I’ve been working for myself for a number of years now, and there are a few things that I am glad I knew from the start, while others I have learnt along the way.
- Register as self employed within 3months of starting – contact the Inland Revenue to do this.
- Start records from day one. Note down each expense and every bit of income. It is FAR easier to update a little each day or week than to create accounts from a pile of receipts. You’ll save yourself money on bookkeeping or accounting fees too.
- Make a database of customer and client contacts. A good database of contacts makes it easy to work efficiently, will save you time, and can even get you more work.
- Know when to delegate. Everyone has weak areas and it can pay dividends to get help. There are lots of other freelance specialists who offer affordable services.
- Set some working hours. It is up to you whether you work best in the early morning or late at night, or have to fit work round the kids. Whatever you do, though, make sure you have some time off and shut the laptop.
Antonia Chitty is author of Family Friendly Working(www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk), A guide to Promoting Your Business (www.prbasics.co.uk) and a number of other parenting and health books. She has a book on earning a living from writing, The Commercial Writing Guide coming out in July 2009. You can find out more about her own freelance writing career at www.antoniachitty.co.uk and her PR business at www.acpr.co.uk