If you’re looking to start a new chapter in your career – whether you’re dissatisfied with your current
employer or feel that you’re able and ready to tackle some tough challenges on your own – then
going freelance might be the booster to your confidence and CV that you need.
There are a number of things to consider when you’re ready to make the leap from employee to
being your own boss, so be sure to have the following in mind before you start writing that epic
If going freelance you’ll need to set up your financial status as such – this will mean registering
as self-employed, if the bulk of how you pay your bills comes through acquiring your own work.
You’ll need to visit the HMRC website to set yourself up for income tax and national insurance
payments, as well as a VAT registration if you’re turning over £79,000 or more per year. Fill in your
self-assessment form and – this is very important – keep hold of every scrap of paper you’ve got
involving payments, receipts and the like. You’ll need them as evidence to keep the taxman happy.
The Client Base
Once you’re settled on what it is you’ll offer that separates you from other companies – whether
it’s a fresh approach to copywriting or some edgy web design that’s got people talking – you’ll have
the basis to start approaching prospective new clients for their business. In the short term it might
be advisable to offer to work for free or a low rate on smaller projects to give your contacts an idea
of what you can do with a proper budget and more turnaround time. Once you’ve established a
portfolio of projects and figured out what you can achieve on a full-scale project, start dialling and
Be sure to take out the right forms of insurance in order to retain your sense of professionalism –
clients in high-risk fields won’t work with anyone who doesn’t have professional indemnity insurance
to protect them from giving erroneous data or communicating fraudulent information on the client’s
behalf. Any mistakes you made are just that – mistakes – but they could end up costing your client a
significant financial or reputational hit, which means you could be liable for thousands. Having this
protection will give you and the client peace of mind that you take your duties very seriously.
Now that you’ve got the calls coming in on a regular basis you need to find out which projects you
can afford to turn down and which will keep you ticking along nicely. Just like a proper business
you should think about having some ‘opening hours’ if only to keep the work/life balance properly
adjusted – but that doesn’t mean you need to live the 9-5 life. Plan some milestones with your client
so they’ll know when they can expect to see a finished product, and stick to a schedule; a more
urgent job might get in the way but keep on top of what your priorities are and make sure to keep
them at the top of your list