It’s National Freelancers Day, where freelancers from all industries are celebrated for their independence and for inspiring others to break free from tradition by taking control of their careers.
There are almost 2 million freelancers in the UK working in creative, managerial, professional, scientific and technical occupations according to IPSE. From graphic designers and writers to project managers and engineers, freelancers help to meet skill gaps in key sectors and provide workforce contingency to thousands of businesses across the UK.
Freelancers come from all age groups with 21% aged 60 years or older, and 10% aged 16-29. Furthermore, 44% of freelancers are women; a figure ever-increasing.
To celebrate freelancers of all ages, genders and occupations on National Freelancers Day, we’ve highlighted tips and advice for freelancers from some of our most popular blogs:
1. How to find freelance work online
In our blog focusing on the best tools for finding contract roles, we discussed an online freelance marketplace called Upwork. Upwork allows freelancers to create profiles on the site so that individuals and companies looking for freelancers can find them, connect with them and hire them. If you’re looking for more freelance work, Upwork can help you find it whether it’s in web development, customer service, marketing, accounting or almost any other sector.
2. The importance of having your own space whilst working from home
Some freelancers, especially those who freelance whilst being a full-time parent, will inevitably work from home. If you work from home it’s very important to have your own space. Creating a workspace that’s yours and yours alone will increase your productivity and focus, and if you have to work from home there are even some expenses that you can claim from your home office if you work through your own limited company.
3. How to go about chasing unpaid invoices and late payments
Getting paid late or not getting paid at all is something of a dilemma for plenty of freelancers in the UK. According to The Federation of Small Business, one in three payments to small businesses are late, and entrepreneurs spend approximately 1.2 days per month chasing invoices.
So what can you do if you’re left waiting for a payment to come through from your client? We’ve previously discussed some steps you can take to deal with unpaid invoices and late payments to ensure you get paid without necessarily burning bridges with your client. These include sending respectful reminder emails, using debt collection agencies and ensuring you have straightforward communication with your agency.
4. Tips for budgeting and managing your cash flow
Not having guaranteed work or steady incoming funds is part and parcel of freelancing. As an independent professional you have to be able to manage your finances well in order to pay the bills and maintain the lifestyle you want.
We recently put together some useful budgeting tips that, whilst most are common sense, are often simple solutions for contractors and freelancers to better manage their cash flows. One of these tips involves trying some innovative budgeting and saving mobile apps.
Read more about budgeting on our blog.
5. How to find the right accountant for you and your business
There are thousands of freelancers in the UK who work through their own limited company. Those who freelance for a living can benefit from being the sole director and shareholder of a limited company, as the financial returns can be greater than working through an umbrella company. Furthermore, working as a sole trader – as many freelancers do – poses personal financial liability risks, whereas limited companies have none.
Hiring an accountant is the best way to ensure you maximise your take home pay and minimise administrative burden whilst working through a limited company.
There are several things you should look out for when searching for an accountant, which we have outlined in our blog. Besides pricing, other important factors include value-added services offered, the use of technology, and whether the accountants are specialists in the contractor and freelancer industry.
6. How to manage your time efficiently as a freelancer
When you work for yourself, time is money and poor time management can cost you. There are a few straightforward and simple ways to manage your time as a freelancer to get your work done and keep your client happy:
- Weekly/daily task lists – straightforward yet effective. Create a task list for the whole week, and then each day create a daily task list from the master list to stay on schedule.
- Set aside time for admin – there is a small amount of admin to do when you run your own limited company, such as filling in timesheets and claiming expenses. Set aside 15-20 minutes each week to do this.
- Use apps to track mileage and expenses – mobile apps help you store information on the go so you can log it for your accountant later.
Visit our blog for more helpful time management tips.
Freelancers contribute £119 billion to the UK economy, and the number of freelancers is constantly growing as more and more professionals are turning to flexible and independent working.
We like to see professionals excel at self-employment, which is why we’ve been in the contractor and freelancer accounting industry for almost two decades.