Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

5 tips on going freelance

Going freelance is a big decision.

There are plenty of perks but it’s not always easy. You get to be your own boss, set your own workload and work at your own pace. It can be an invigorating and creative way to earn money. It can be a way of gaining more control over your day to day life, which many people crave.

However, the decision to go freelance should never be made lightly. While there are lots of great things about freelancing, there are difficulties too. You are officially self-employed, which means arranging certain processes yourself. Whether you’re a freelance writer, developer, graphic designer, so on and so forth, you need to make sure your skills are up to scratch. This means you need to make sure you are up to date with consumer trends, technology, training and anything else that can help you further your career. Now that the industry is becoming so much more saturated, there is a lot of competition out there, so you need to try to stand out.

Here are some tips on going freelance...

Use an invoicing template

As a freelancer, you will spend lots of time creating and sending invoices. It’s important to ensure they’re as accurate and professional as possible to avoid payment delays. Unfortunately, some clients will take a long time to pay you, so you don’t want to give them any excuses. Using a template will help to make the invoicing process more straight forward. It puts all the information in the right place and ensures your invoices meet the industry standard. They can be personalised to look creative, too. For more information, check out this freelance invoice template UK. Invoices really are something you can’t afford to get wrong if you want to get paid the right amount on time.

Hire an accountant

One of the most difficult things about going freelance is organising your finances and paying tax. If you’ve previously been employed, taxes will have come out of your pay check automatically. While some freelancers like to do their taxes themselves, hiring an accountant is beneficial, especially when you start out. This simply means that your taxes will be correctly calculated and you won’t encounter charges later. If you aren’t sure where to find an accountant, ask other freelancers for recommendations.

Create a routine

One of the best things about being freelance is that you don’t have to do the 9-5 if it doesn’t suit you. If you hate mornings you can have a lie in, or you can take a long lunch when you fancy it. However, it’s still important to establish a routine. You won’t be productive if you get up at different times every day. The best freelancers establish a routine that works for them and stick to it. This might change depending on your workload per month, but finding a level of stability helps in an unreliable field.

You must also take note and have an idea of when you are most likely to be contacted by clients. For example, if one always gets in touch with you on a Monday morning, then it is best to ensure that you are awake to deliver a speedy response. If they don’t hear back from you until hours later then the chances are they will have contacted another freelancer in your place. Always stay on top of your emails.

Use an app for expenses

As a freelancer, there will be plenty of things you can claim back when you complete your tax return. This will vary on the industry you’re in, but you might be able to claim back equipment, travel costs or coffees at meetings. It can be difficult to track all of this over the space of a year, especially if you’re relying on keeping receipts. Paperwork is infamously easy to lose, so consider using an app instead. These will keep all your expenses in one place and make your tax return easier to manage. You could even have an up to date spreadsheet with all your monthly costs in. Take pictures of receipts and back them up to ensure you have a digital memory of them, this way they can’t get lost.

Learn to say no

It can be easy to take on as much work as possible as a freelancer. But this means you might experience burnout. Learn to listen to your body and say no. It might sound simple, but often it’s the hardest skill to master. It is a good idea to regularly get in touch with your clients to let them know your current availability and to update them if this changes. That way, they shouldn’t be assigning you too much work when you don’t have the capacity. Communication is key as a freelancer - a simple email stating how much you can take on means that you are in control, and your clients should respect this. The same applies to if you want to have a weekend off or you wish to go on holiday. Just let everybody know in advance and then you shouldn’t have any issues.

All in all, there are so many pros to going freelance - you just need to know how to manage everything, which will come in time. Whilst it might be difficult and daunting to start with, after a lot of hard work and perseverance your efforts should pay off and you will be able to pick and choose which clients you want to work with and when. That is the beauty of freelancing: you are in the driver’s seat and can regain control of your life. Many people who work on a freelance basis become ‘digital nomads’, travelling the world with their laptops, working as they go. However, with this, discipline is key - you must ensure that you are still getting a work/life balance and you don’t get carried away enjoying yourself too much! You still need funds to keep you afloat. Good luck on your freelancing journey!