A brief history of IR35

Rules Regulations

We’ve written about IR35 before; the tax and National Insurance legislation that affects freelance contractors operating as limited companies. Aimed at uncovering what HMRC terms ‘disguised employment’, it is the legislation on everybody’s lips.

But when and where did IR35 originate and why is it becoming such a key piece of legislation? We’re taking a look back to find out when IR35 entered the political agenda and how it has evolved to become the legislation we know today.

1999

1999. It was the year Prince sung about and Gordon Brown was Chancellor of the Exchequer. As part of the year’s budget, he announced the introduction of measures to crack down on those avoiding tax by working through limited companies while still working in a similar arrangement to a traditional employee.

2000

IR35 became law in April 2000, as part of The Finance Act. The legislation didn’t come in to force until the beginning of the financial year, but the act was backdated. This made its official commencement date 6th April 2000.

Officially known as Intermediaries Legislation, the new regulation came to be commonly known as IR35.

Opposition increases

Since the passing of IR35 into law, the legislation has been hotly debated, garnering much attention and opposition. Several bodies have been particularly vocal in their criticism, including the Professional Contractor Group, a representative organisation for freelance contractors.

Many felt that the legislation was too complex to be applied to a large variety of cases, harmed small companies that weren’t set up for the purpose of avoiding tax and actually enforced higher levels of tax on those found to be within IR35, as they are also liable for Employers National Insurance contributions.

Tax simplification and the coalition government

The Cameron Ministry saw a new Chancellor at number 11 in the shape of George Osborne in May 2010. One of his initial acts as Chancellor of the Exchequer was the creation of the Office for Tax Simplification.

One of the key objectives of the newly formed task force was to put IR35 under review and suggest to Osborne if the legislation should be drastically changed or scrapped altogether. IR35 was deemed far too important to do away with altogether and so a re-vamped version was developed.

The main changes to the law included publishing clear guidelines for freelance contractors, creating a dedicated helpline run by IR35 experts and the creation of a series of business entity tests, designed to provide contractors with an idea of the risks posed should they be selected for an IR35 investigation.

IR35 today

Since the OTS investigation, HMRC have promised to increase the number of IR35 investigations per year while reducing investigation time. There is now a whole industry of professionals that offer IR35 review services to assist freelance contractors in assessing their IR35 position.

The decision to keep IR35 and to enforce it more strongly has had an enormous impact on freelance contractors across the UK. There is no doubt that the legislation is controversial and highly contested and is likely to remain so.

Has your business been effected by the introduction of IR35? Have you invested in having your contract independently assessed by an IR35 expert? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below!

Contract Tax

Having Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance can improve your IR35 profile. It is an all-important element of cover for businesses, protecting against claims of professional negligence.

Here at KPSol we have designed our core insurance package to cover the most common risks faced by freelance contractors. This includes Professional Indemnity, Public Liability and Employers Liability cover.

If you have any questions or need to discuss your requirements then simply call our friendly, professional team on 0124 236 2149 and we will be happy to discuss your needs with you. Or you can apply online to get instant cover.

The Best Ways For A Contractor To Spend £500

Travel

Imagine, just for a second, a beautiful world in which you have a spare £500 to play with at the end of the month. This may be true for you, and if so, congratulations! You’ve stumbled across the right blog. If not, then don’t navigate away just yet. Join us on our flight of fancy as we investigate some of the best ways to spend £500, from travel to gadgets.

Travel with a difference

Having £500 to spare can open up your choices in terms of holidays. We think that travelling should broaden your horizons so maybe give something different a try. One of our favourite ideas is Wanderlust’s  9 volcanoes to see in the UK. The article includes beautiful walks and guided tours around some of the UK’s long dormant volcanoes and surrounding areas. Exciting!

Indulge in fine dining

Delicious food and fine wine is one of the greatest ways to spend your money. If you’re looking for an indulgent way to while away the evening and spend some quality time with friends and loved ones fine dining is the key. The Good Food Guide has recently announced their Top 50 Restaurants for 2015. Have a peek for some food for thought and see if any fine dining experiences are in your neighbourhood!

L'Enclume

Experiment with gadgets

2014 has truly been the year of wearable tech and the release of increasingly sophisticated gadgets. There is, of course, the second generation iPad Air. Slimmer and more lightweight than its predecessor, it’s the perfect way to stay connected while still travelling light.

The smartwatch is also experiencing something of a renaissance this year. With Apple, LG, Samsung and the Pebble all in contention as this year’s most impressive smartwatch release, there’s plenty to choose from when deciding how to spend your money.

Check out Stuff Magazine’s Gadget Awards 2014 for some gadget-y ideas.

Relax with a spa day

You work hard all year, you’re entitled to a little ‘you time’. What better way to treat yourself than with some well-deserved relaxation at a luxury spa? Most good quality treatments start at around £40, so £500 could get you a lot of pampering. Alternatively, you could choose to stay over at a spa hotel for a long weekend of indulgence. The Independent’s list of Britain’s Best Spas will get you thinking about how you can best spend that hard earned cash!

Freelance contractors have to work hard to get things done. Between networking and generating leads to managing multiple deadlines it can be hard to remember to take a break and spend some of your hard earned cash on yourself. Hopefully our blog will fire up your imagination and you’ll be able to find some inventive ways to indulge a little over the festive season.

What are some of your favourite ways to treat yourself? Do you have any regular treats you enjoy when you have some extra cash to yourself? Let us know in the comments below.

Summarising the Autumn Statement

Autumn Statement

Unless you’ve spent the last few days hiding in a cave (and if you have, we’re not judging you) you’ll have heard something about this year’s Autumn Statement by now. After drip feeding out key policies and figures for the last week, today was the day that George Osborne delivered his statement in full. Traditionally a modest update on the state of the economy, this year’s statement felt like a second Budget in all but name. It’s fair to say that Osborne delivered it with two eyes firmly on the looming General Election in May, its weighty spectre creeping ever closer. BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson termed Osborne’s headline announcements as “real electioneering” and he wasn’t wrong.

This statement was Osborne’s chance to cut Labour off at the pass, and his attempt to gazump one of their key election cornerstones, the so-called ‘Mansion Tax’, led to the announcement that stamp duty will be undergoing a complete overhaul from midnight tonight. Essentially, the changes will allow those buying cheaper properties to pay less and those purchasing more expensive homes to pay more (12% for the most expensive houses), equalling a tax cut of £800m, which will benefit 98% of homebuyers. As always, the statement felt more like a game of high stakes brinkmanship than anything else, but the vast majority of the outcomes were positive. Alongside that headline news, below you’ll find a brief summary of the key figures and policies Osborne announced today (courtesy of the New Statesman), as well as an analysis of how exactly the changes might impact contractors and freelancers:

Figures:

  • The economy is predicted to grow 3 per cent this year, up from the 2.7 per cent predicted in the budget.
  • Osborne will be borrowing £12.5bn more than forecast in the budget nine months ago.
  • The deficit is forecast to rise by more than expected over the next two years: £91.3bn this year and £75.9bn the following year.
  • The Office for Budget Responsibility says the deficit will pick up and fall faster than expected in following years, hitting a surplus of £23bn in 2020.

Policies:

  • A “roads revolution”: £15bn to be spent on new road funding in England. This includes a 1.8-mile tunnel to relieve congestion by Stonehenge.
  • National Insurance abolished for employers that take on apprentices aged under 25.
  • Income tax threshold to increase to £10,600.
  • A new Sovereign Wealth Fund for the north of England, so that the shale gas resources of the north are used to invest in its future, and a commitment to “northern powerhouse” plans.
  • Cutting £15bn from the Whitehall budget, and the government will spend £10bn less this year.
  • Banks will pay £4bn more in tax over the next five years.
  • Freezing universal credit, working-age benefit for two years, and ending unemployment benefits for migrants who have no prospect of work.
  • Libor fines will continue to support military and emergency service charities, including buying new helicopters for the Great Western and Kent, Sussex and Surrey Air Ambulance.
  • Extend cathedral renovation fund.
  • Refund VAT for search ambulance charities and for hospice charities.
  • Extending theatre tax break to orchestras.
  • Air Passenger Duty on flights for under-12s scrapped from next year, and from 2016, it will be scrapped for all under-16s.
  • Funding the NHS: a pledge to spend an extra £2bn a year on the NHS.
  • Pensions: completing the reforms already announced, bringing total savings of £1.3bn a year.
  • Repayment of the national debt incurred by fighting the First World War.
  • 25 per cent tax on profits generated by multinationals from economic activity here in the UK which they then artificially shift out of the country (the so-called ‘Google Tax).
  • No increase in petrol duty.
  • A new garden city in Bicester, Oxfordshire: up to 13,000 new homes to be built there.
  • Flood defences: £2.3bn investment.
  • Helping SMEs: a near £1bn boost for small businesses.
  • Reform business rates: a review into the structure of this controversial tax on small firms. Double small business rate relief for another year.
  • An overhaul of stamp duty, coming into place at midnight tonight: allowing those buying cheaper properties to pay less and those purchasing more expensive homes to pay more, equalling a tax cut of £800m, which will benefit 98 per cent of homebuyers.
  • A postgraduate loans scheme: government-provided loans offering funding of up to £10,000.

George Osborne

So, what does it mean for freelancers and contractors? In general, Osborne’s business focus is good news for small businesses. The planned restructuring of business rates will be welcomed warmly, and the continuation of a freeze on fuel duty has obvious benefits for microbusinesses across the country. However, this government’s continued myopia with regard to improving the UK’s digital infrastructure (the pressing need to improve the issue of poor broadband in rural areas for example) is still a cause for concern.

The crackdown on tax avoidance should also be applauded, but we second Andy Chamberlain of IPSE’s comment that “any changes to umbrella companies [should] provide real benefits to those using these structures and do not inadvertently affect the genuinely self-employed.” The good news on this front is that the government’s review of umbrella companies should weed out the unscrupulous practitioners (those, for example, who offset expenses against income so their taxable income is below the national minimum wage). As Rob Crossland, founder of Parasol, noted: “This could be the landmark moment that policymakers finally take the time to properly understand our industry, differentiating between unethical cowboys at one end of the spectrum and compliant, professional providers…at the other. Any umbrella company that fails to offer genuine employment rights or pay the minimum wage deserves to be placed under the spotlight. Such practices are unacceptable – they do a disservice to workers, our sector and the UK economy as a whole.” If you’re just starting out on your own and are thinking of going through an umbrella company, then make sure to do your research before hand. Get feedback and make sure they’re trustworthy and reputable. If you find a company with your best interests at heart rather than their own then you’ll be in a good place.

In addition to the above, the small companies’ rate of Corporation Tax remains unchanged at 20% (for companies with profits under £300,000), still making it an attractive proposition for sole traders who are considering incorporating their business. There were a few changes made to National Insurance too. For limited company contractors, the lower earnings limit will increase from £111 to £112 from 6th April 2015. For sole traders, Class 2 National Insurance contributions will increase from £2.75 to £2.80 from 6th April 2015. Class 4 National Insurance Contributions are currently payable at the rate of 9% if your annual profits exceed £7,956. From 6 April 2015 this will increase to £8,060. The upper earning limit (at which point the rate reduces to 2%) will increase to £42,385 from April 2015 from £41,865 in 2014/2015.

There issues raised in today’s statement are sure to rumble on over the coming weeks, and the fact remains that the Conservatives will have borrowed £219bn more in this parliament than they promised in 2010. What’s more, a lot of the issues the freelance and contractor community had hoped to see raised (rate cuts for work hubs, for example, or tax breaks for training) were neglected. The abolishment of National Insurance for employers who take on apprentices under the age of 25 is welcome news, as is the promise of government backed loans for post-graduate students, but with HMRC’s VAT MOSS issue ongoing there’s still much work to be done. Head on over to the BBC and the Guardian for a further breakdown, and check in with a few of our favourite Twitter users to see what their thoughts were as the statement was unveiled.

National Freelancers Day 2014: I Love Freelancing Because…

iPad Prize

In our humble opinion, 2014’s National Freelancers Day was the best yet. It’s an event that grows bigger and better every year, and one that draws necessary attention to the essential role that freelancers play in the UK (and international) economy. You already know that we sponsored and attended various events on 19th November, but those of you who aren’t Twitter savvy might not have seen the competition we ran in the build-up to the big day.

The idea was simple – encourage the large freelance community on Twitter to tell us exactly what it was about being a freelancer that they loved the most. As long as the Tweet began ‘I love freelancing because…’ then there was a chance to win. We decided to give away a £20 Amazon gift card to five runners up, and an iPad Mini 2 to one lucky winner. The competition went live on 3rd November and ran until midnight on the 19th.

Amazon Vouchers

We received a brilliant selection of entries – some hilarious, some from the heart, some business minded, but all communicating perfectly exactly why each entrant chose the freelance life. After much deliberation we narrowed down the field to the six finalists whose Tweets resonated with us the most. Take a look below:

The winner:

@mummyblogger: I love freelancing because it offers the perfect mix of variety, flexibility and challenge and means I can work in my PJs!

The runners-up:

@Bitsnark: I love freelancing because it turns me into a productivity swiss-knife; broadening my experience and building my skills.

@FreelnceParents: I love freelancing as it lets me design my own work life..the hours I choose…the projects I love…MY career in MY hands

@lee_brickley: I love freelancing because I earn more than my friends wearing only my pants

@Pezmc: I love Freelancing because I can work on the projects I love using my own schedule & spend time more with my partner!

@greendipped: I love freelancing because it is my hands on those handlebars. It is a rollercoaster ride, but it is my ride

 

All in all, a pretty perfect summary of the reasons why freelancers choose to strike out and make it on their own. We really want to thank everyone who took the time to enter, to those who helped us spread the word, and to the winners sharing images of their spoils on Twitter. We loved every Tweet that came in, and we hope you enjoyed National Freelancers Day 2014 as much as we did.

National Freelancers Day 2014: A Round-Up

IPSE

We hope you all enjoyed this year’s National Freelancers Day, or #NFD2014 for the Twitter savvy, as much as we did. From the build-up around the event, to the day itself, to some of the great news that came out of it, this year’s event was undoubtedly the best yet. For a company that has the interests of freelancers and contractors as much at heart as we do here at Kingsbridge, it’s been great to see the day grow from a small gathering to the national behemoth it currently is in the space of six short years.

Our thorough and sincere congratulations to the wonderful people at IPSE for doing such sterling work, and for making sure such an integral part of the UK workforce is as well represented and well protected as possible. On the 19th November there were events held in tandem in Edinburgh, Manchester, and London (in the beautiful surrounds of LSO St. Luke’s no less), with Kingsbridge sponsoring and attending the Manchester gathering alongside providing a presence in London.

Alongside a great selection of cupcakes (obviously the most important part of the entire evening) there was plenty of interesting news to come out of the event. Here’s a brief selection of the most important points:

– Haven’t seen it yet? There’s a video of the London event on the homepage of the NFD website. If you look closely, you might even be able to see a few Kingsbridge representatives: http://www.nationalfreelancersday.com/

– Huge congratulations to Rebecca Shipham, winner of IPSE’s ’15 for 2015’ prize showcasing the best freelancers across the UK. And well done to Sarah Dawkins and Andrew Butler too, both very worthy runners up.

– Timed for this year’s NFD, on the 19th the government announced the appointment of the UK’s first ever ambassador for the self-employed, David Morris MP. Although he’d only been in the job a few hours, Mr. Morris put in an appearance at St. Luke’s and promised a bright future for freelancers across the UK. Amongst his early promises? Better protection for the self-employed from late payment and a vow to back the rising amount of women who are choosing self-employment (including helping with the costs of childcare).

– There were plenty of fiery debates (thanks Nick Ferrari!) across a panel including MP’s Nick Boles and Toby Perkins, and a wonderfully impassioned speech from keynote speaker Declan Curry.

– Head on over to our Twitter account for a retrospective look at our live Tweeting from the event.

Thanks to everyone who came to the event. It was a pleasure to meet you all. Roll on National Freelancers Day 2015!

Five ways to kick freelancing stress to the curb

Pencil

We’ve spent the last few weeks exploring what it means to be a freelancer on our blog. We’ve looked at tax and finance, home office space, networking and legislation. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

There are a lot of practical things that you have to consider when you embark on a career as a freelancer. One thing that is often ignored which plays an equally important role in your success as an independent professional is the effective management of stress.

Tight deadlines, maintaining a steady stream of business and overwork all contribute to increased stress levels. Chronic stress can affect your health, well-being and sense of job satisfaction. While a fast-paced lifestyle can focus you and encourage you to work more efficiently, it is always a good idea to actively manage your stress-levels.

Read on to find out some of top methods of busting stress, both in and out of work.

1.       Keep regular office hours

The temptation with freelancing is to work whenever and wherever you want. This can be a bonus when working on a larger project with strict deadlines. However, this should not become the norm for you. It can quickly develop into working anytime something pops up in your inbox. That’s a fast way to burnout. Make sure you have regular working hours and stick to them!

2.       Socialise

You have to get used to alone time when you work as a freelancer. It’s your business; you generate your own leads and you are responsible for completing the services you are contracted for. However, a growing sense of isolation due to your job can bring about enormous social stress.

So while there may be times when you want to hide away and work until the wee hours, try making plans with friends or organising a day out to take you out of your work environment completely.

3.       Take care of your health

Taking time off sick impacts any business, but working when you’re not in the best of health has long term effects that negatively impact both your health and your productivity. Avoid this by ensuring you prioritise your health to avoid getting sick in the first place. Eating well is the best place to start. And if you do get ill? Take the day off! The world and your business won’t come crashing down if you take a day to take care of yourself.

4.       Stay active

Exercise is a brilliant stress buster. It releases endorphins and makes you feel good naturally. Complete with improving your overall health, regular exercise is sure to give you boundless energy and will help you work out any work day frustrations. A 30 minute walk is the perfect place to start if you’re gym-phobic!

5.       Invest in your hobbies

Hobbies aren’t just the privilege of children or the retired. Hobbies can, in fact, prove to be a brilliant way to keep your mind active in your time away from work. If your preferred hobby includes a social circle, sports such as golfing or playing with a local football team will provide you with a community outside of work with which you can engage.

While the causes of stress when you work as a freelancer may never totally disappear, the way you deal with them is directly in your hands. Make sure stress doesn’t slow you down and leave you burnt out and overworked by following these steps, and creating a healthy work-life balance.

Freelancer Stress

What are some of your favourite ways to relax, unwind and tackle work stress? Let us know in the comments below.

And remember – you still have time to enter our National Freelancers Day competition!

If you want to be in with a chance of winning a brand new iPad mini 2 all you have to do is Tweet us directly at @KingsbridgeProf and finish this sentence, “I love freelancing because…” and use the hashtag #NFD2014.

The competition closes at midnight tonight, so you have all day to get your best answers in to us.  You’ve got to be in it to win it so if you fancy your chances get thinking, get creative and send us your best efforts!

Tax and the modern freelancer

Tax Return

You’ve established yourself as a freelance contractor; you’ve networked, you’ve set up your home office, and you’ve completed your first contract with a new client. Now it’s time for the best bit – receiving your first cheque.

Don’t get too attached to that number, though. You need to make sure you factor in the tax you owe, now that your tax isn’t being collected on a pay-as-you-earn basis. When you’re starting out as a freelancer, it’s really important that you get your head around the realities of your tax situation in order to ensure that you don’t incur the penalties associated with paying the wrong amount of tax.

Read on to find out the kind of things that are worth considering when it comes to tax and the modern freelancer.

Consider: Registering with HMRC

Anyone who sets up as a freelancer or as self-employed has to register for business tax with HMRC. This will allow you to provide your business information and set up records for self-assessment and National Insurance on behalf of your business. Failure to do this will result in financial penalties.

You also need to arrange to pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions as soon as you start freelance work. If your profits rise above £7,956 you will be required to pay Class 4 National Insurance contributions.

Consider: Your business situation

Are you a sole trader? Are you registered as a Limited Company? Or are you self-employed? Each status has an impact on the way you pay tax and how much. For example, if you are registered as a limited company, a preference for freelancers, then you will be subject to Corporation Tax and will have to provide a Company Tax Return at the end of your company’s accounting period. If you are self-employed or a sole trader then you must fill out self-assessment tax returns and submit them by 31st October and ensure you pay any tax you owe by the annual tax deadline of 31st January.

Consider: Keeping financial records

It’s vital that you keep detailed records of your financial activity as a freelancer. It’s good practice in general but it is essential for tax purposes. There are no hard and fast rules on the format in which your records can be kept – you can do it either on paper or electronically. If you’re not naturally organised, then it’ll pay to become so because maintaining records is one of the most important things you can do.

The types of details you need to record include profit and loss information, bank statements, orders, expenses and relevant communication. The list is extensive so start as you mean to go on and keep a record of all of your business’ incomings and outgoings to help stay on top of your tax obligations.

Consider: Working with an accountant

Some of us are more comfortable with numbers than others, which is why hiring an accountant to help you with your tax obligation is a personal choice. If you’re not comfortable with the numerous regulations of freelancer tax then working with an accountant could help translate some of the more obscure rules into a language you understand and help to save you money. If you do choose to appoint an accountant, try to source recommendations from fellow freelancers.

Tax can be a daunting subject to broach when you are starting out as a freelancer, but burying your head in the sand is never a good option. Stay organised, keep on top of your records and if you’re unsure about anything, ask the people in the know!

Do you have any tips on keeping abreast of your tax situation? Let us know in the comments below.

Money

Wednesday 19th November sees the sixth annual National Freelancers Day; a day designed to put freelancing in the spotlight and to discuss the significant contribution independent professionals make toward the UK economy.

To celebrate a day just for freelancers, Kingsbridge are running a special competition on Twitter to show some love to freelancers across the UK.

Entering our competition is simple. All you need to do is Tweet us directly at @KingsbridgeProf and finish this sentence, ‘I love freelancing because…’ using the hashtag #NFD2014.

From the best answers we’ll pick five runners up, who’ll each win £20 in Amazon vouchers, and the winner will be the proud recipient of a brand new iPad mini 2.

Winners will be announced on Twitter on Friday 21st November. So get thinking, get creative and send us your best efforts to be in with a chance of winning!

Top tips for creating the perfect home office space

Home Office

Many freelancers have the opportunity to work from home, which can be an exciting change of pace from the standard 9 to 5 office life. We know the desire to work from your sofa in your dressing gown can be strong, but it can pay dividends to dedicate some space in your home exclusively to work. That way you won’t have to associate your personal space with work matters.

We’ve compiled some top tips for creating a comfortable but practical space for productivity that will make your freelance career a success.

Think about: what work you’ll be doing

If you’re a freelance designer or engineer, it’s likely that the kind of work you’ll be doing in your home office will be dramatically different from that of a freelance writer or IT technician. Every office will vary so make sure you allow yourself adequate space to do what you need to without taking over the entirety of your home. You don’t need lots of space; you just need to be smart with it.

Think about: your light source

Natural light is the perfect way to brighten up your new work space and is the polar opposite from the strip lights and dusty corners of a typical office. If you have large windows in your home then creating your working space there provides the perfect space to make the most of the health benefits of natural light, but also to provide a constant source of inspiration! Don’t forget to invest in a good quality desk lamp for the winter months, though. Bad lighting can lead to headaches and eye strain.

Think about: your equipment

Do you require a desktop or a laptop? Do you need a separate phone line? Maybe even an illuminated drawing board? These are things that you have to consider when setting out on your own, as all equipment must suit your business needs and have to be invested in by you. And while we’re at it, don’t forget about investing in an ergonomically sound office chair. While it may be tempting to grab that spare dining table chair for the sake of ease, your back will not thank you for it after a week.

Think about: making it your own

While your home office is located in your own home, it still needs to be a distinct space away from where you relax, eat and socialise outside of working hours. However, personal touches will make your office space a tranquil and enjoyable space in which you can do some of your best work. Don’t be afraid to include pictures of loved ones, inspiring scenes and some desk plants to keep things looking fresh and inviting.

You home office, when planned right, should provide you with the perfect balance of inspiration and positivity that inspires productivity and gives you a connection to the work you love doing.

Do you have a home office? What changes have you made to your living space to ensure you can work more effectively? Tell us in the comments below.

Freelancer

Wednesday 19th November is the sixth annual National Freelancers Day; a day designed to put freelancing at the forefront of the political agenda and to discuss how the power of independent professionals can be unlocked to help drive the UK’s economy.

To celebrate a day in spotlight Kingsbridge are running a special competition on Twitter to show some love to freelancers across the UK.

Entering is easy. All you have to do is Tweet us directly at @KingsbridgeProf and finish this sentence, ‘I love freelancing because…’ using the hashtag #NFD2014.

From the best answers we’ll pick five runners up, who’ll each win £20 in Amazon vouchers, and the winner will be the proud recipient of a brand new iPad mini 2.

Winners will be announced on Twitter on Friday 21st November. So get thinking, get creative and send us your best efforts to be in with a chance of winning!

5 Questions to help you decide if freelancing is for you

Freelance Board

What could be better than a career as a freelancer? Choosing you own hours, not having a boss to answer to and taking all the credit for your own hard work. Brilliant! Freelancing can be the perfect solution for anyone who is feeling stifled by a 9 to 5 job.

That’s the good stuff. However, setting up as a freelancer is hard work and you need to make sure that you can make the varied and challenging career path work for you. Ahead of National Freelancers Day on Wednesday 19th November, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 questions you need to ask yourself before heading into life as an independent professional.

1.       Do you have self-discipline?

If being your own boss is an advantage to freelancing, then having supreme self-discipline is a skill that you need to carefully hone. Since you are responsible for setting your own hours it can be tempting to get up late and therefore work late into the night. This may sound great but it can tire you out and actually lead to longer working hours on balance. Set yourself reasonable office hours and stick to them. It’ll save you some serious time and effort!

2.       Can you network?

It takes serious energy to generate a stream of steady work for yourself as a freelancer. One of the most important steps is to build a reputation as a provider of quality services. Word of mouth is worth its weight in gold for a freelancer. Keeping in touch with contacts, and attending events to meet new ones, is a key way to stay on the radar of influential people.

3.       Are you flexible in your approach to work?

You may be approached by an important client who has a job that needs to be completed to a strict deadline. Are you confident that you can reprioritise your workload to meet client demands? You have to have a reactive and flexible approach to completing your work to keep your clients happy and to build your reputation.

4.       Are you assertive?

You need to build your business and that means duking it out against the competition for top jobs and being able to sell yourself. What’s more, with no fixed salary, you need to be able to negotiate a fair rate for yourself and call payments in when due. You can’t be shy when conducting your own business.

5.       Can you handle alone time?

If you’re working from a home office then the change in tone and pace from a busy office environment can be something that takes some getting used to. Even if you’re an engineer who has to relocate for different jobs, being away from your friends and family can mean that your own company is something you will have to get used to and learn to like.

If you can answer ‘yes’ to these five questions then you may well have what it takes to be a successful contractor. Life after 9 to 5 is a varied one, but with a strong work ethic and passion for what you do, there’s no doubt that you can make freelancing work for you.

Are you an experienced freelancer? What changes have you had to make in order to make your business work? Tell us in the comments below!

Freelance Plane

Wednesday 19th November is the sixth annual National Freelancers Day; a day designed to put freelancing at the forefront of the political agenda and to show how the power of independent professionals can be unlocked to help drive the UK’s economy.

To celebrate a day in spotlight Kingsbridge are running a special competition on Twitter to show some love to freelancers across the UK.

Entering is easy. All you have to do is Tweet us directly at @KingsbridgeProf and finish this sentence, ‘I love freelancing because…’ using the hashtag #NFD2014.

From the best answers we’ll pick five runners up, who’ll each win £20 in Amazon vouchers, and the winner will be the proud recipient of a brand new iPad mini 2.

Winners will be announced on Twitter on Friday 21st November. So, get thinking, get creative and send us your best efforts to be in with a chance of winning!

Reasons to celebrate being a freelancer

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Amidst the fast paced life of being a freelance contractor, it can be easy to forget that it’s actually a great way to work and earn your living. Wednesday 19th November sees the annual celebration of National Freelancers Day, an occasion that allows you not only to reflect on what makes freelancing a great career choice but also affords you the opportunity to look toward what the future might hold as the popularity of freelancing continues to rise.

With the 19th soon upon us, we’ve taken a look at some of the reasons to celebrate being able to strike out on your own. Here are a few points to savour:

1.       Flexibility

Being able to choose your own hours has its distinct benefits. Need to make a doctor’s appointment? No problem. Little one is ill and needs to stay at home? You can make that work. Not a morning person? You can work later in to the day. As a freelancer you get to set your own schedule (within reasonable limits) and that schedule can work around you and the realities of your life.

2.       Variety

As a freelancer you get to take on self-contained projects for a number of clients. Whether you are an engineer, or work in finance, or are a freelance writer, you will likely work across multiple industries. Variety is the spice of life, and boredom isn’t something you’ll often experience when you’re freelancing.

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3.       Escape from office politics

There are some distinct advantages to working in an office – warmth in the winter, a comfy chair, a constant supply of tea, and the prospect of enjoying a sociable alcoholic beverage at the end of the week. But how sweet it is to be set free from the fight for promotion, from playing favourites and from office gossip.  And if you have your own home office, you can decorate your desk however you like, or abandon desks altogether. Freedom!

4.       Travel

If you’re not an employee of a particular organisation then that means you’re not tied to the geographical location of their office. As a freelancer you can choose to work in a different town, city or even country. If you’re a digital nomad then all you need is a laptop and a broadband connection. If you need to be on site for all or part of your contracts then freelancing gives you the option to see a lot more of the world than a two week package holiday once a year would allow.

We know it isn’t always rosy and being a freelancer comes with many twists and turns, but we believe that freelancing is one of the most interesting ways to forge a career. To help celebrate your day in the spotlight, KPSol are going to be hosting a competition in aid of National Freelancers Day very shortly, so keep your eyes on your inbox over the next few days for more details.

In the meantime, we’d love to know what your favourite part of being a freelancer is – feel free to comment below.