As days and weeks become ever more hectic, seemingly bursting at the seams thanks to work, technology and the need to keep time for friends and loved ones, many will be looking for an alternative way to balance their time.

Step forward: PeoplePerHour, the UK’s number one freelance marketplace. Since 2007 they have seen exponential growth, with a 433% increase in UK freelancers since 2012. They now have 1.5 million users now visiting the site every month to buy and sell time and skills in a way that is flexible for both businesses and freelancers.

A survey by the Office of National Statistics on Trends in self-employment in the UK (1) highlighted that the level of self-employment had increased by around 730,000 between 2008 and 2015: rising from 3.8 million to 4.6 million. The UK also saw an increase of 182,000 self-employed people between 2016, making a total of 4.69 million Brits working for themselves (2) so it’s clear the trend is growing.

Freelancing was long seen to attain more flexibility in work, often for creatives who had established themselves in a more traditional workplace before building up enough reputation to quit and work for themselves. Nowadays freelancing or ‘gig’ work is going mainstream and may even overtake the so-called ‘portfolio career’ by taking the idea of a career that moves with the individual, rather than dictating to them, over time. In a recent PeoplePerHour survey, 65% of 18-24 year old’s said that freelancing was part of their long-term career plan. It seems that the key to attracting millennial talent looking to sustain their levels of travel and freedom is to employ them in a way that they can retain their flexibility.

A study by McKinsey noted a “substantial difference in the satisfaction levels of independent workers and traditional employees” with independent, or freelance workers scoring higher across the board for both work and life. The study notes that “Free agents have an average overall satisfaction rating of 4.9, the highest of any group, compared to a 4.6 average for those doing traditional work by choice. This result holds across income and age groups, suggesting that freedom itself has real value for free agents (3).”

A YouGov survey, commissioned by PeoplePerHour also found that freelancers were enjoying life more than those in traditional working frameworks:


Nearly half of all participants surveyed (48%) said that they had not holidayed outside of the UK in the last 12 months. Comparing this to 35% of self-employed took two or more holidays outside the UK in the past year compared to only 29% of those who are employed.

According to a further study by PeoplePerHour freelancers commonly spend as many as 21 nights away from home in the average year, versus the paltry 10 nights of the regularly employed person. Freelancers spend twice as long away from home on each holiday and travel nearly twice as far covering an average of 2,200 miles per holiday!

The research found writers (22%), social media experts (19%), designers (18%), translators (16%) and photographers (15%) as the professionals most likely to indulge in long distance travel and clock up more than three holidays per year.


When asked the question “Do you find it difficult to cope with stress at work?” 33% of self-employed said they disagreed, compared to 22% of employed.


Nearly one in ten (9%) Brits travel up to three hours or more each day. This amounts to 720 hours or ONE MONTH every year. 44% of self-employed surveyed said they work from home and have no commute.


24% of employed people surveyed spend no time exercising each week, versus just 18% of self-employed. And the super fit? 9% of self-employed spent more than seven hours per week exercising compared to 6% employed.

Starting a freelance career is as easy as signing up online and searching the thousands of jobs posted 365 days a year for the right jobs to bid for, or even posting an ‘Hourlie’ to sell a specific task or project for a fixed rate. Whether it’s jumping in to a freelance career, or dipping a toe in the water on a part-time basis, trying freelancing and getting a taste of the benefits of self-employment has never been easier.

Case Studies

George Bell is a Freelancer who spends half his year working remotely from abroad and the other half working from home in London.

George Bell

George Bell

“Deciding to go freelance has easily been the best life decision I’ve ever made. Choosing to work with whom I want, from where I want, when I want and for the money I want means my work doesn’t even feel like work. Having the freedom to book a flight to the other side of the world at a moment’s notice, and still being able to earn more than enough money to live comfortably, makes freelancing an absolute no-brainer. Freelancing has allowed me to see more of the world in a year than most people can in a lifetime.”

Jonny Sweet is Freelance Writer, Researcher and Proofreader who has managed to combine the two things he loves – writing and travelling – into one very satisfying package.

Jonny Sweet

Jonny Sweet

“January blues? What January blues?! It doesn’t matter how dark the afternoons get, how low the temperatures plunge or how depressing the political landscape looms, it’s hard not to stay chipper when I’ve all the professional freedom in the world. Freelancing allows me to work anytime, anywhere, meaning if a particularly wintry snap hits home, I can just up sticks and head to warmer climes. Peopleperhour makes that flexibility possible. Where’s next? I can’t wait to find out!”

Joanna Bailey is a Content Writer and Digital Marketing Specialist on a world travelling adventure! 

Joanna Bailey

Joanna Bailey

“Freelancing, for me, has been nothing short of life changing. The freedom I have found through People Per Hour has allowed me to step off the treadmill of the 9 – 5, and has given myself and my family these incredible opportunities to live and work wherever we like. From feeling trapped in an expensive lifestyle and burdened by debt, we are now truly free and empowered to work to live, instead of living to work.”

For further information about freelancing please visit: