How to Become A Freelancer

Imagine earning a living from the comfort of your own home; freelance work is a way to do just that. You may be surprised at what skills you can offer as a freelance service. Read on to discover how you can become a freelancer and start making money today.

What Is Freelance Work?

Working freelance means providing a service for a fee and not necessarily with a fixed single employer or client. Being a freelancer is a common way to refer to being self-employed. Unlike running a home business, a freelancer can also work as an independent contractor.

Why Be a Freelancer?

Working freelance has lots of benefits:

  • Earn some extra money on top of your day job. A little extra can make all the difference.
  • Work from anywhere at your own pace. You can fit work around socialising, family obligations and hobbies. Set your own schedule and be your own boss.
  • Acquire and build on new skills. Learn by doing: self-employment can teach you valuable business skills as well as improve the skills you already have.
  • You can start immediately. Once you have your first client on board, you can start working straight away.
  • It’s easier to take risks. With freelance, you don’t have to answer to a boss and you can task risks; both professionally and creatively.

Freelance work does have a few drawbacks to keep in mind:

  • It can take a while to see real money. Earning a living through freelance work doesn’t happen overnight.
  • You can’t necessarily rely on regular work or a steady income from freelance work.
  • It can be tricky to organise multiple clients and stay on top of everything.
  • Initial pay for new freelancers can be quite low.

Types of Freelance Work

There are many ways to provide a freelance service. Most services already provided to businesses can be offered by a freelancer too. Some examples of popular freelance work include:

  • Content writing and copywriting
  • Virtual personal assistant work
  • Web design and developing
  • Bookkeeping and accountancy
  • Marketing, PR and social media management services
  • Remote customer support and account management

How to Become A Freelancer

How to Get Started as a Freelancer

To begin freelance work, think about what skill you can offer to clients with confidence. You don’t have to be an expert in the field to have something to offer (and charge for)/

Most freelancers will draw on experience gained in past employment.

When starting work as a freelancer, t’s a good idea to think outside of the service you’ll be providing. Consider doing some of the following:

  • Create a clean, professional website to showcase your talents and market your brand, as well as display a portfolio of your work.
  • Make a business plan for your new business. There is lots of information online for how to create a business plan for your freelance services.
  • Create a rich LinkedIn profile to network with other freelancers and connect with potential clients.
  • Invest in dedicated business tools like a business mobile number, business cards and logos.

How to Find Freelance Work

There are several places to find freelance work. Some good places to start include:

  • Amongst people you know. Your online and offline network is a great place to find potential work.
  • Freelance websites. Freelance work is bigger now than it’s ever been. There are now several high profile sites dedicated to freelance work: Freelancer, Upwork, Guru and PeoplePerHour are just a few.
  • Online forums and other places where your target clients circulate. Think about your audience, what they need and where they will go to find help.

How to Manage Your Taxes as a Freelancer

As a freelancer, it’s important to keep in mind that there are specific tax obligations for your work. As with any circumstance of self-employment or owning your own business, a freelancer must file the correct tax returns under your own name and personal tax ID number. You must:

  • Pay income tax on any earnings over the personal allowance threshold of £11.501
  • Pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions of £2.70 per week (unless you learn less that £5,725 per year)
  • Pay Class 4 NICs on profits over £7,755 at 9% up to £41,450 and then 2% thereafter

All figures correct as of September 2017.

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