Freelancing in five easy steps
Look at both the geographical area you live and work in and the industry you work for: is contracting or freelancing well established?
If there is already a thriving freelancing or contracting market (such as in IT) you are likely to find it easier to establish yourself.
Conversely, if you work in an industry or area where there is very little competition, you may also be in a strong position to go freelance.
Now that you've established there is a market for skills like yours, you need to make a realistic assessment of your own personal and professional skills.
Your professional skills
Given the market, and the demands of businesses for freelancers in your area, do you have all the skills and qualifications that you need?
If not, you could consider retraining, taking a short course, or even an online refresher course.
Being a freelancer, contractor or consultant can bring financial rewards. However, along with the potential for high earnings (in some sectors!) comes the likelihood of uncertainty and additional stress at those times when you do not have a contract. If you are the sort of person who needs stability and certainty in your working life, becoming a freelancer may not be suitable.
As a freelancer, you will need to have the confidence to negotiate contracts and sell your skills to potential employers. Depending on your job type, you may also need to be happy working on your own for periods of time.
Now you need to decide how to set yourself up in business.
The easiest way to start out is being a sole trader. You will have to tell the Inland Revenue that you are working as a sole trader as you will need to make National Insurance contributions. You may find it easier to register with an umbrella company and have them manage all your invoicing and tax payments and ensure you comply with the IR35 tax rules.
It is fairly straightforward to set yourself up as a limited company. You should get professional advice to ensure you meet all your tax and national insurance obligations when you are paying yourself a salary through a limited company.
Based on your inventory of your skills, and your research of your marketplace, you will now need to come up with a realistic hourly rate – and daily rate. Look on people4business to see what Candidates with comparable skills are charging.
And finally… register as a Candidate on people4business!
It's completely free to register and gives you access to business Clients throughout the UK.
There is also the opportunity to upgrade to a Premier Candidate which gives you an enhanced public profile, with a more prominent entry and twice as much space for your brief description. Premier Candidates also get top position in all Client searches and are featured in the Showcase on our homepage. They also benefit from a discounted rate for Fasterpay.
You can find useful information on freelancing on our articles page.
There is also useful information on becoming self-employed from The Citizens Advice Bureau.
There's advice on the tax and National Insurance implications of being self-employed from HM Revenue & Customs. In particular, you may need to know about the IR35 rules and their implications for freelancers and contractors.
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last updated 31.07.12
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