s not all plain sailing, however. Self-employment presents diverse challenges that can be overcome and successfully navigated through careful preparation. Once you develop your practice and optimise your freelance consultant work, you can choose your clients and enjoy your professional stability. But reaching this stage will take time and effort.

Most notably, working as a freelancer makes you responsible for every aspect of your business operations, including a fair amount of administration. This can can be demanding since you have to deal with routine tasks, such as KYC and AML compliance checks.

Irrespective of those loyal clients who may follow you from your previous firm, you will also need to have patience and commitment to win new business. The daily administration can detract from the critical time needed for effective marketing that targets potential clients.

Fortunately, help is at hand. Working with a specialist consultancy model law firm which provides full back-office support and a regulatory environment can facilitate your handling of these issues efficiently and effectively. This allows you to concentrate on winning clients and providing them with better services.

In considering all the above, you can readily appreciate why self-employment is an attractive option for many legal professionals. Whatever the inherent challenges may be, reaping the fruits of your labour gives you freedom and autonomy - perhaps the most significant attributes in developing a rewarding career as a consultant solicitor.

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