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A freelancer is self-employed and will do occasional work for different companies, on different projects. The performing arts industry has a very high number of employees working freelance, particularly with the more creative roles such as performers, musicians and writers. According to the Creative and Cultural Sector Skills Council, from 2012 to 2013, 54% of people working in performing arts and 44% of those in music work on a freelance basis. That's 14% of the total UK economy!
Of course, certain professions provide opportunity for full-time work, but with the right experience, talent and contacts, many people within these creative services can set themselves up as freelancers and work independently of an agency or company with great success.
Payment for freelancers varies hugely; many will charge an hourly or daily rate or will earn on a per-project basis. Some have adopted a value-based pricing method which is payment based on the results of the work completed.
Performing arts is a competitive industry for job places and if working freelance, there may be times when there is no work. Also, without experience salaries can start very low. Most performers hire agents who find them auditions and contracts.
There may not be a regular income but freelancers may enjoy the freedom to choose their own work schedule. Gaining lots of freelance jobs leads to a broad portfolio of work and a huge network of contacts and clients. Networking is all-important in performing arts, as who you know is equally important as what you know.