Key tax dates and deadlines for 2018/19
It is an inevitable reality that, for anyone earning a livin...
By Jonathan London on 2nd July 2015
So you’ve decided you’re going freelance; your partner’s supportive (if a bit jealous) and you’ve called your parents and told them the news. Even your cat seems to be giving you congratulatory looks every time it passes you en-route to the kitchen.
Your head is full of exciting plans, such as working in your slippers or setting up a desk in the garden to make the most of those rare sun-filled summer days. You’ve bought your new stationery, cleared some office space, and got new business cards printed.
But actually setting up as a freelancer isn’t always as easy as it sounds; even the most experienced and qualified professionals probably need a helping hand along the way. For some things you might just need generalised advice and a gentle nudge in the right direction, whereas others require tailored guidance from experts in that field (such as finance or niche advertising). Here’s our lowdown on where to go for some freelancing advice (spoiler: unfortunately Netflix didn’t make the cut).
Handily, HMRC provide some fantastic resources for those stepping onto the freelancing path (or even freelancers who need a refresher). From step-by-step guides on how to fill out your tax return to booklets on expenses, they cover most answers to the issues you’ll face. However, the more detailed guides assume that you have a reasonable understanding of the various taxes there are, and how self-employment works. If you want some jargon-free help, we have our guides to contracting for those new to self-employment.
If you’re looking for advice on how you can reduce your tax bill, HMRC aren’t going to help you here. For specialist and tailored guidance, it’s best to consult an accountancy firm who specialise in freelance and contractor accounts. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction with regards to your business structure, help you obtain a business bank account and ensure you’re IR35 compliant to boot.
Even if currently you’ve got more contracts and clients than you know what to do with, unfortunately there will probably come a time when you need to advertise your wares. Most freelancers use social media and a simple shop-front website to sell their services – and luckily there are thousands of blogs, websites and consultants to help you with a successful digital strategy.
Buffer, HootSuite and Econsultancy all provide excellent blogs on social media and internet marketing best practice. If you still feel out of your depth, it’s best to seek the help of a digital marketing consultant to help you develop and implement a logical digital strategy to give you a head start.
Working in an office with KPIs, bosses and the lack-of-slippers means that it’s far easier to stay motivated and be productive. The good news is that there are plenty of business websites providing support and advice to help. From Lifehack to Forbes, they’ve got your back when it comes to trying to streamline your workflow.
If you still feel like you need additional help, seeking the guidance of a life coach will prompt you into unlocking your inner Mr Motivator.
Let’s be honest here, the internet is perfect for two things; procrastination and inspiration. From watching a quick pick-me-up Youtube video (hey, even if it’s puppies we won’t judge) to immersing yourself in philosophical essays on the meaning of life, inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes.
Thanks to their new content publishing platform, LinkedIn now also contains a host of insightful business articles. Sure, you may have to scavenge to find the useful (and good) stuff, but you can follow influencers such as Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Marissa Mayer.
For more business-related inspiration, TED talks provide a plethora of subjects to whet your appetite. Although you can filter to just view their business seminars they have a wide array of subjects on offer, from the lessons learnt from daredevil adventures to a talk on the science behind laughter. The business section might not be quite so uplifting or life affirming, but you can guarantee one thing – it’ll be interesting. However, I wouldn’t recommend pressing play if you’re just about to go to bed. You’ll be in for a shock when you realise it’s suddenly 5am and you have an important client meeting at 9.30 – definitely not the kind of inspiration you need as a new freelancer.
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