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Freelance in UK: What Every Freelancer Needs to Know

What is freelancing?

Freelancing is a type of self-employment that pays you well and helps you work flexibly. 

It allows you to work on short-term and long-term projects as per your preference, skills, experience and availability. 

Some of the fields where freelance work is prevalent are:- 

  • Content writing, editing and proofreading
  • Graphic designing
  • Photography
  • Programming
  • Data entry
  • Marketing
  • Accounting
  • Virtual assistants

Benefits of working freelance:

While there may be many misconceptions about freelancing being an unreliable job, the benefits of working as a freelancer make it worth considering:

  • Freelancing gives you the option of working flexibly anywhere without any restrictions of working in the regular business hours.
  • Freelancing gives you the chance of exploring various fields and building an impressive portfolio for yourself. It also helps you to gain knowledge and experience, thus, giving you a chance to grow and develop.
  • Working as a freelancer allows you to choose which project you want to work on and which clients you want to work with.
  • As a freelancer, you will get exposed to different kinds of domains and companies.  And every time you start a new project, you will be required to start from scratch.  Thus, freelancing allows you to grow faster as compared to a full-time job.
  • It gives you the freedom to make any decision without having to answer to any superior authority. You can do what you want, as long as you deliver quality work to the client on time.

How to become a freelancer in the UK?

Freelancing demands hard work and commitment to your work. 

Establishing yourself as a well-known freelancing business entity can be challenging, especially when you don’t know where to start. 

Here are some points to guide you on how to become a freelancer in the UK:

1. Choosing a craft 

The first step is to choose a craft that you can do based on your skillset. The craft that you choose should be something that you are good at and in demand in the market.

For example, if you plan to work as freelance accountants in London, you must have a public practice certificate and professional indemnity insurance. Also, familiarise yourself with popular accounting software, like Xero, Quickbooks, Sage etc.

2. Building your brand 

One way to have a competitive advantage is to establish yourself as a brand. 

To project yourself to your clients in an impressive manner, you need to build and maintain an online presence. 

One way of doing this is to go with an intriguing brand name and a captivating logo, and active social media.

3. Deciding your freelancing fees 

The next step is to determine how much you aregoing to charge and on what basis. 

You can either set a fixed rate for a project or charge an hourly rate. Your fees depend on various factors like:

  • The going rate for your skillset
  • Your level of experience
  • Your reputation and referrals
  • The type of project
  • The duration of the project
  • Demand and supply

4. Choosing a legal business structure 

You must decide whether you want to register yourself as a sole trader or a limited company. 

As a sole trader, you will get to keep all your profits, but you will also be liable for all business liabilities and lawsuits. 

If you register a limited company, you will not have to carry all of the risks yourself, but it will come at the cost of having less privacy and more paperwork.

If you are not sure, then speak to a local online accountant so you can decide the best option in the long run.

5. Pitching your proposal for client acquisition 

It is vital to conduct market research and get to know your target market.

This enables you to put together a portfolio and pitch your proposal correctly to the clients. 

A comprehensive marketing strategy and smart networking can help you line up your freelance clients quickly.

6. Registering for tax 

Whether you have decided to run as a sole trader, a limited company or in a partnership, it is essential to get yourself registered with HMRC for tax.

Also, check whether IRS 35 regulations apply to you or not.

7. Getting freelance insurance 

Getting freelance insurance specific to your business can help your business by:-

  • Covering the essentials of your business
  • Helping you out if you stop working because of a personal accident
  • Protecting your business from large claims in case of an accident or injury 

Some of the freelance insurance that you can get are:

  • Employers liability insurance – if you have employees to assist you in the projects
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Tools insurance
  • Public liability insurance
  • Legal expenses insurance

Tips that every freelancer should follow:

Some of the tips that you can follow as a freelancer to grow your customer base are as follows:

  • A polite and professional attitude always help you to provide the best customer service possible. Thus, politeness is a skill that you should get acquainted with if you want to build a long-term relationship with your clients.
  • Asking your clients for feedback can help you to improve the quality of your work. Make sure that you accept even negative feedback with grace because constructive criticism can help you to learn from your mistakes and perform better in future.
  • Do not hesitate to ask any additional questions in case the task description and the instructions of the client seem vague. Getting to know what the customer wants will help you to meet the expectations of the customer.
  • Freelancing allows you to work with freedom and flexibility, but you need to remember that working freelance requires discipline. Maintain a routine to avoid the risk of missing deadlines.
  • Some of the best freelance websites that you can use to find a job that pays well in the UK are Elevate, Bidvine, Contently and OnSite.