Freelancing explained: A guide to starting your cultural career
With over two million people in the UK now self-employed, and this number only set to increase, it is essential that potential freelancers get the correct information before deciding to quit their 9-5 and go freelance. Many of those that are self-employed are creative freelancers, choosing to market their sole talent for art and writing, for example, rather than battle the incredibly competitive cultural job market. If you are thinking of going freelance, there are a number of different questions that you might be thinking.
What are the different types of insurance?
For anyone setting out to make a living as a consultant or advisor in any capacity, you may wish to think about taking out professional indemnity insurance. This will protect you against any client claims made against you, such as mishandling of data or flawed advice, and will cover the costs of legal settlements and defence if they choose to sue. For more information and to have professional indemnity insurance explained to you by the experts, look to this Hiscox FAQ to help you decide on the right insurance for you and your business.
What are self-assessment tax returns?
Rather than your tax coming straight from your bank account, when you go freelance, you have to fill out a self-assessment tax return form every April. You are expected to pay tax once you have earned £11,850 and you must register as self-employed once you have made £1,000 from your chosen cultural path. You can do this through the HMRC government website, which will give you a Unique Taxpayer Reference number that you may need to gain other services, such as paying back student finance. When it comes to filling in the tax return, you will need your National Insurance number and a record of all your income from the last tax year, including any expenses that you incurred.
What are the best freelancing websites?
When freelancing, the best place to look for work is not always larger job sites such as Indeed and Reed. This is especially important for creative freelancing when jobs will often be more centred around one-time projects such as creating a piece of art. Instead, the best places to look for freelancing work are websites such as Upwork and Freelancer, which provide a large database of work from design to writing jobs on an easy-to-use interface for both businesses and freelancers.
How do you create a portfolio?
Creating a portfolio will allow employers to see exactly the kind of service that you provide, your experience and what to expect from your work. This makes having a portfolio one of the most important elements of freelancing as it will be the first thing that employers know about you. You should ensure that your portfolio consists of at least three high-quality pieces of work such as design made for a variety of different contexts. For instance, if you are going into writing, then you should have one business piece, one blog style article, and one creative piece or review. This ensures that you will be able to display your capabilities of providing a variety of styles and that you will be fit to work for a variety of different businesses. Your portfolio should also showcase a lot of different experience, and so it is vital to gain experience from reputable sources, even if you do this work for free.
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