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The Best Guide To Becoming A Freelancer

Since getting into freelancing can be a bit overwhelming, we decided to put together this guide for all of you considering changing career paths. The first thing you should know is that freelancing means that you are no longer "employed" but instead are "self-employed". Secondly, the HM Revenue and customs class freelancers as sole traders or partners, which means that there are some things that you have to consider in regards to taxation.

When it comes to employment, freelancers can find work through company/agency representation or entirely independently. A freelancer, basically, works for somebody else for a fixed period of time by completing some specific tasks or projects for them. Keep in mind though, your employer is not obligated to provide vacation, sickness,  or maternity leave during any of that time. Freelancing means selling your skills, time, and often being paid by the hour. Freelancers are most frequently used within journalism, press-photography, construction-building, information technology, management consulting, translation and web design.

Interesting facts about Freelancing

  • According to a study conducted by software company Intuit, 40% of Americans, or 60 million people, are predicted to become work from home freelancers by 2020,

  • 38% of American employers allow their employees to work from home.

  • The UK ranks 5th in the world when it comes to hiring freelancers.

  • Self- employment is higher than any point over the last 40 years. In the UK, there were 4.2 million home workers in January-March 2014, or 13.9% of the work force. This was the highest rate of home working since comparable records began in 1998.

  • Across the European Union the UK has had the third largest percentage rise in self- employment since 2009.

  • Businesses will spend $930 million on hiring remote independent home workers around the globe in 2014.

  • Self- employed workers tend to be older than employees and are more likely to work higher (over 45) or lower (8 or less) hours.

  • The number of women in self- employment is increasing at a faster rate than the number of the men (although men still lead in overall self- employment).

  • The jobs that home workers carry out tend to be concentrated in higher skilled roles than those of people who do not work from home. 14.8% of them are working as managers or senior officials, are professionals or associate professionals and 23.5% are working within skilled trades.

Why should you start a Freelance career?

After reading our guide, you may be wondering: what is this freelancing thing all about? Well, working freelance has become an increasingly popular career move. Many are attracted to the desire to exhibit and explore their talents they feel passionate about. Even more have a desire to become independent in order to experience the flexibility and freedom over time that freelancing affords. In essence, you gain more control over your professional life. There are also those that are attracted by the increased pay, varied working hours and not having to make any long term commitments. When it comes to freelancing, the main question is: would you like to be your own boss? 

That is the question to ask because not everybody wants to become their own boss. Some people can't handle the idea of holding so much responsibility. There are things like that that you need to keep in mind when considering becoming a freelancer. There are also downs when it comes to freelancing. Even if you've already decided to work freelance full or part time, you need to be aware that there are two sides to the freelancing coin.

When you work as a freelancer you have to have to be the CEO of your own one man coporation. Not only do you have to work the jobs that you get, you constantly have to be on the look out for new ones. You have to constantly sell yourself in order to gain interest and turn that interest into actual paying jobs.

That said, you should consider starting a freelance career if you find it appealing being paid to explore your talents while being your own boss. Freelancing is a career that opens up a lot of options up to you. Working in freelance will allow you to come across oppotunities to familiarize yourself with different fields, something that will definitelyimprove your resume.

Freelance jobs 

Accountant

Freelance accountants provide financial information. This information is used by managers, investors and other people in charge to make the necessary resource allocations. Your main task would be maintaining the financial health of the firms you're working for. For this position, it is vital to have an education related to accountancy.

Blogger

Being a blogger is a good freelance opportunity for those of you that have an interest in writing. To be a sucessful blogger, you need to have patience, writing skill, a good work ethic and the abilityto consistently. If you are able to do that, as well as market yourself, you'll eventually be able to make a little bit of money on the side.

Consultant

A consultant is a person who is paid to provide professional or expert advice in a particular field or speciality. It has always been an option of choice for senior managers who have faced redundancy or taken early retirement. As a consultant, your clients look to you for detailed guidance within your particular area of expertise. For example, you may be hired as a crisis communication consultant or a marketing strategy consultant providing advice to the client.

Copywriter

Copywriting is an important job, the speed of the internet has made everything lightning fast. People want content and they want it to be in high quality and fast. This is a good platform for writers that have shown their practical writing skills. They have to manage technical writing, general writing, and if needed, medical writing too. A professional copyrighter shows her worth by working fast and providing high quality writing.

Graphic Designer

This section includes designing logos, web design, illustration, print design, etc. Also, you will have to spend some of your time looking for clients and working to keep them. You will also have to do your own accounting, be your own receptionist, purchasing agent and secretary. Also, do not forget that now you have to pay for your overhead, including your office, computer hardware and software, and supplies.

Interpreter/ Translator

This obviously means that it requires good knowledge of foreign languages. The more fluent you are, the easier it will be to get opportunities. You'll be especially successful if you are able to speak one of the world's rarer languages.

Photographer

Are you passionate about photography? How about turning this passion into something that could bring in some money? One thing that you have to do is maintain a circle of loyal customers. So, customer service skills are a must. Also, you need professional equipment, time management skills and good knowledge of photography. If you all of those, it might just be that freelance photography is something for you.

Programmer

In this line of work you need three basic things even to entertain this notion: sustainable power, high speed Internet and a computer. The unrelenting march of time has made these things very affordable, which in turn makes freelance programing a viable option for you. This also means that you could take your freelancing on the road. Well, as long as that road also has an internet connection.

SEO specialist

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a web site or a web page on search engines via the "natural" or un- paid ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. Optimising a website may involve editing its content, HTML and other associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. SEO specialist is a relatively young profession, so before starting, take the time to master all of the things that allow you to talk about SEO with confidence.

Teacher

You don't have to have a degree to teach! You just have to have the skills and the ability to pass them on to other people. The internet is full of websites that are able to connect teachers with students. You can teach languages, maths or even workshopping! You can turn this into your main occupation, or even a way to to earn a little money on the side. Just find out what are you are best at and share your skills with others!

Travel Agent

There are several different ways that you can work as a travel agent. For example, you can work as a freelance agent for a travel agency and deal with writing news letter or customer service. Or you can go your own route and try to find a certain niche and try to tailor to their needs with things such as vacation packages, group cruises etc.

Virtual administrative Assistant

Today, and administrative assistant is much more than a secretary. Some virtual assistants do tasks like writing, graphic design, editing, bookkeeping, social media management, transcription and more. Administrative jobs are great for people who can manage responsibilities, multi- task and support executive personnel in meeting company objectives. In general, administrative professionals should be able to use computers, office equipment and have excellent interpersonal skills.

Writer

A freelance writer is basically someone who writes (for example) small entries on a company's website. You would basically write whatever content a company asks for. Once you're finished with the article, you move on to another company and write again. You usually need to sign a contract to do this job (most of the times they're there to protect the writer). This is a very varied trade, so if you decide to go down this path, you have the possiblity to branch off into a bunch of different kinds of writing such as copy writing, product descriptions and basically whatever a company may think of.

Benefits and Disadvantages of working as a Freelancer

Benefits of working as a Freelancer

  • You're your own boss.

    As the name suggests, a freelancer is independent, you work autonomously. Sure, you have your clients, but remember that you have the freedom to choose who you work for. You won't come into work one morning and find out that your boss has made a crazy decision the night before and be forced to work on it. One of the main benefits of working as a freelancer is that you get to create your own productivity recipe. You set your own goals, hours, office setting or even if you'd like to hire someone to help you while you work. Unwanted projects, collegues and clients won't be pushed onto you anymore. All choices rest on your shoulders. 

  • Flexibility.

    Even if the only people that can hold you accountable are your clients, you still have a lot of flexibility. Depending on what kind of industry you're in, you can choose if you physically meet your clients or not. If you'd like to work from home, a coffee shop or even while on vacation, the choice is all yours. This flexibility also applies to your schedule, you can manage your time (as long as you get the job done) however you'd like. Want to sleep until noon? Done. Want to take a couple of days off to spend time with your family? Done. Also, you can experiement and find your most productive hours of the day, even if they don't match regular business hours.

  • Work- life balance.

    How do you find the time to spend with your family? This work-life balance is a hard one to manage. By freelancing, you have the opportunity to tinker with that balance more flexibly. Even though you need to work, you can choose to do so while the family is out and about. As you tinker with it, you can find the perfect balance on your own.

  • Comfort.

    Offices often have rules about how you can decorate your desk, cubicle of office. Those rules don't apply when you're freelancing. You can set up your office the way that makes you feel most comfortable. You can tailor your home office to whatever calms, motivates or inspires you. There is also the calm that comes from being able to choose your own working hours. 

  • Save time and money by not commuting.

    It is hard to feel as if you're not wasting your time when you're commuting back and forth from work. The time could be used doing something fun or productive. Freelancing allows you to use that commuting time for exactly that. Doing freelance allows you to avoid costs that come from working at an office. First off, you're going to save money on the fares that you have to pay getting to the office (gas, bus, train). You're also going to save money by not spending money on those expensive lunches that you undoubtedly buy at the store next to your office. 

  • Income control.

    When you control your work schedule, you also control how much money that you make. If you'd like to earn a lot money, you add as many hours as possible to your work schedule. On the other side of the coin, if you feel stressed and money isn't tight that month, you can shorten your work schedule. You can also decide if you'd like to keep all the profits to yourself or invest it back into your business.

  • Financial benefits.

    The average freelancer rate can easily be double or triple that of a full time employee, sometimes even more. Freelancers are paid higher rates due to the flexible nature of their relationship with the their employer. This rate is also pushed higher by the fact that many projects can be relatively short- term. Although, this may not always be the case, contracts can be different on a case to case bases, sometimes, contracts can last years. Depending on your area of expertise and the market demand for your skill, you may be able to achieve high rates of pay. Freelancers are usually paid by the hour, and get even better rates when working overtime.

  • Skill development.

    Freelancers tend to work in several different industries. It is through that experience that you'll develop skills within several different industries. With this experience, you'll be able to show any perspective employer that you're highly adaptable to different work environments. After a while, you'll be able to start branding yourself as so flexible that jobs could start coming to you.

Disadvantages of working as a Freelancer

  • Hard to separate personal life from business life.

    Being your own boss and working from home also means that it can be difficult to distinguish between your work time and personal life. That means that you can work long hours and never find time for your personal interests.

  • Isolation.

    Working from home can be isolating. Usually there are no other employees, you have no interaction with management, staff or other employees. Some social media networks such as LinkedIn or Twitter are great tools to get in touch with other legal professionals. Contact with others also often comes in the form of phone calls, faxes or emails, so a freelancer must often make a point to leave the house and see other people.

  • Distractions.

    Usually when you work from home, some people may not understand that work from home is still "work". Those people do not bother to distract your attention to ask for help or something because they think that, this way, you are available any time. Another case if you live not alone, for example, have kids and family. Then the kids might need a lot of your attention and it might become difficult to concentrate. Also, more house chores appear, what requires more additional time.

  • Overworking.

    By working from home, it is easy to lose boundaries between work and life. The tasks may be never ending and you will always find what to do. So, it is an easy way to overworking.

  • No steady or reliable workload and income.

    All of this freedom comes at a price. A freelancer does not have a steady stream of income. Sometimes the jobs are plentiful, other times you'll spend a lot of time and effort trying to find something. As a freelancer you aren't able to depend on regular projects, clients or profits. That is, unless you work in a field that allows you to recieve royalties for your work. There is also the problem of clients that do not pay.

    However, there are ways that you can protect yourself from non-paying clients. There are a lot of ways to figure out if a company is trustworthy, for example, try looking up the company on the internet and see if they have a bad reputation. Your budgeting may also become difficult because of how your monthly salary may fluctuate from month to month, especially during the early stages of freelancing.

  • A lot of legwork.

    When you work a regular nine to five job, you usually get a project handed to you whether you want it or not. You can choose who you work with, but that also means that you need to find people that want to work with you. That means getting acquainted with the different ways that you can market yourself and also getting comfortable with negotiating on your own behalf when you do get a client. Another thing that you have to get used to is filing your own taxes and all the paperwork that is involved with it. Since taxes can be so complicated, you can risk having to hire an accountant to get you up to speed with the things that you need to know about the tax system.

  • No employee benefits.You do not get any employee benefits when you work as a freelancer. That means that you won't receive vacation pay, health insurance and other common perks. Luckily, the most expensive one (health insurance) is already covered by the government, which takes away some of the pressure when working as a freelancer. However, if you do get sick, you have no one to take care of your customers. So you are pressured to work when you're sick lest your clients are taken away.
  • Lack of motivation.

    If you're not careful you might end up losing the motivation to keep on working. This can happen because of lack of workhours, isolation and a whole lot of other factors. However, it's important not to give up and to keep things in perspective, try to find something that motivates you, try to learn a new skill. Just try to not get out of the habit of working towards something. Use all of these experiences to gain a deeper understanding of your business. 

How to deal with the disadvantages and difficulties while being a freelancer

Take a look at how you spend your time.

When you work as a freelancer, you might feel tempted by the distractions at home. You might think that you're just spending a couple of minutes on Facebook, but you might be spending way more time than you think you are!

That's why we suggest you measure your time for a week. If you do that, you may be surprised by how long you spend on things that aren't related to your job. Also, you should also use that to see if you are getting a healthy amount of sleep hours and if you're respecting your break time. During a busy week you may find yourself skipping your breaks and going late to bed, things that really don't help the quality of your work in the long run.

Rent an office outside of your home.

For some people it may be hard to separate you personal and professional life when you work from home. For those people we suggest renting an office. A lot of freelancers rent an office somewhere away from home in order to completely separate business from the personal. The other benefit is that by renting an office you open yourself up to networking opportunities, learning opportunities and new friendships with other freelancers.

Find out when you're most productive.

People are different, that means that they also have different times where they are most productive. If you have had a look at how you spend your time, then you probably know when it is that you're most productive. After you know, it's all about structuring your day around your most productive hours. You can do that by making a list of most important to least important tasks. This way, you can deal with the important ones during the time where you're most productive.

Create goals.

When you're having a difficult time finding the motivation to work, remember that you're not only working for fun. Remember that you are working to make a living. If you're having a difficult time imagining that, try to set up phisical goals. After you make a certain amount of money, you reward yourself with something, like a trip to a sunny beach where drinks are served in coconuts.

Tailor your environment to your needs.

Different jobs require different environments. If you're in a creative field you may be forgiven for having your work space a little bit messy. After all, it has been shown that a chaotic room does stimulate the creative parts of the brain. However, if you are having trouble feeling motivated to work, a messy work environment is not your ally. So have a look at your office and see if it is meeting your needs.

Be social when you can.

If you don't socialise when you freelance, you can risk feeling very lonely. That's why it's a good idea to volunteer for different things so that you can have a life outside of work and your family. It doesn't have to be anything related to your work. You can use that time to explore different things about yourself. Why not try and join a class? 

Where to start?

When actually deciding to become a freelance worker, there are some things you need to take into consideration.

Your skills:

It is highly recommendable to make an inventory of your freelancing skills in order to find the job that will suit you best. We also suggest you find some basic knowledge about the freelance industry in general. Is it thriving? Or is it going through a slump? You should also conduct market research on the industry you're interested in.

By conducting market research you can gain some valuable insights about what the different jobs entail. When you figure out what kind of demands those jobs have see if they fit into your business and your skills. The next step for you is to find out, if your services are needed in your industry. Your skills may be applicable to the industry, but it could also be that the business owners don't know that they need you.

Finding a job:

A lot of companies today are outsourcing various tasks that they used to do inhouse. One thing that you should do before jumping into a brand new industry is to make a clear strategy. It is important that you analyze the business you're stepping into in order to determine if there are any future prospects. If you don't think there will be many jobs in the future, is it worth investing your time getting into the business? Freelancing is also about branding and marketing yourself. If you're able to make yourself memorable, you'll have an easier time getting a job.

Prospective earning:

Before completely changing your occupation, figure out what type of salary you would need to sustain your current lifestyle. That way, you have an idea of how much you should earn per month in order to sustain your lifestyle. If you've done your market research, you'll probably have an idea of how many freelancers operate within the same industry. Use that information to see how much they charge for each consultation/project/job and charge accordingly. One thing that you need to try to get are long term contracts for when you don't have any jobs. For better or for worse a major part of freelancing is the fact that you're paid daily.

Competition:

With statistics pointing towards over 40 percent of the workforce turning freelance in 2020, the competition is fierce and bound to become more so. Since the competition is so rough, you need to make sure that you are able to stand out from the crowd. That is why it is very important that you brand yourself as being different from all the other freelancers. If you don't stand out, that'll just make the competition even tougher. Also, keep in mind that a lot of competition also means that the business that you provide is in high demand.

Be Aware of The Realities

When you finally have decided to become a freelancer, you have to ask yourself how much of your time and money you're willing to invest. Becoming a freelancer can be a very resource intensive in the beginning, both in regards to time and money. A lot of new freelancers begin by working 60 hours  week in order to make all the money they need. Paper work is also time consuming, usually swallowing up weekends.

As you can see, a lot of this stuff can have an impact on your personal life. Until your name has gotten steam and has begun to be recognised within the industry, the amount of work you get can be limited. In other words, even if you do want to work 60 hours a week, you may not be able to do so during the first couple of months. This lack of guarantees also extend to salary as you can't be sure when your employers will pay you (unless you have a contract). As you can see, it is good to have a safety net before you plunge into the world of freelancing. Last but not least, you need to be aware that you're going to have to buy all the equipment you need before you start, such as a computer, office chair, desk asf.

What do you need to be a freelancer?

Here are some tools that are essential for those wanting to successfully work as a freelancer.

1. E-mail apps:

  • FollowUp.cc. If you always forget to follow up with clients (or hate having to remember all of those follow up dates), be sure to check out FollowUp.cc, where you can set it up to remind you with tasks and follow ups automatically.

  • SaneBox. It incorporates algorithms that determine the importance of each email, moves unimportant messages out of the inbox into a separate folder, and then summarises it all.

  • TextExpander (Mac only). If you find yourself typing out the same emails over and over again, be sure to check out TextExpander, which can help you create codes to generate generic templates in a single click.

  • ContactMe. This tool is mostly for managing leads, but it integrates nicely with both Gmail (for messaging purposes) as well as MailChimp (for lead generation purposes).

2. Business tools

  • Bidsketch. Allows you to cut down the time spent doing proposals so you can get back to doing the work you love, plus your proposals will look professional, even if you are not a designer.

  • Freshbooks. Makes billing clients a breeze, no more personal emails with hours and rate calculations, just input your time, your rate, the project name, and Freshbooks handles the rest.

  • DropBox. Is great for doing your work online while also remaining flexible. This makes sure all of your needed resources are always available. With DropBox your files are easily accessible from you laptop, smartphone or basically anything internetcapable.

  • Mint. Is a financial tool that helps you to keep track of expenditures and income. 

  • Shoeboxed. Helps to turn the pile of receipts into digital data for effortless expense reporting, accounting, bookkeeping, and tax invoice.

  • BrainTree. This is a service which helps to make accepting credit cards online as easy a process as possible.

3. Project Management Tools

  • MindMeister. Is the best application for "mindmapping" out there.

  • FreedCamp. Is a free project management and collaboration tool.

  • Trello. Is a collaboration tool that splits your projects into boards. Trello immediately tells you what has been worked on, who is working on what, and how far along certain projects are.

  • Google Apps. A must- use for almost anyone doing business online nowadays. It has some of the best software on the web for keeping projects in line.

  • Basecamp/ CampFire. This is a necessity for those of you that need to . This one- two combo will make sure you and your team is always up to date on what is going on and what needs to be done.

4. Productivity Tools

  • Teux Deux. Has a minimalist design and keeps it simple. You can use it to easily keep your daily "to- do" in order without excess clutter features.

  • Toggl. This is one of the best time tracking tools out there. After quickly getting used to its simplicity, you'll be using it ever day! 

  • RescueTime. Is a time-trackign app that helps you realize where your time being spent in order to watch out for any slacking.

  • Evernote. Allows you to tag and hang essential notes and articles. Freelancers need inspiration, but you do not want to get caught off- track reading 10 articles in a row, so use this to make sure you read those articles later.

  • 1Password. This app saves you the headache that comes from managing all of those passwords that you can't quite seem to remember.

5. Customer Support Resources

  • Clarify. This app was created for capturing and annotating screenshots on your computer in order to help customers understand you when they run into problems.

  • Join.me. This app allows you to connect with customers (even if they do not have the account) and show them what is on your screen. It is perfect for helping clients with tasks that go over their head.

  • SnapEngage. It is a great little live- chat solution for customers who like to get in touch with you before their purchase or for post-purchase support (to avoid excessive emails).

6. Customer Acquisition & Social Media

  • WordPress. This tool is perfect for creating websites and maintaining blogs when you don't have extensive IT knowledge. Blogs today are useful tools for lead generation and acquiring new customers This is done through showing off your expertise with well written content related to what you do.

  • Google Analytics/ HubSpot. These are the tools for measuring and analyzing conversions on your homepage. If potential customers are hitting your freelance homepage or small- business site, make sure you are optimized for conversions by knowing who is sending you traffic.

  • Tweriod. Twitter can be a waste of time if your tweets aren't getting sent out when people can see them. By using this app, you can find out when your followers are online.

  • BufferApp. After you've figured out the proper times to send your tweets, use Buffer app to schedule your blog updates in tandem with your tweets. With this you can make sure you always send out interesting content at the right time.

  • Pluggio. Is the tool to take back your time from social networks. Manage multiple accounts, schedule, drip, automate and even include team members from a single dashboard. This app allows you know out all of your social media obligations at once.

Brand yourself

Branding yourself is without doubt an important necessity for a freelancer to get noticed, and to make sure people remember and recognize your name in the freelance industry. It is all about showcasing who you are, and what value you can add to a company. Freelancers can have a hard time actually finding clients - but if you have a solid brand it will be a whole lot easier to accomplish that. Branding is all about creating awareness - which you can benefit from in the future in more than one way. Below there are four advantageous ways to do branding, which you should take into consideration:

Create a website

Your online presence is extremely important. Creating a website is beneficial in more ways. Your existing clients know where to find you, and so do your future clients, who all want to check out your website to get additional information. Therefore, it is your number one marketing tool.

An important thing to be aware of is, that you should not perceive your website as an online portfolio and business card. Instead, you need to consider it as a sales tool. It is where potential new customers can find you, and the place where you can convey them into hiring you for a specific task or project. Remember not to present what you are doing, but what you can do for your potential customers. Following things are good to integrate services, testimonials from past clients, who you work with, newsletter and a blog.

Tell your story

An increase in the number of freelancers is followed by a decrease in the general quality. Therefore, the opportunity to tell your own story. But keep in mind that know one is interested in reading your freelance portfolio. Instead they want to read more about you as a person. This is where you can increase their confidence before they have to make the final decision. Everybody loves a good story, tell what thrives you and what your desire is - you can eventually spice it up with some visual add ons from past tasks/ projects.     

Create a blog

You may find this to old school, but it is still one of best tricks in the book. The purpose of creating a blog is to increase your reach, and basically to add a new, where potential new customers have the opportunity to find you. When choosing to become a freelancer you are probably savvy in your field. What you should know is that 60 percent that actually have a blog acquire even more customers. 

Use social media

LinkedIn is probably the best tool for freelancers when it comes to social media. LinkedIn is for you if you aim to target other business-minded people online. Using LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to set up a killer profile and then become connected to the right people in your industry. Besides that can participate in group discussions, forums or simply just use to stay in touch with past and present colleagues.

Furthermore you can of course choose to use other social platforms like Facebook or Twitter. If you sell or work with physical products it will be an advantage to either use Instagram or Pinterest, which both are visual platforms used for pictures.  

Find work

There are many different online platforms where you can register as a freelancer and present yourself. Then, it is easier to reach potential customers. These are the most popular and most frequently used platforms

  • GetAFreelancer

  • Desk

  • RentACoder

  • Project4Hire

  • Freelancer

  • Scriptlance

  • Digitalpoint Forum

  • Elance

  • Simply Hired

  • Metafilter Jobs

  • PeoplePerHour

Advertise your services

  1. Decide your target audience.

    This is one of the first steps should be done before advertising. You should know your potential clients. Then you will find canals how to reach them.

  2. Decide the channels.

    After discovering the right target group, you have to find the most appropriate channels. It can be social networking services, certain advertising pages, blogs, job networks, etc.

  3. Create your portfolio.

    This way, you will make it easier for your potential clients to showcase your freelance services. You can show your strongest abilities and all advantages, be creative and smart.

  4. Hire a designer to make your advertising look professional.

    Keep in mind that the first impression is very important. If it does not attract by its first image, then it is almost guaranteed, visitors will not become your customers.

  5. Take part in freelance forums, communities and events.

    It is a free way to advertise your services eye to eye. This way, you can meet like- minded people, freelance consultants, etc. You never know who you could help for and who will notice you. Besides, when you are an active member of the freelance community, you show your support to others and it adds more value for you as a person, and as a professional freelancer.

  6. Consult a marketing/advertising specialist.

    If you are not well- prepared for design of your service presentation online, then think of consulting a person who is a specialist in this field.

Tax and legal information

When being a self-employed freelancer, you are entitled to pay income taxes. When you are employed by a company, then it also takes care of the taxes. As a freelancer, you get paid by the work you complete and then later you have to pay income taxes of the entire profit earned. Besides that, you are also obligated to pay national insurance contribution. It is very important to pay taxes in order to avoid penalties being imposed. You have to sign up and register with the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Usually taxes should be paid twice a year on 31st January and 31st of July. You can pay your income tax and national insurance through Self Assessment. Another good thing to keep in mind is that, you will not receive a tax bill at the beginning. For the sake of your budget, it will be very helpful to save some money for the first tax bill.  

Contracts:

Signing an official contract is always highly recommendable. Signing a contract ensures both parties complete the work that has been agreed. It could contain payment rates, time scale and ownership of the work being completed. For freelancers that are new in the industry, it is always a good idea to seek professional advice, if you have any kind of doubts regarding what the contract should and should not contain.   

Invoicing:

Freelancers have to invoice the work they complete for the customers. The invoice you make have to at least contain some of the following points:

  • The name of your company and address

  • Reference number

  • Date of supply (tax point)

  • What you are charging for

  • Amount to be paid

  • Payment terms and date for payment

VAT:

VAT (value-added tax) is a consumption tax. A business must register for VAT before or once the sales exceed £ 73.000 (in a year) or you can choose to make a voluntary registration. As a freelancer, you have to be VAT registered before you can charge VAT or before you can reclaim taxes from other businesses.

For a freelancer who work within the distribution/ selling industry, VAT is the price added to the product, material or service provided. For the buyer, it is a tax added to the purchase price. In most cases, the VAT is 20 per cent but can in some cases be 'zero rated' which means you do not charge, but you can reclaim, or exempt where neither VAT can be charged or reclaimed. You have to go to the VAT office on a quarterly basis to give the details on how much you have charged and reclaimed.

Insurance:

When being a freelancer, it is your own job to make sure you have the adequate insurances, that will protect you if an accident occurs, or if you should receive customer claims. Besides that, you have responsibilities to your customers and the public in general. If you have been assigned to a specific task the company might have one, which you are covered under.

  • Public Liability: This insurance will cover you against your legal liability. If you by accident cause damage to someones property. It will also cover you if you cause damage to another person.

  • Professional indemnity (PI Insurance): This insurance is called professional indemnity and protects against legal liability. This insurance is designed to protect and cover you financially from customers who are not fully satisfied with the work you have completed. It also covers the legal fees when fighting a claim.

  • Business liability: This insurance will protect you from third party claims, if you cause damage injures another person or their property.    

NB: If you have any doubts concerning insurances you should seek professional advice with an insurance broker.

Make Sure You Get paid

  • Do some detective work (with new clients). You should be sure the clients will be solvent and will pay you in the right time. Try to make a research as much as possible, usually in various forums and panels.

  • Offer an early payment discount. In order to make your clients to be willing to pay, make some offers for them. For example, suggest them an early payment discount.

  • Use a contract. Do not forget that every payment should be legal and according to the country's rules. The contract should be clear and define, show all the necessary details from both partners.

Make it easy for your clients to pay you (PayPal, for instance). It is well known that the more obstacles there are, and the more complicated the system is, the less people want to engage in such partnerships. 

General tips to work from home as a Freelancer

1. Create a daily work schedule and follow it.

Daily schedule will allow you to manage your time, also to know how much you have to work and see how much of time you can do other things. Also, it will enable you to plan the following months. Daily routine and discipline will help you not miss tour main path and always know what you have to do.

2. Set clear goals and vision for the future.

When you know your goals, it is much easier to make a detailed plan how to achieve it. Then you can plan it by single steps and accomplish the tasks.

3. Get properly dressed and have a suitable workplace.

Probably working in your pyjamas will not enable you to feel like you are really working. Thus, make sure you feel good how you look like and where you work. A messy table certainly will not enhance your productivity and motivation. Proper and suitable furniture might also.

4. Furthermore, do not forget to take breaks.

You can not work without stop and breaks. They might help to freshen yourself and even enhance your motivation.

5. Finally, staying healthy is also very very important.

Have proper sleep, take breaks, eat healthy and regularly, exercise often and then you might expect to have a lot of motivation, good working mood and ideas for your work.