The Journey From Employee to Freelance

advice for going freelance

Going from being a regular employee to becoming your own boss is a pretty great feeling. The benefits have been well documented across the internet by swarms of people who have made the leap in recent years, some of the plus points include able to set your own hours, decide on which projects you want to work and how much of a work/life balance you want. In short, it sounds good because it is. However, you don’t just jump from one life to the next; it takes time and planning. There's a process, and more details than you might expect to get sorted out before you can call yourself a freelance worker. If you're looking for moving from employee to freelance, here’s what you need to know for everything to run as smoothly as possible.

Being Sure
Everyone has those days when they’re fed up with their working life and wish, just wish they could quit and go their own way. Unfortunately, having the desire won’t bring in the bills. Only clients will do that. Before you hand in your notice and dance out of the office, make sure you have either the clients to give you work, or the savings required for you to slowly build up your client list. Basically, you don’t want to be desperate from day one: it’ll only crank up an already pressure filled existence. Is the skill you're hoping to gain money from of a high enough standard? Whether it's writing,  blogging, designing, creating videos, taking photos or anything else. Make sure there's a market for whatever it is you're selling, or if you have the skills that will appeal to clients. 

Setting Up
Say goodbye to all that free office gear you had at your salaried position. You’re on your own now! And that means that you’ll have to have the infrastructure in place to make your freelance career a success. Renting your own office space or fitting your your home with its own office room will be essential. Nothing affects productivity more than not having a quiet space of your own in which to work. Also, you’ll need the usual tools- a computer, printer, reliable internet connection and so on - so make sure you factor that into your budget. These are all costs you will need to front before you can start making money. 

The Extra Details
An important step is informing HMRC and setting up as self employed so you can pay the relevant taxes too. While you only pay tax after you earn over 11k a year, the tax office will still want to know so make sure that's done. You might have escaped the day to day grind, but you’re still part of the system. Finding a good accountancy practice will take the weight off your shoulders, they will get your accounts in order, and will also be able to guide you through the muddling tax system. When you're new to it all it can be pretty overwhelming and it's definitely not something you can get wrong, so the advice of experts is invaluable. 

Getting into the Groove
Once everything is prepared, it’s time to get into the routine of what you’ll actually be! It’s best practice to establish set working hours. You can choose whatever they are, but having a routine will help keep you productive and will also allow you to “switch off” as soon as those hours are up. Also, you’ll want to have your own savings account that can be used to take time off during holidays and so on without noticing a dip in income. After that, it’s about putting your expertise into practice and getting down to work!

What are your opinions on being an employee vs freelance? Is this something you'd look into doing?