The freelance economy is well and truly on the rise (no matter what tax changes Chancellor Philip Hammond decides to make) and, as a bilingual speaker in the UK, you are perfectly placed to join this growing army of workers.
In fact, the freelance economy is one of the great success stories of recent years, growing by 25 percent since 2009 and turning over an estimated £109 billion a year. This has added an estimated £30 billion to UK gross domestic product and contributed much to the growth in employment. Statistics from the Office of National Statistics show that a record 4.63 million, or one-in-seven of the workforce, are now self-employed.
However, regardless of what the figures might suggest, life as a freelancer is not for everyone. You lack the security you enjoy as a PAYE employee. There’s no sick pay, no paid holidays and no ‘training days’ spent nursing a cup of tea. As a freelancer, if you’re not working, you’re not earning. But that doesn’t stop freelancing being a land of opportunity, particularly for those with rare and valuable bilingual skills.
With that said, here are four freelance roles for UK-based bilinguals in 2017…
If you have some experience as a translator under your belt then you could access the potentially lucrative freelance translation market. With the right network of clients, marketing strategy and skills, you could earn more as a freelance translator than you typically would working in-house. Of course, you will have to work long hours to build your client base and it could take six months to a year for all your efforts to pay off. However, once you have a regular stream of customers, can keep them happy and make sure you get paid, life as a freelance translator could be pretty good.
2. Customer service agent
Customer service might not be a role you would typically associate with freelance workers, but there are an increasing number of companies that are looking for freelance bilingual customer service agents who can work from home. These positions range from sales and tech support to full-time roles dealing with inbound customer requests, whether on the phone, via email or through video calls.
3. English-as-a-second-language (ESL) tutor
ESL teachers and tutors are in high demand both here in the UK and overseas. In the UK, there are more and more companies looking for individuals who can get their foreign language employees up to speed. You can even teach English from home using a virtual platform. There are also plenty of opportunities overseas for ESL tutors who can find work in the country of their second language, teaching private and corporate clients. You will need some experience and a professional qualification to become an ESL tutor in the UK and abroad. A TEFL certificate is an excellent place to start.
If you have a way with words as well as fluency in two languages, becoming a bilingual copywriter could be a potential freelance route for you. There’s an increasing need for bilingual copywriters as UK-based businesses expand their offerings overseas. As a bilingual copywriter, you may have to write marketing messages in both languages, which can be a big ask. Alternatively, you could be charged with localising English-language marketing assets for an overseas market, or vice-versa. If you have the linguistic skills to fulfil this role, you will be well-rewarded.
Alternatively, if you prefer the security of a life as a PAYE employee, we have a number of exceptional bilingual roles for candidates across the English south coast. Please take a look at our latest bilingual vacancies or call 02392 987 765 to discuss your requirements today.