From graduates and first time employees to senior executives and seasoned professionals, freelance work is increasingly popular with more and more people opting to take control of their career paths. Working for yourself can often be very challenging and raises issues that you wouldn’t even begin to worry about in full employment, such as how to write an invoice or how to pay tax on your earnings. However, taking the leap into the freelance world needn’t be daunting! Freelance work can even be undertaken in conjunction with your regular employment, providing you with a stable income as a safety net.
Freelance work is a great way of taking control of your own time and career. If performed correctly, and with the right groundwork, freelance work can be both lucrative and rewarding, offering you an enhanced work-life balance and a greater depth and spread of experiences. Given the correct approach and a few simple tips, there’s no reason why freelancing can’t work for you.
Tip 1: Starting your Freelance Work
Getting that first job can be a case of being in the right place at the right time, but there are ways you can make yourself more visible and more desirable to clients:
- Focus on what your ‘product’ will be and on what you can offer that makes you distinctive. Research the market to assess your
competitors. Create a brand and a web-presence that draws attention to it.
- Focus on how much you plan to charge. Don’t approach anyone when you’re still vague about what you’re worth. Draw up a business plan summarising your product, your marketing intentions and the financial potential of your freelancing work. (Note sure what a business looks like? Check out our free guide here).
- Market yourself. Network through professional platforms like LinkedIn, on social media channels and forums that your target audience will be.
- Formulate an ‘elevator pitch’: a three line summary of what you offer and what makes you special.
- Make sure your first job is a success. It will act as proof of your quality to other clients and is also a way of convincing yourself you can do it.
- Meet the brief and keep in touch with the client. Hit your deadline and be prepared to be flexible with what you offer.
Tip 2: Gathering Clients for Freelance Work
Once you’ve completed that crucial first job, it’s important to keep pushing yourself out there whilst keeping your existing clients close.
- Make sure to maintain a good relationship with your clients. As a freelance worker, most of your jobs are likely to come from a relatively small number of companies or individuals so keep surprising and impressing them. Referrals from existing or past clients can often be your strongest sales channel.
- Always submit your work on time. This will prove to your clients that the first time wasn’t a fluke. Reliability is almost as important as the quality of your work – they won’t return to you if miss deadlines, even if you’re producing excellent work.
- Consider making your relationship with regular clients more structured. If you get regular work from particular companies or individuals, explore the idea of making the relationship between you and the company more formal.
Tip 3: Accounting for your Freelance Work
It is essential to understand and research the financial aspects of your work to make sure you don’t lose money unnecessarily.
- Keep careful records of invoices and expenses through the year and register as a freelance worker with the HMRC. Be aware of the deadline for the tax return and prepare for it early.
- Plan to earn the equivalent as a full time employee and remember the extra costs along the way, keeping a separate account for your tax, remembering to factor in expenses and the additional costs of starting your business.
- Keep track of tax breaks that might be applicable to your work. You may be able to reduce your tax bill by being aware of the deductions that you can make for working from home or buying equipment for your freelancing. It’s important to make the most of what you earn by researching these carefully. We highly recommend using cloud accounting as the best way of keeping track of your earnings.
If you follow this advice, freelance work need not be a leap into the dark. One of the best things about freelance work is that the information you’ll need to set yourself up and to connect with others is online. So if you want to find out how much tax you will pay or how to write an invoice, there will be endless sources of advice for you. In the meantime it’s all about preparation, networking and hitting the brief.
Nuvem9 offers a full cloud accounting compliance package for freelancers income taking away all the stress in managing your finances and allowing you to focus on what you do best and grow your income. If you would like more information contact us today.