Careers in writing are ripe for making the transition into the world of freelancing. After all, who wouldn’t want to be their own boss? Or abandon the morning commute to meet your deadlines whenever you feel most at your creative peak?
To take such a creative career and turn it into a freelance commitment may sound idyllic, but it requires bags of motivation and plenty of networking just to get started — you’ll need to be alert at all times to meet deadlines, find clients and chase payments.
Here, we’ll take a look at some of the measures you can take in ensuring that your freelance writing business gets off to the perfect start.
Building your brand
When you become a freelance writer, your first step will be to find clients. This won’t happen, however, if no one knows that you’re ready to hire. To do this, you’ll need to build a presence for yourself.
More marketing savvy freelancers commit themselves to building a brand online. This involves finding a unique name with the aim of it ultimately becoming instantly recognisable to target markets.
The process of choosing a name is something that shouldn’t be underestimated. With such a crowded industry it really pays to stand out from the crowd, and investing some time in creating a short, punchy and informative business name could pay dividends in getting yourself noticed online.
Your website and social
Of course, it’s also considered imperative by many freelance writers to create your own website. By setting yourself up with an online space, you can control your own piece of digital real estate that’s dedicated to attracting potential clients and advertising your price ranges.
While the process of setting up your site could become costly, there are plenty of cheap registrars which help you out along the way — 1and1.co.uk is one such option among many that offer competitive deals for those interested in building their own website.
Once you’ve decided on a name, and created a neat and informative website, it’ll be time to ensure that you effectively market yourself to online audiences. There are plenty of freelance platforms where workers are able to set up profiles in order to be found by employers, and social media remains the king of networking.
Be sure to create accounts for your business on any social platforms that your target audience may favour. LinkedIn and Twitter, in particular, are excellent tools for reaching scores of potential clients.
When you go into the big wide world as a freelance business owner, you have two key options when forming your company: establish yourself as a sole trader, or set up as a limited company.
Business formation is considered essential by many freelancers as this helps to protect your branding while also confirming that you are a business to relevant regulatory authorities.
Limited company vs sole trader
A sole trader business keeps you and your company close together, and is a popular choice among freelancers. There’s little distinction between yourself and your company — which means if your business operates at a deficit, the accumulated debts are passed on to you. This means that your personal assets, including your house, aren’t protected should the worst happen to your company.
Sole trader companies are, however, simple to set up and great for smaller businesses. Although it’s important to note that some clients hold a bias towards favouring limited companies over sole trader endeavours — this is because limited companies indicate a larger scale, more serious, and thus more reliable operation.
A limited company, by definition, limits liability through shares. This means that your business would be its own legal entity, helping to protect your assets if you begin to operate at a deficit.
When it comes to taxation, sole traders are obliged to pay tax on their business profits through self-assessment tax returns. Limited companies, on the other hand, must pay 19% Corporation Tax regardless of profit margins. You may also find that your overall tax could be lower when becoming a limited company.
There’s no right or wrong solution to the question of whether or not to set up a sole trader company or become an ‘Ltd’, but your decision should reflect the size of the business you plan to create as well as the level of ambition and growth you expect. Small company owners may benefit more from the hassle-free nature of acting as a sole trader, but if you hold the ambitions of attracting larger clients and developing into a larger operation, the limited company route may be vital.
Setting up a limited company can make all the difference if you intend to maximise your profit margins and attract more clientele when going freelance, but the formation process comes with more considerations than the simpler act of running a sole trader business.
You’ll need to set up a business bank account and register your company for VAT to the HMRC. It’s also imperative that you set up a thorough and efficient accounting system that ensures you’re paying only what you need in taxation.
This can all be a lot to take on, however — so we’re here to help. If you’re interested in setting up as a limited company, or if you need any other formalities, our formation packages can help to take the stress away from the formal parts of setting up your company. If you’re interested in finding out more, just head over to the company registration page for more information.