4 April 2012 - 1:00pm | posted by | 1 comment

How has the market changed for freelancers?

How has the market changed for freelancers?How has the market changed for freelancers?

In a quest to identify the top UK freelancers across the creative industries, The Drum asked its readers to nominate their top three freelancers. We then whittled down the list and caught up with some of our recommended freelancers to find out what drives them, what challenges they’ve faced and what advice they’d give to others considering the career.

The full list of The Drum's recommended freelancers can be viewed here.

In a series of online articles, we talk to a few of our 2012 recommended freelancers to find out why they ditched the nine-to-five and some of the challenges they’ve faced. Today’s question is:

How has the market changed for freelancers in recent years?

Alan Black
There are fewer truly great agencies. So I don’t rely on just working with our agency clients – I work directly with many brands.

Laurence Winram
I’ve generally been fortunate in keeping consistently busy over the years but I’ve got the impression that clients have been casting their nets wider, requesting a larger number of quotes.

Pearse O’Halloran
Some say its better. Some say its worse. I keep doing what I do regardless of market changes.

Matthew Connors-Jones
The freelance market is on the upturn in my opinion, there’s been a few years of bedraggled uncertainty meaning bookings are slightly more haphazard and last minute, but ultimately if you work hard at forming lasting, trusting relationships with your clients and make an effort to go that one step further for them, you will always get repeat business.

Ross McCulloch
I think it’s particularly hard for freelancers working in the third sector right now as budget cuts mean charities have to make difficult decisions about where money is spent. I guess the flip side of this is that more charities are properly scrutinising the freelancers they work with, hopefully meaning they actually get the right person for the job.

Luan Wise
Organisations are increasingly taking the opportunity to outsource roles to balance available budgets with required experience/expertise. This provides greater opportunities for freelancers who can then make a real added value contribution to an organisation.

Darren Langley
I feel the web design market is starting to feel the pinch of the recession now but it is still easier to work as a freelancer with lower overheads than to manage an agency where clients view the additional costs of large office space and support staff as ultimately adding to the price of their projects. When clients are looking to get the most for their money they come to a freelancer like me who does the work and has the ability to cost the project more effectively.

Tom Ward
I only graduated last May so I perhaps am not best placed to answer this question, however the creative industry is very high paced and changes have happened in the last 24 hours, let alone over the last few years. I would say the biggest change is the freelancers ability to compete against the big agencies, no one wants to spend the millions any more so what we can do is undercut the agencies and offer an affordable and sensible price, with the same high quality outcome.


4 Apr 2012 - 14:54

Having been freelance for over 10 years before setting up my own agencies I've seen the freelance market from a variety of perspectives.

Like it or not, clients are still feeling the pinch. Large agencies are losing work to smaller agencies who can often deliver a lot more for less. Small agencies are reluctant to recruit off the back of such wins and so the freelancer gains from this situation. Win. This also means small agencies are often working to max capacity and therefore reluctant to compromise hourly rate to accommodate low-budget clients who they may view as a 'distraction'. Here's the opportunity for the business-minded freelancer to pick up direct client work. Win. Win. There's even an opportunity to be had within large businesses who may be taking work in-house to minimise marketing spend. Win. Win. Win. All the way to the bank.

In summary, the freelance market is ripe with opportunity. For the creative and business-minded individual there's never been a better time to be freelance.


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