The Great Resignation in Australia: Why It's the Right Time to Become a Freelancer

After the initial shock of lockdown and the pandemic, it’s possible you discovered the upside to remote working. You had more time for family and renewed energy to pursue passions, hobbies, and sports. Now, as the return to office life looms near, you’re dreading the stress of the commute and the oppressive 8-hour office days.

Or perhaps, lockdown was an incredibly stressful time for you. As the world changed before your eyes, you realised it was no longer worth being stressed out while working on something that doesn’t fulfil you.

You’re not the only one to feel this way. Many Australians are rethinking their careers and making choices that are sparking mass resignations overseas.

So, if you’re thinking about quitting your job, but don’t know how to get started with freelancing, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re going to show you:

Note: Parpera is a tool specifically designed to help freelancers send and receive money, create invoices and save for taxes. Set up your 30 day free trial with Parpera and test us out!

The Great Resignation: is it happening in Australia?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.5 million voluntary resignations in November 2021, marking a record high in the “Big Quit” that started last year in early 2021 in the United States and continues today.

But worker discontent isn’t isolated to one culture, country, or continent. As lockdowns end and restrictions lift, Australian businesses will face several challenges, threatening to produce our own Great Resignation.

Why? Workers expect better conditions

The ELMO Employee Sentiment Index: 2021 in Review, a summary of ELMO’s quarterly surveys on Australian workers, revealed that mental health is a worker’s top priority. Higher wages, flexible working, and greater work-life balance are top motivators for workers to stay in their current jobs or find satisfaction elsewhere.

A PwC study that surveyed 1,800 Australian workers’ on their job priorities confirms this mindset, with 32% expecting to be in a new job in the next 12 months.

The same ELMO study sheds further light on how Australian workers feel and what they want:

  • 69% are worried about returning to the workplace because of Covid.
  • 45% suffer from burnout.
  • 43% plan to look for a new job in 2022.
  • 22% expect to take a career break.
  • 19% plan to quit, without looking for a new job.

But will Australian workers be able to find a new job? With a higher number of unemployed workers than jobs available, the Australian labour market doesn’t seem promising. However, there’s a skill shortage in a rising number of vacancies in many industries, including healthcare, service, trade, and digital services.

australia great resignation businesses
Image source: ABS

In this job landscape, the most skilled workers will find new jobs quickly if they want to. Others will decide to take a leap of faith and create their own opportunities to chase their dreams and fulfil their life purpose. For example, Bryon Goldberg quit his dream job to create a startup in the blockchain industry. Here’s his explanation:

Why did I resign?

… I always wanted to start my own business…. I was doing well, but I wasn't fulfilled…. I was feeling incomplete.

Nothing happens if you don't go out and do it… So I stopped hoping and started doing, and once I started, I realised that to try to do it right, it takes time and effort and mental power.

My prior job also needed that same dedication and mental power - it was an amazing gig, but I needed to choose. So, I resigned.… I still don't know if I resigned to start a successful startup or to become another statistic, but I wouldn't change my decision for the world.”

This shift in sentiment may create a trend of voluntary terminations and increase the 1M self-employed in Australia who currently make up 7.8% of the total workforce.

Why it’s the right time to become a freelancer

“It’s never been a better time to take risks”

We’re living in a digital era that has eliminated geographical boundaries and made remote working possible. And with tools like Parpera, it's never been easier to become a freelancer. You only need to take that first step.

Parpera founder and CEO, Daniel Cannizzaro, feels the perfect time to start your own business is now:

“There’s never been a better time to pursue your passions or your life's purpose. The tools are there. The economy is recovering. Some of the best businesses are yet to be born, and here’s your opportunity to do that. The great resignation is coming. Don’t get another job. Create your own.”

So, to help you get started with freelancing and discover where to start freelancing, we’ve prepared a dedicated guide for you.

How to get started with freelancing: a 5-step guide

If you are going to build your freelancing dream, you’ll need to create a solid foundation to be up and running once you land your first client. Here’s how:

1. Register for an ABN

To operate legally as an individual business providing goods or services, you’ll first need to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN).

An ABN is a unique number that will identify you for tax purposes, and one you’ll need to include on your invoices. You can register for an ABN easily through the Australian Business Register or even on Parpera.

But what about Goods and Services Tax (GST)? It’s a common question we hear from freelancers. If you don’t plan to make more than $75,000 of gross income in a fiscal year, then you don’t need to register for GST. For more information on GST, read our article on how to create an invoice in Australia.    

2. Set up a business bank account

As a freelancer, you’ll have financial obligations whether or not you’re registered for GST because you’ll need to report your income to the government.

Although you can use your personal bank account as a freelancer, having a separate business account will help you manage expenses and offer you better control over your business. To manage your freelance finances easily, use a separate business bank account to receive payments and make business purchases.

Here’s how a separate business bank account can help you manage your financial obligations as a freelancer:

  • Understand how much income you’re generating on a quarterly and yearly basis.
  • Separate your business expenses from personal spend to understand your cash flow. (It will help you stick to a budget, too, and avoid overspending on products or services you can’t afford.) 
  • Easily categorise your expenses for better bookkeeping. 
  • Set aside money for GST, income tax, and your superannuation. Don’t underestimate planning for the future and save money for retirement.

You can even use your business bank account for the Pay As You Go (PAYG) scheme, a quarterly tax payment system with micro payments, to avoid paying one large yearly sum. Choosing PAYG over one yearly payment will give you a more realistic idea of your cash flow.  

With Parpera, you can open a business account provided by our trusted partner, Wise. It’s specifically designed for freelancers and sole traders, and offers features such as sending and receiving money, helping you set money aside for taxes and sending invoices to clients.

parpera business account

3. Decide on your fees

Here are 4 tips to help you charge the right fees when you first start working with  clients.

  • Research. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Understand what others in your field are making before you start. Know the minimum, average, and maximum rates before you proceed to the next step. Join places like Flying Solo and Rachel’s List to see how others do it.
  • Evaluate your skill set. Do you have a specialisation which sets you apart from the competition? If you have a specialised skill set, you can set a higher than average rate from the get go. 
  • Will you bill hourly or per project? Hourly could be a good option if you’re a fast worker, but a project rate may allow you more flexibility. 
  • Set a monetary goal. As you gain more experience and specialise, you can raise your rates. Know how much you’ll need to make ends meet. Then decide on what you want to earn in 6 months, then in a year. Aim for those maximum rates you researched in the beginning.

4. Land your first client

Now that your business admin is ready, it’s time to find your first client. And the best place to start is your own network.

Promote yourself and your services or products on your social networks, and ask your closest friends and family to promote you on their channels, too.

Next, expand your network and dive into online communities. Join specific freelance groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and popular freelancer sites such as Flying Solo, the Freelance Collective and Rachel’s List.

Finally, find forums where you can network with other freelancers, like the Parpera community. At Parpera, you’ll even find events dedicated to helping you manage and grow your business.

5. Manage your productivity

Burnout can also happen when you’re freelancing. To keep your mental wellbeing a top priority, set up frameworks and use productivity tools to help you manage your time and output. For example:

  • Decide on which days and hours of the day work best for you. 
  • Remember to take breaks.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. 
  • Plan your vacations well in advance and let your clients know when you’ll be off. 
  • Schedule leisure time, sports, and hobbies into your week. 
  • Decide which tools can help you produce more and better results to keep your clients happy. Will you need a time tracker, a project management tool, or both?

Above all, remember to be flexible. As you take on more projects and clients, you may think you’re a night owl only to jump out of bed each morning, eager to start the day. Discover what works best and tweak your productivity management as you go.  

Parpera’s top tips before you fly solo

While you may be eager to get started and are ready to hand in your resignation, set yourself up for success before flying solo. Here’s how you can prepare for the current job market and crush the competition before you quit:

  • Start a side hustle before you resign. This is a great way to confirm if being a freelancer is right for you. A side hustle will also allow you to build up your portfolio and have an initial client base when you’re ready to go solo. 
  • Have a nest egg ready. Have money set aside to start with in case something goes wrong. A sound financial base will let you freelance with peace of mind and less stress.
  • Build and expand your network. As mentioned above, your network can be one of the best ways to find your first client. But what if you’re a digital wallflower and don’t have social media profiles? Or you don’t feel comfortable promoting yourself online? Tap into forums early on to ask for advice and network slowly until you find what works and feels comfortable for you.

Recommended reading for aspiring freelancers

Here at Parpera, we aspire to help sole traders, freelancers, and entrepreneurs build their businesses not just with our money management tool, but also with our resources. The aim of our content is to help you start, manage, and grow your freelancing business.

Here’s our recommended Parpera reading for aspiring freelancers.

Business banking:


Bookkeeping and Accounting:

Australian market insights:

Complete Freelancing Guide:

Productivity management:

The Great Resignation is predicted to happen in March of 2022 in Australia – will you take the leap and start freelancing? We hope our guide has helped you understand the steps you’ll need to go through to begin working for yourself. Having said that, there is no substitute to taking action and doing it yourself – that’s when you’ll really know if freelancing is for you.

Learn more about freelancing with our eBook: A Guide to Set Up, Manage & Grow Your Freelance Business.

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Published on the
March 24, 2022

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