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11th December 2014

Most people have at least idly considered becoming a freelancer. After all, almost everyone has some kind of marketable skill, and the idea of potentially limitless opportunity and working for yourself is very appealing. This article will look at some of the essential qualities and considerations of freelancing to help you work out if it’s the career choice for you.

The Idea

Firstly, what is your idea? It may seem that you should first ask if you are well-suited to freelancing. However, regardless of your personal qualities, you need to have a coherent idea, or self-employment can quickly become unemployment.

Take your idea, and look at the market. Is there a genuine gap in the market, or are there other people doing something like it? If there is competition, how would you distinguish yourself? Can you provide a faster service or product, or would it be cheaper or of higher quality?

Write down the answers to these questions. What you are doing is beginning to build a business plan, and it will be a valuable resource as you go through the process of becoming self-employed.

Is this for Me?

Next, consider your personality as objectively as you can. If you’re unsure, you can manage this, ask a trusted friend for total honesty (but be prepared not to take offence at their response). A great freelancer needs to manage their time well, be highly organised, self-sufficient and be prepared to work extremely hard.

If you don’t meet all of these criteria, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you would make a lousy freelancer. However, it does mean you should consider what would help you reach those standards.

For example, would scheduling a set time for administrative tasks in your day help if you are generally disorganised? If so, press on! Note it down with your other answers so that you can be sure to implement whatever accommodations you need to function effectively when the time comes.

The Business Plan

The next step is to work out if your business is economically viable. What would your costs be, and what would you charge? Don’t forget the hidden expenses that can quickly add up when performing some initial costing. These include tax, transport, equipment, insurance and other similar costs.

Don’t forget to factor in your time and some profit, which will use to reinvest in your enterprise. Freelancers often underestimate the value of their work, so avoid falling into this trap.

Then you should look at the range of market rates for similar services or products. Are you going to be able to be competitive while still earning a decent living? At this stage, it may be tempting to reduce the amount you have allocated to pay for your time to become more competitive, but resist this urge.

Taking the Plunge

A large part of being self-employed is self-confidence, and it is essential to expect to be paid a reasonable amount for your time and expertise. After all, becoming a freelancer is risky: it involves accepting a certain amount of instability for the chance to realise your full potential and be your own boss. So take a deep breath, have faith in your abilities, and go forth and conquer.

How can we help?

MyAccountant has two decades of experience working with freelancers and has all the tools to give you the accounting support you need. If you’d like to know more, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@myaccountant.co.uk or by calling 0800 917 9100.

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