How to kick-start your career as a freelancer

Even just ten years ago, the idea of working freelance was one that was alien to many people. Giving up the security of a regular wage didn’t seem worth it, even if it was in exchange for some more freedom. But in today’s more exciting, decentralised and ever-changing economy, it’s increasingly appealing for a whole host of reasons. Whether it’s increased flexibility in your schedule or simply the opportunity to complete a more diverse range of tasks, there are lots of reasons to go for a more liberated working life. With that in mind, here’s how you can get your freelance show on the road.

Consider career goals

While some who go freelance may be concerned that they’ll be limiting their chances of returning to permanent work, it’s true to say that it can actually benefit your career to opt for this route. Through the many different clients you’ll meet, freelancing exposes you to the ways that lots of different firms operate – which is a handy insight for a permanent employee to have. If you make a success of your freelance life for long enough, it will also in the future show potential employers that you’re organised enough to run your own business – which is a quality that any manager would love to see.

Think about tax

Tax is not the sort of thing that many people want to think about – but if you’re about to become a freelancer, you’re going to have to think about it and prepare to deal with it. An essential part of freelance work is the fact that you’ll need to manage your own tax affairs, a task which includes filing your own return once a year if you’re a sole trader.

And if you incorporate as a limited company, you’ll have even more to file – such as a detailed confirmation statement. If all of this sounds like too much, it may instead be worth using an umbrella company which can handle the tax side of things for you. While the umbrella company vs. PAYE (pay as you earn) discussion rages on, it’s clear that using an umbrella firm can help you to reduce the time spent on accounting and instead make the most of your time to earn money.

Rough with the smooth

Unfortunately, as a freelancer it’s always going to be the case that money doesn’t flow in as regularly as you would like. From clients who miss payments to months when work dries up, there are lots of financial issues to consider. If you’re able to save some cash before you make the decision to leave your job and start out as a freelancer, you’ll be able to have an emergency fund in place to look after yourself if monetary problems arise.

As a freelancer, you’re likely to face all sorts of different hurdles from time to time. Whether it’s your ability to keep paying your bills during periods of downtime or ensuring that you don’t miss your tax return deadline even by a day, there’s a lot to do. Luckily, the existence of umbrella companies, career plans and much more mean that freelance life can be made just that little bit easier.

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