IPSE’s June Member Meet-Up: How do IPSE members find work?

Our June IPSE Member Meet-Up was on finding work as a freelancer. Members shared their thoughts and experiences of securing new contracts, how this had changed during the pandemic, as well as sharing advice on negotiating fees and branding your business.

IPSE Member meet-up June 2021

Meet-ups like this are an opportunity to not only expand your network, but also benefit from other freelancers’ insights – this time, into  networking, navigating agencies and the need to be willing to walk away from opportunities in order to secure the best contracts.

The impact of the pandemic on winning work

The initial discussion was about the devastating impact of the pandemic for many – including periods out of work, the difficulty of transitioning from face-to-face networking to online and how the combination of IR35 and the pandemic ultimately led to increased competition for contracts.

For some freelancers, however, the pandemic and the periods without work were an opportunity to invest in training and skills – and for some, this had translated into an actual rise in day rates in the last year.

Tips on winning work

We also heard interesting stories about how negotiating directly with clients – and avoiding agencies – could often lead to higher day rates and better relationships with valuable clients.

Another key piece of advice was that sometimes, negotiating effectively meant being prepared to ultimately walk away from an opportunity. Too often, it seems, freelancers forget that this can be the key to negotiating from a position of power.

Also discussed was the use of social media channels to gain contracts, network and keep up to date with industry activities. Having a website and a strong LinkedIn presence came up as two of the best ways to win work online. Writing blogs to raise your profile was also suggested. 

Why holidays are good for business

One key subject was just how important holidays are for your business. Freelancers on the call stressed how taking regular holidays was crucial for avoiding burnout – especially taking a relaxing break between contracts. For some, taking a prolonged break from contracting allowed them to refresh and come back to their work rejuvenated.

Nor was it just about work: members stressed the importance of holidays for maintaining good mental health. Several people shared their experience of negotiating a break in a contract and producing better work when they came back from it.

Get involved

IPSE will be running more member meet-ups, not only to allow members to discuss and learn from each other’s experiences, but also so we can hear directly from members to inform our policies, research work and more.

IPSE Member Meet-Ups run on the last Thursday of each month. Spaces are limited to 30 to keep the sessions manageable, so if you’re interested in joining, we recommend singing up early! Keep an eye out for an email about next month’s – coming soon.

Upcoming events

IPSE organises, supports and collaborates on over 100 events every year, from practical webinars, networking events and conferences. IPSE sources experts in their field to support the self-employed, with the events covering a wide range of topics.

Upcoming events

Join a community

When you join IPSE, you join a supportive community of people who have chosen to be their own boss, just like you. Events, forums and our online groups, all help you get to know other IPSE members from a range of industries.

Join a community


Meet the author

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Joshua Toovey

Senior Research and Policy Officer