Freelancing work is a type of self-employment. You can work for several clients at a time, and your work hours are as flexible as you want them to be. Freelancers can choose to work on any type of project, big or small, as long as they have the skills and availability that their employers need.
So how does freelancing work?
There are many ways you can set up your freelancing work. You can either make your own website or register an account with a range of job sites. Some websites are dedicated to freelancers and businesses looking to hire their various skills, such as Freesy, Upwork, and Peopleperhour, to name a few.
Usually, employers get the ball rolling by posting a job or project on a freelance website. Freelancers can deliver their pitch if they are interested in the project–why their skills are best suited for the project and discuss their fee and terms of payment. The client will screen the proposals and decide which freelancer to hire for the project.
Once hired, you and your client will discuss the details of your work arrangements, deadlines, progress reporting, and standards or metrics. You can negotiate some details here until you reach a mutual agreement. Once the project is completed, either in stages or as a whole, and the standards are met, payment will be made according to the terms you’ve agreed on.
Almost every service any employer will ever need can be outsourced to a freelancer, but some of the most popular fields are in digital marketing, multimedia, financial support, writing, and programming.
If you are the entrepreneurial type, want to break free of the usual 9-5 work hours and be in control of your time, or want to make money off of your passions, talents, and skills, then maybe freelancing is a great fit for you.
Freelancing Work Pros and Cons
There are many benefits to being a freelancer. It is quick and easy to set up, you can choose the projects you want to work on, and you are in charge of your work hours. As long as you meet your deadlines and the standards and metrics set by your clients for the projects you work on, you are free to choose when and where to work.
It is also a really affordable business to start. For example, freelance photographers, writers, or programmers can capitalize on their knowledge, skillset, and talents. Most of the time, it only becomes expensive if you decide to invest in upgrading your equipment, like a better lens or a newer laptop model. But if your current equipment gets the job done, and you don’t wish to upgrade, you are always free to do so.
Freelancing is a popular choice amongst students, fresh graduates, and working parents. It is also a common choice for those in-between jobs and people looking to pursue their passions or a career path that they can’t find easily in regular job roles.
However, freelancing is not for everyone. It needs a high level of self-motivation, adaptability, and some great communication skills, with a pleasing personality. These will come in handy for all the negotiations you’re going to be doing.
Freelancing work is also a highly competitive market. You have to continuously hone your skills and remain updated in specific industry knowledge to get an edge against your competition.
Lastly, since freelancing work is a form of self-employment, you are responsible for keeping on top of managing your finances, making sure you are updated in paying your taxes and securing your business by taking insurance. It can be tough to handle all the paperwork and technicalities, so you might eventually need to outsource some freelancers of your own to assist you.
What are the things you need to do with Freelancing Work?
Now that you’ve decided to be a freelancer, what are the things you need to do?
The first thing you need to consider is how much will you be charging for your skills and expertise. Do some basic research on the going rate for your services or skillset. Take into consideration your level of experience, as well as the bills you need to pay. It is also important to build up a good reputation and referrals that justify your fee. Earn the respect and trust of a couple of clients who offer reasonably charged projects.
Build your portfolio. Good reviews from previous clients are the best way to attract more potential clients but when you are just starting, and even when you’ve been freelancing for some time, they will always want to see samples of your work.
Decide where you are going to work, whether you will be renting office space or largely working from home. While the simplest choice is to work from home, some freelance jobs might need some specialist facilities. Renting office space may be quite expensive, but if it helps you get the work done better and faster, it might be an investment worth considering.
Decide on the business structure you want to register with HMRC, whether as a sole trader or a limited company. There are many resources that tackle the pros and cons of the two, but in a nutshell, sole traders have less paperwork and more privacy than limited companies. However, sole traders carry all of the risks that come with the business, including debts and other financial liabilities.
Research on which option makes more sense for your business and take as much time as you need before deciding. Get input from other freelancers who’ve been in the industry for some time, even your clients may be able to provide invaluable information to guide your decision-making.
Learn how to sell your skills to potential clients. Be realistic when it comes to the amount of work you can take on as one person. Research your target market and get to know what qualities they look for in hiring a freelancer and what kind of projects demand your skillset. Marketing is also an important part of freelancing.
Look into tailored business insurance that works best for your freelance business. It serves as a fail-safe in case you ever need it.
Register as self-employed with HMRC. Do this as soon as possible to avoid paying fines. This is an essential step regardless of your business structure, and it is something that you can do online. Take note of all the essential details and login codes that you will be using often in filing your taxes. Take note of all your tax deadlines, including all the paperwork and reports you are required to submit and make sure to keep your books up-to-date and organized.
If you want to discover what more you can do for your freelancing work or your business, get in touch with Annette & Co. today! In line with that, you may appreciate having an expert assess your current financial systems and some business strategies. Contact Annette & Co. for a friendly chat about what you can do to improve your business gains even more! You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel for more quick updates and follow us on Instagram.