Being a freelancer can be wonderful, yet intimidating at first. Here are some tips to get you started!
You have to be registered as a freelancer
First things first: you have to register as a self-employed person with HMRC. It is an easy and straight-forward process, which you can find here: https://www.gov.uk/working-for-yourself/overview Here you will also find useful information about taxation and other practical matters.
Create a detailed contract template
Although you are likely to agree what work you will deliver verbally, a written contract or working agreement is an essential part of working for yourself as it provides legal protection in cases where clients refuse to pay you on time or even at all. They help avoid misunderstandings as to the nature of your services, what you are expected to provide or what happens in case one or both parties deciding to stop the collaboration.
Create your promotional material
If you want to avoid typing up an individual offer every time someone asks for your service, it can be very convenient to have an up-to-date pdf file with everything your new client needs to know about your work. Include the prices and the processes which will be followed. This is a useful document even if you decide to change something, e.g. make a discount for a particular client, as they will be aware that this is a ‘special’ situation and not the norm.
Learn to choose your clients
It may be difficult at first, but learning to recognise the clients that can potentially cause you problems in the future will save you time and money in the long run. Turning down work will always seem counterintuitive, but stick to your instincts as one of the perks of being your own boss is being able to say 'No thanks' some of the time.
It is your work and you should get paid
It is easy to find yourself in a situation that a client might ask for something extra that wasn’t a part of the original deal and which you are asked to do for free. It may seem no big deal at first, especially if it’s something easy, but you will need to draw the line somewhere, as you are running a business and you have to be paid for the work you do without feeling guilty about it.
Get to know other freelancers
Apart from building the foundation for potential future collaborations, networking will help you meet people who have the same problems and considerations as you do. Discussing, for example, a difficult situation with someone who has handled similar issues in the past, can be very comforting and helpful. If you don’t feel comfortable going to a meeting or event there are plenty of forums and digital meetups you can join. Renting a co-working space can also be a fantastic solution if you don’t like working alone.
InternHub is a brand new service from AAI in which we connect freelancers with employers for specific, ad-hoc projects and it can be the perfect start for a new freelancer. Be a member here and start building your portfolio and experience!