Are you still working to live? As an increase of millennials choose freelance careers over full time roles, we explore the changing mindset and perceptions of a generation.

Many job seekers have come to the conclusion that working as a freelancer is the best way to meet both their personal and career goals. For millennials who have made the decision to become a freelancer, having an understanding of the freelance lifestyle and what to expect can help set them up for success.

Here are the top reasons why millennials choose to freelance:



Work schedule flexibility is a huge motivator when choosing to freelance. A flexible schedule gives you the freedom of choosing what hours and days you work:

Nele, Marketing Assistant and Copy Writer (The Navigatio): I will become a freelancer in two weeks. I can’t wait to be my own boss. I’m so passionate about writing, SEO and digital marketing, but I didn’t feel like I was making the most of it in my full-time job. I’m from the Netherlands and I live in the UK, so not being able to go and see my family unless it’s on my limited annual leave made me feel trapped. That’s when I decided to give the freelance life a go! I’ve been blogging for a few years and have been doing some freelance jobs while I study, so I feel confident that I’ll be able to pull it off’.


Advancement of Skills

Millennials relish the opportunity of choosing work which will ultimately bring them satisfaction. The capacity to choose your own projects is endless. Whether it’s a rewarding gig or multiple projects, every day provides the chance to learn and do more:


Lucy, Freelance Writer (Absolutely Lucy): I've been freelancing for over five years and I chose to do it because I like the flexibility of being able to pick and choose when, and who, I work with. By freelancing, I've been able to diversify and advance different skills while still remaining in and not having to sacrifice pay for fresh training. Freelancing gives you the freedom to put your lifestyle first and that is so important to millennials – we're all happy to work hard but we also see the value in having a good work-life balance.

The most important thing in choosing a company to work for is finding a company who values you as an individual with skills rather than as part of a money-making machine. My last company that I worked in-house for, we even had a Manager who was specifically in charge of making sure everyone in the company was looked after, supported and kept happy. It makes a huge difference to your working attitude.


Managing Other Commitments

Successful freelancers often find that they need structure, especially when working from home. As a millennial, freelancing will save time as well as promote efficiency, which leaves more time for any other duties or personal commitments. It’s a win-win situation:

Hayley Warren, Writer (Strangeness and Charm): Personally, I went freelance because I was about to start a Master’s degree at university. I wanted to focus on my studies and work around them rather than have a job with set hours. During my first degree I worked in retail and I think that I didn’t apply myself to my studies as well because I had work commitments.

This [freelancing] worked out really well for me and I was able to support myself all through uni and was still able to spend enough time on my degree. When choosing a company, I usually make sure that they are legit. If an agency contacts me I’ll check out their website and look on LinkedIn etc and I’ll make sure that they have clear payment terms and a contract before I agree to do any work.

Millennial Freelancing

Career Change

Having the freedom to make choices that suit their lives is a must for any freelancer. Many millennials may find that their current careers are stopping them from reaching their full potential. A career change may be more suitable for career progression and overall well being:

Emma Creese, Freelance Photographer (Emma Creese):  I chose to go freelance and become a social media consultant & photographer specialising in small businesses and charities because I wanted more of a challenge, and there wasn’t any career progression in the role that I was previously stuck in. I also craved variety and working with people who are making a difference in this world. I love being able to choose and work with clients who are flexible, fun and have a passion for what they do.



A lot of millennials are choosing to freelance because they feel undervalued at their jobs. Recognition is such as integral part of professional development. Employees in any field want to be praised for their work and to be made to feel like they are making an impact in their respective fields:

Jessica Esa and Will Harris, Freelance Writers (Books and Bao): We went freelance after teaching for years and just being generally treated badly and taken for granted. Both at home and abroad. We've had the blog for two years and have been full time freelance writers for a year now. It was the best decision we ever made.

Job Satisfaction

Freelancers do have higher job satisfaction levels than employees (Economic Voice, 2017). Working for yourself can have a significantly positive impact on an individual’s wellbeing. In a time where mental health issues are rife among millennials, ensuring that you do something you love has never been more important than it is now:

Leigh McLintock, Freelance Writer (Leigh Megan): I went freelance because I was under appreciated in a job that I constantly went the extra mile for without so much as a thank you, never mind a decent pay. I was overworked, overwhelmed and had nightly panic attacks about going back to work the next morning. Now, working for myself, I find working so much more rewarding and I have clients that are genuinely grateful for my efforts and that gives me a purpose!

Sam Jones, Freelance Photographer (Samantha J Webb): I’m freelancing until I find something full time. I quit my job last year due to a decline in my mental health. Not working everyday but still earning roughly the same income is actually helping me have my own space and time.

It’s a rough climate at the moment where companies are pushing the barrier with work I find. For me, a friendly team, an organised workplace, fair working hours are important, and something I believe in. I’m a photographer, so when I get to the stage of being selected for the large scaled shoots, I would like it to be for something I enjoy and believe in as well as something I like and respect and am proud to show off comfortably in my portfolio.

Millennial freelancer talking on the phone and laptop


When it comes to freelancing, managing your clients is key. The reality is that work offers do tend to fluctuate. There’ll be some months where you are busier than others, but you will see results. There are also many opportunities to maximise your income so making and maintaining connections will help you to excel as a freelancer:

Kate Tunstall, Freelance Writer (Refined Prose): I have my own blog and I also freelance. I love the freedom it gives me, whilst also providing a regular income I can rely on. The most important aspect when agreeing work is that we 'fit', and I'm able to retain my voice and integrity; although my work is going up on a client's site, I'm putting my name to it so it has to reflect my brand. When done right, freelance work brings value to the client AND my business.


Following Your Passion

Many freelancers love the idea of creativity - it gives them the opportunity to thrive independently. Millennials are subjected to an abundance of opportunities, the luxury to seek happiness and the freedom to change course at anytime. Following your passion is extremely rewarding:

Jo Jackson, Freelance Writer (Tea and Cake for the Soul) says: I have my own blog for fun and my freelance writing for work, although I enjoy doing that too. I don't feel that my blog is niche enough to make money from and I think that it might take away my enjoyment of writing it if it was my job. Freelance gives me the option of being in a work mindset - criteria, deadlines, etc. I could only write a freelance article if I believed in what I was writing, and in whom I was writing it for. I think it shows if you are having to force it and just doing it for the money.

It has been predicted that by 2020, the majority of millennials will no longer be in an office job. Leaving a cushy office environment to go it alone has never been more appealing. Set boundaries early, be consistent and don’t be afraid to go above and beyond.

Explore the world of a working freelancer below. 

1Freelancers are happier than employees, IPSE study shows: https://www.economicvoice.com/freelancers-are-happier-than-employees-ipse-study-shows