It’s June 16th and today is National Freelancer Day! To celebrate, we caught up with Miranda, our Partnership Development Lead to give you her five top tips for making your Freelance career a breeze. Miranda did freelance work for years before becoming part of the Mazuma team, so whether you started freelancing as part of ‘The Great Resignation’, or if you’re a seasoned pro we hope there’s some helpful hints for you!
1. Freelancing should be flexible and fun
When you work for yourself, you’re free to set your own rules, rates and hours. Many freelance careers in industries such as consultancy, marketing or technology can give you the flexibility to live and work on your own terms. So ask yourself what does that mean to you? Perhaps you want to work to a very specific schedule around other commitments. Maybe you want to take the summer off to be at home with family or travel the world solo. I freelanced a lot in my 20s and I was fortunate enough to be able to travel whilst doing so as part of the ‘Digital Nomad’ movement. Chat to your accountant about whether work trips can be tax deductible also! If they include real training opportunities, they might help reduce your tax bill! Check out Hacker Paradise or Remote Year to learn more.
2. Freelancing isn’t a Legal Entity
If you work freelance, this basically means that you are not a direct employee of the people who pay you for your time. This means you will have to either set-up as a sole-trader, or start a limited company to track your income and expenditure to report to HMRC. It’s essential to understand which one of these will suit you best, depending on your level of predicted income, and how long you’d like to be freelancing for. If you’re unsure, take our quiz here! For me, I started as a sole-trader when I was first trying out freelance work and then I switched to a Limited company later once it made sense for tax purposes and branding.
3. Find a Network
Freelancing can often be project based, so if you work in something like tv or film, you might be set-up nicely for however long you film. After that however, it’s ideal if you have a good network around you to go to when you’re looking for the next project and the one after that! Ensure you network online or in person. Freelancing can be kind of lonely otherwise, and you never know who might be able to help you connect with a prospective client or learn something new.
4. Cash Is King
Doubly important if you’re working on a project basis and planning to take some time off afterwards is making sure that you have enough cash to get by until your next invoice is paid. Work out your survival income (all the personal bills you need to pay to live) and make sure that you’re covered for the right amount of time. If clients don’t pay on time or in full, get serious with their payment terms, ask for deposits upfront or offer them a way to pay online: meaning you get your cash quicker!
5. Protect yourself
Even if you’re just dabbling in the world of freelancing for now it’s still essential to make sure you have all of the relevant legal ducks in a row. For example, you’ll want to ensure that you have insurance in place to cover you, your equipment and your customers, or to cover any advice that you’re dispensing. If you need a free review of your insurance needs, visit our partners at Cornerstone here. You’ll also want to ensure that you have relevant legal agreements / t’s and c’s in place with your clients. For a totally free 15 minute consultation, speak to our partners at LawBite here.