30 days of Freelancing
It's all about Business
I’ve just finished my first month as a full-time freelancer and wanted to share a few lessons learnt. If you’re thinking about taking the leap then hopefully some of these tips will come in useful.
Get a killer accountant
This was advice given to me & i’m passing it on. If you don’t do anything else, do this. A good accountant will undoubtedly save you more money than they cost. I’m not just talking about what you can claim back on your VAT – I’m talking about all of the time (and energy) that goes into setting up a company, registering for VAT etc etc.
If you’re freelancing in the digital space & don’t have many overheads, check out the flat-rate VAT scheme
My accountant put me on a flat-rate VAT scheme, if you’re freelancing in the digital space where you don’t have many overheads this could be a good option for you also. Long story short, you invoice for 20% but you pay a flat rate of 13%.
Setup your bank accounts early
This is an ongoing issue for me and I started the process of setting up my account(s) 6 weeks ago. I had heard on the grapevine that HSBC were one of the best business banks in the UK so decided to bank with them. I had some trouble around switching my account type and to cut a long story short it flagged something in the system that means they can’t process my account, nor can they tell me why it has been flagged. The customer support has been terrible, i’m constantly being passed around to different call centres and the person who says they will call you back never does (sound familiar?).
I’m not sure what the best of the bad bunch is yet, Lloyds have a really awkward method for setting up your account – you have to phone to arrange an appointment with someone or do it through the post (10 working day turn around). Natwest i’m still investigating.
If you want to keep your accounts simple it’s best to invoice to your business account so if this goes tits up for you, you might get stuck…
Save some cash
As simple as it sounds. I would recommend having at least a couple of months worth of equivalent salary saved so if something goes wrong for you, you’re financially secure.
Get freelance work lined up
Once you’ve made your mind up and have handed in your notice put your feelers out, talk to people in your network and spread the word. It really puts your mind at rest when you know you’ve got work on and you aren’t just going to make the jump and have nothing coming in one month.
In the same breath be fair to your current employer, you never know what might happen. I’m lucky enough to have become close to the CEO’s of my old company. We have a good relationship and not only am I doing freelance work for them but they are giving me intros and pointing people in my direction when I fit the bill.
For the undecided and apprehensive
When I was in the process of sorting everything out I spent a lot of time googling for advice and probably the most comprehensive guide to freelancing in the UK is Phil Gyford’s Beginners Guide to Freelancing. He covers a lot of the concerns that I had and the guide is very digestible.
Got any words of wisdom? I would love to hear them.