There are nearly 5 million self-employed people within the UK—that’s 15 per cent of the workforce, according to recent figures from the Office for National Statistics. That’s an increase of 47 per cent more self-employed workers since 2001.

And while many may imagine self-employment as a liberating experience, the reality isn’t quite that simple. Despite the perceived benefits of self-employment and freelance work, such as deciding your own hours and getting the chance to work from the comfort of your home (or even in your pyjamas), a variety of risks are present within this widespread field.

What are the risks?

Being self-employed or working freelance places a significant burden on your overall health and well-being, according to industry research. The Centre for Research on Self-Employment  (CRSE) states that the self-employed often suffer from higher levels of stress and anxiety than their employee peers. The top stressors for self-employed people include increased isolation due to a lack of co-worker engagement, heightened financial pressures from irregular cash flow, inconsistent hours, and an inability to ‘switch off’ or take holiday out of fear of missing an important work opportunity and non-existent paid holiday.

The combination of these risks can erode your health and well-being, leading to mental health complications such as extreme stress, depression and anxiety.

Top Self-employment Tips

Don’t let the potential risks prevent you from pursuing self-employment or freelance work and reaping the rewards of heightened fulfilment and overall job satisfaction. Use the following guidance to stay healthy and improve your overall well-being within your unique career path.

Stay social

Due to the lack of co-workers in your career, try building strong relationships with others and interacting with friends and family frequently. Indeed, 84 per cent of the UK self-employed work alone and do not create jobs beside their own, according to the CRSE. Consider the following tips to stay social:

  • Establish a weekly schedule that allots for time spent with family and friends, such as eating a meal together.
  • Join a group related to a hobby of yours, such as an exercise class or book club.
  • Consider searching for more freelance opportunities that allow you to meet with clients in person rather than communicate solely online, or jobs that require increased group collaboration.