Freelancer and employee – can you do both?

18 May 2023

Technically speaking, it is possible for you to be a freelancer as well as an employee.


In fact, many people work as both freelancers and employees at the same time, especially when they’re starting out.  It can be a good way of earning a reliable income whilst building up your own client base.


As a freelancer, you typically work independently on a project-by-project basis for various clients. You are self-employed and can operate as a sole trader or via your own limited company. You’re responsible for finding your own clients, setting your own rates, and managing your own workload.


As an employee, you work for a company or organisation and receive a regular salary along with benefits like an employee pension and paid sick leave. It is possible to enjoy these benefits whilst contracting by joining an Umbrella company. An Umbrella company (usually used by contractors who are ‘inside’ IR35), will act as your employer, providing your pay and statutory employment benefits, whilst enabling you to switch from contract to contract as you please.

Juggling employment & freelancing

It’s important to note that being both a freelancer and an employee can come with its own set of challenges. For example, managing your time and workload effectively and ensuring that you don’t violate any contractual agreements with your clients or employer. It can be a challenge to manage the financial aspects too as you’ll need to keep track of multiple income streams, pay taxes on your freelance income.

Working both as a freelancer and an employee can be challenging, but it can also offer a variety of benefits, such as increased income, flexibility, and career growth opportunities. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of both before making a decision.

Thinking about going freelance?

  • Identify your skills and niche. Think about the skills and expertise you have and what services you can offer as a freelancer.
  • Build your portfolio to showcase your skills and experience.
  • Set your rates which will depend on your skills and experience.
  • Look for clients by networking and reaching out to the people who know who may be able to offer work or recommend you. It’s a good idea to build relationships with other freelancers in your industry to help you get tips and encouragement. You can also look for freelance job opportunities on freelance platforms and job boards, or reach out directly to the companies you would like to work for.
  • When you’re ready to get started you’ll need to think about your business structure. You could operate as a sole trader but as you grow you may wish to become a limited company contractor. Indeed, your clients may prefer you to work that way from the outset.
  • Most of all, make sure you deliver high quality work to build your reputation, most people obtain more work via referral.


Building a freelance career takes time and effort, it’s rarely the easy option. Though get it right and you can enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the freelancer lifestyle.

How we can help

We’ve helped thousands of people make the switch to contracting. Get in touch to speak to our team to get tailored advice or download your copy of our Start Out Strong guide for more inspiration and tips.

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