If you have recently taken the decision to go it alone as a freelancer, congratulations! You are about to enjoy the UK’s most fulfilled independent workforce that is growing bigger by the day.
Signature Works in Liverpool is a dedicated flexible office space provider located and we provide a wealth of support for freelancers to boost their success. Taking the plunge to become a freelancer doesn’t mean that you have to be on your own.
We endeavour to support our members as much as possible and providing useful information is just one of the ways we can help.
To make sure you’re fully prepared for life as a freelancer, here are some things you should know before taking the leap.
1. Starting is easier than you think
Working as a freelancer in the UK is actually much more straightforward than it is in some other countries, especially if you are classified as a ‘sole trader’. You have to inform the tax authorities by registering as self-employed and it’s really as simple as that.
Here is a useful checklist to help you:
- Register as self-employed with HM Revenue & Customs
- Find out from your local council if you need to pay business rates or obtain any permits/planning permission to work from home
- Register for VAT if you expect to have a turnover of more than £83,000 a year
- Set up a book-keeping system for all your invoices, purchase orders and delivery notes
- Ensure that your own name is on all of your business stationery including receipts and invoices
2. You don’t need expensive office space
Most clients don’t care if you work from home as long as you provide a reliable and quality service. But business can be about image and some people might not take you seriously unless you have your own office. Therefore make the best use of freelancing office spaces close to you like Signature Works and consider the benefits of our membership options. This way, you can pay for the time you need and nothing more and so you’re not tied into long-term lease agreements plus you can work from a prime location for a fraction of the cost which will enhance your image at the same time.
Working from flexible office spaces such as Signature Works will mean you won’t have to pay business rates, which can apply even if you choose to work from home. The big advantage of co-working spaces is that your overheads are included in your membership fees, meaning you don’t have to take responsibility for them.
3. You don’t need a business loan
When you’re a freelancer, starting work is not expensive and there’s generally no need to approach your bank for a loan. All you need is your computer and a space to work from and you are ready to go. Many freelancers opt to work from co-working spaces like Signature Works in Liverpool, where you can find all the office supplies you need to keep you in business without having to fork out loads of money. A co-working space like ours in Liverpool is set up to provide you with everything you need to springboard growth.
4. There will be droughts
You have to be aware that there will be ups and downs on your freelancing career path. Another significant benefit of joining a co-working firm like Signature Works in Liverpool is that they can help you make invaluable connections with others who can boost your career. Getting through the droughts is easier when you have the backing of a co-working community and this is one of the biggest reasons our members give us for joining Signature Works in the first place.
5. You don’t need a big portfolio to start out
If you don’t think you’re good enough to go freelance because you haven’t got a decent portfolio or your CV isn’t up to scratch, think again! Just spend time building up your portfolio or CV by getting as much experience as possible, whenever you can.
Most importantly, remember this – you have skills and people will always want to pay for them. Have confidence and use your first year to get to grips with running a business, building up contacts and experience.
If you don’t believe in your own skills and abilities, no one else will. But if you still feel under-prepared, consider taking an evening course or train yourself up to learn new skills. The freelancer that’s always striving to improve is more likely to succeed.
6. Some clients will try to take advantage
Most clients think that you live the life of Riley if you’re a freelancer, when in fact it can be extremely tough. It is not unusual for clients to think you owe them a favour for them giving you work or that they can take advantage because you haven’t got the weight for a company behind you. It’s almost a given that clients will try everything to pay you less than you have asked for and definitely less than you deserve. You have to be strong and assertive to make sure that you aren’t taken advantage of when it comes to getting paid. Yes we all want to build our businesses and that may mean doing the occasional favour for a client on the hope of getting more work from them but it doesn’t mean that we are any less worthy than a full-time employee and it’s important you don’t forget it!
7. You’ll miss the safety of being employed
Freelancing is not for everyone and there are things you have to leave behind when you quit your traditional job that you may go on to miss. Things like a bonus system or just the fact that you will get paid holidays and sick leave can be big temptations for freelancer when they’re going through a tough time self-employed.
Although you may miss the safety net of full-time employment from time to time, there is nothing more rewarding than building a successful freelance career. Keep at it. Believe in yourself and you will get there in the end.
8. Freelancing is fun and hugely rewarding
Although freelancing can be fun and it can allow you to do things you choose to do when you want to do them. However, freelancing is extremely hard work and the better you want to do, the more hours you have to put in to achieve it. On the upside, there’s nothing more satisfying that completing a challenging project and getting paid for it without the assistance of a full-time boss. That can really compensate for all the downsides of freelancing. Life isn’t perfect and so it’s not surprising that even a freelancer’s lifestyle can get them down from time to time.