Freelancing: How to Get Started

Yearning to escape the 9-5 rat-race? To be your own boss, authorise your own time off and work wherever you please? Many freelancers envy the security of your full-time salary and paid annual leave. But with Britain’s rapid growth in self-employment (15.1% of the workforce in 2017), there has to be something to this working-for-yourself lark. What is certain is that being passionate and loving what you do can make for a fulfilling career. So, where to start?

Get real

Being your own boss is exactly that: managing your workload and your time. Before you start as a freelancer, be realistic and ask yourself: Do I have the motivation to earn enough to pay my bills? If you have a mortgage or other financial responsibilities then the answer to this question must be a resounding “Yessiree Bob!”.

Market yourself

Tooting your own horn is a crucial part of freelancing. Selling your skills – and yourself – goes a long way to attracting clients. So start by thinking about what separates you from the competition. Have a look on websites like LinkedIn and check out others who are freelancing in your field. Take note of what they’re selling that you could improve upon. You will need a portfolio, so consider offering your services for free to friends and family to build up your repertoire.

Work out your rates

Now this is important. How much is your time worth? When you decide on your rates, remember to factor in outgoings, holiday pay, and your pension plan. All these things need to work out in advance like they would be by an employer. Think about an hourly and a daily rate as well as a flat project rate. What will you include in these costs and what might cost extra? Don’t undervalue yourself. Bear in mind that your rates should reflect your experience. Provide customer-focused work, and your clients will understand when you review your prices.

Sole trader or limited company?

Decide on which of these would work for you, as there are pros and cons to both. For example, setting up as a sole trader is easy to do and requires very little paperwork, but liability is the trader’s responsibility. Whereas, a limited company is a separate entity from its owners, giving it limited liability. But, there is a legal responsibility to complete and submit annual returns and accounts. Either way, it’s something you might want to research before making a decision.

So, is freelancing for you or does it need some more consideration? Leave us a comment on your views, we’d love to hear from you. Best of luck.