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The graduate freelancer: how to take the plunge successfully

As graduate unemployment hits highs of 6.3%, 9-to-5 jobs may be a thing of the past

Avalyn Kasahara, Membership Director at Future Strategy Club, discusses how our education structure still does not provide the financial literacy to support the graduate freelancer.

As we begin to exit the lockdown period and return to work, the entirety of the UK workforce will navigate unprecedented challenges. Yet these challenges are far from balanced, with new data revealing that the unemployment among recent graduates has risen to levels last seen during the austerity era; now reaching 6.3% in 2020 after it had gradually fallen over nearly a decade since a peak of 6.5% in 2012. Due to this, data from Future Strategy Club has revealed that 57% of 18-24 years old are now extremely concerned about securing a job post-pandemic.

Today, we are now beginning to see, however, an entire generation of graduates who don’t consider the corporate ladder as the only means with which to create a progressive career, with data by Future Strategy Club revealing that 25% of graduates are now considering freelancing as a permanent career option. Despite this, Future Strategy Club believes that our education structure still does not provide the financial literacy to support or educate young people looking towards entrepreneurship, with many still unaware of how to become successfully self-employed. 

The freelancing sector is now booming – with data by IPSE revealing that freelancers earnings are now up by a third, with an average rise to £20,778 in the first quarter of 2021 – and Future Strategy Club believe that building a freelance career is a great way for graduates to independently find their feet in any field of their choice, build an impressive CV and earn good money in a purposeful manner. This is why the rise of co-agencies such as Future Strategy Club is essential right now, providing mentorship, support, guidance and a helping hand to graduates looking towards entrepreneurialism and are unsure where to start. 

Avalyn Kasahara, Membership Director at Future Strategy Clubdiscusses how our education structure still does not provide the financial literacy to support the graduate freelancer: 

“At Future Strategy Club, we encourage young people to take control of their careers and challenge today’s worsening unemployment rates. Today, more young people than ever before are looking towards beginning freelance work or starting their own business. Freelancing empowers young people to gain control of their careers by becoming their own boss yet our current education system still does not provide the financial literacy to support or educate young people looking towards entrepreneurship.

As such, we make sure that graduates are aware that becoming a freelancer is accessible at every stage of a career, particularly straight out of university. Therefore, we provide mentorship, support, guidance and a helping hand to those looking towards entrepreneurialism who are unsure where to start. In the meantime, there are things graduates can do when beginning to build a freelance career: 

Connect and network: 

Think about what you’d like to achieve through networking and then use this to consider where best you might be able to meet people who can support you in achieving those goals. As lockdown restrictions begin to lift, attend events, reach out and introduce yourself. You can also use LinkedIn to discover what people are doing, attend webinars, or reach out to someone for a virtual coffee.

Profile and promote: 

To bring the work in, you have to make sure your clients know who you are, how you work and what you can deliver. You must share your wins and promote your content to make sure that potential clients and partners know all about what you’re capable of.

Projects and freelance:

Career-defining projects and contracts with real purpose allow freelancers to thrive and grow. Therefore, working with agencies such as Future Strategy can help guarantee that this will happen, meaning you will never be scrambling for the next piece of work. 

Develop and grow:

This is something that we at The Future Strategy Club do, by supporting freelance workers to develop and grow at every stage of their career. We provide essential L&D content, coaching, mentorship and support for those first going solo and building their freelance career.” 

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