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Entrepeneur

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Leaving the world of full-time employment is exciting. After years of being told what to do and when to do it, you suddenly don’t have to answer to anyone. It’s a great step if you’re looking for more independence. However, along with losing the boss who constantly orders you around, you also lose the convenience of having somebody sort out most of your money for you. It’s not the end of the world, but it does mean you have to step up and take responsibility for your finances. Here are a few things you might need to think about.

Remember you need to pay taxes

When you’re on somebody else’s payroll your taxes are basically sorted. You’re sent a tax code and your employer makes sure you pay your taxes. It’s done before you even get your hands on your own money, and everything’s legit. When you’re working for yourself you need to keep track of your own expenses. You also need to make sure you fill out a tax return when Moira Stewart tells you to. And, take it from us, compared to the other bills you have to pay, your tax bill is a big one.

Keep your money separate

As a freelancer you invoice your clients, and they send you all of your money in one go. It’s very exciting. But it does mean that you might be tempted to spend it all at once. Think again. You remember that big tax bill we talked about? It’s a sensible strategy to put a bit of money aside every month. This will cover your tax bill and any other expenses you know you’re going to incur.

Keep your receipts

Part of doing your tax return is knowing how much you spent on business expenses during the year. This information is a key part of your tax return. The Inland Revenue could decide to audit you so it’s important to be able to prove you spent this money. If you go hire an accountant  it’s also helpful for them to see the details of your expenditure in front of them.

Find some good invoicing software

Part of being the super-organised freelancer you are now is being able to quickly and easily generate an invoice. If you have a regular client and nothing much changes you can automate these to go out every month. If you have slight-less-regular-but-still-frequent clients you can store their information to make invoicing even quicker. Team HowNow bloody love Wave, if you’re looking for a great invoicing tool.

Plan for the future

If your freelancing is a long-term thing, you need to think about the future. You might be used to having a nice employer provide you with a pension, but that is not something that happens for those out of the realm of employed work (because any current pensioner will tell you that the state pension on it’s own will barely cover a thing). There are loads of pensions you could set up so that you can keep saving for the future, but do remember to pay into it.

Don’t forget you can take other jobs

If you’re working with one main client, it’s easy to forget that you’re a badass freelance type now, and can therefore take on as much work as you please. Of course, you shouldn’t take on more than you can cope with, but your clients can’t complain about you doing extra work for other companies like your old boss might have done.

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Freelancing is a changing beast but, like we already mentioned, it’s an awesome way to gain some independence. Keep an eye on your money, and be a little bit sensible from time to time (Boring, we know) and it could be lifechanging.

The awesome thing about freelance jobs is that there’s no application process. You don’t need to wait for permission to start calling yourself a writer, or a designer, or even that vaguest of titles – a consultant. It’s a perfect way to make some extra income, or to take the first step towards a new career. Of course, freelancing is a lot easier if you’ve actually got some money coming in. So where should you begin looking to find your first job?

Freelancer-specific websites

Sites like Freelancer and People Per Hour provide a place for freelancers to connect with potential customers. Generally, you create a listing that details the services you offer and the prices you expect, and clients will list what they’re looking for. It’s a great place to gather information about what’s out there, who your competition is, and what the going rate is. The downside is that if you’re newly self-employed you might find people with more experience competing for the same jobs.

Twitter

It might not be the first place you think of looking, but there are definitely job opportunities on Twitter. Learn any hashtags used in your specific industry and join the conversation. Even if you don’t get direct offers of work it’s still a great place to prove yourself to be the expect we know you are about your chosen industry.

Linkedin

Keep an eye out on Linkedin. You might have mutual connections who you could get in touch with if you know they might be looking for something or have worked with freelancers in the past. There’s also lots of people sharing lots of content. If you catch someone sharing an article about change and you could help them to make it a reality, speak up! You never know where it could lead.

Your local area

Sometimes it’s good to put the screens down for a while and take a trip around your local area. You might find local businesses who are in need of your help. They might not know that yet, but you’re a kick-ass freelancer who can promote yourself, so you’ll soon make them realise. Maybe there’s a local shop who need a website, or a restaurant having a PR crisis. Take advantage of your own local knowledge and use that to sell your services.

Advertising

If you’ve got a facebook page or the knowhow to launch a Google adwords campaign you could always bring people to you instead of approaching them. Make sure to keep it snappy, and try to target the kind of companies you’d really aspire to work with, so that if they do approach you you’re prepared to pitch them with passion.

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Of course, finding work is only one of the challenges to being a freelancer. For more in-depth help don’t forget to check out what’s on offer on HowNow.

It’s very easy to get stuck in a job these days. Life is expensive, especially in big cities, so once you have a good income, the temptation is to cling on for dear life and never let go. But what if you’re not doing what you want to be doing with your life? We’re not saying you should go back to whatever 8-year-old you wanted to do as a job, because we can’t all be underwater treasure hunters. But if you’re unhappy where you currently are, it’s definitely worth taking steps towards changing career.

What do you want to do?

This is a big question, but once you’ve got the answer, you can start figuring out how to get there. If you’re a banker now, but you secretly want to run your own business, what specifically would your business be? Would it be a product for which you’d need to find a manufacturer? If so, start looking. Fancy getting into marketing? Find out what you’d need to have. If it’s social media experience, get on Twitter. Once you break your dream down far enough you might find that changing career looks more and more achievable. Eventually it just becomes a case of ticking off one thing after the other. Investigate training, funding, registering as self-employed – whatever it takes.

What kind of company do you want to work for?

If you’re serious about changing career it’ll help you later on if you start your research now. Aiming to become a freelancer? Learn exactly how to target your service to your demographic. If you’re aiming to work for a certain kind of company or one of a certain size, it’s worth knowing what kind of salary you could be making or specifically what kind of qualifications you might be expected to have.

What do you need?

Depending on what type of business you’re looking to start you might be expected to register with a regulator, or you might need to have certain certifications in place (hello, health and safety). Make a list and start doing the work to get those sorted. If you’re not taking the self-employed route but you know your dream company looks for something specific, learn that thing.  If you can make yourself look perfect on paper you stand a much better chance of being able to show them just how perfect you are in real life.

What needs to change in your personal life?

What kind of money will you be making after changing career? If you have to take a pay cut, are you in a position where you could afford to do that? Will you be working more, or from home, or having to travel? Would it be worth moving house, or cutting down on other expenditures? Or, maybe you’ll be raking for relatively little work in your new venture, in which case we congratulate you and would like to know exactly what it is you do and how we can get involved.

Do you have a ‘Get Fucked’ Fund?

If you’re desperately unhappy in your current job and it’s going to take a while to get where you really want to be, don’t be put off. Make a list of what you need to do, and work at it. At the very least, you’ll be able to tell yourself you’re on the way to making a positive change. In the meantime, if it’s all getting too much, it’s worth putting together what’s commonly called a ‘get fucked fund’. Basically, have enough money saved that if you woke up one day and just couldn’t take it any more, you could get out. You’d be able to tell your boss to- well, the name had to come from somewhere, right?

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What we’re trying to say with all of this is that if you’re looking to make a change, it’s never too late. If you want some more specific advice, keep an eye on HowNow for experts who can help you make a change.

Crowdfunding in its current form has been around for close to a decade. In 2015 alone it has been estimated that over $34 billion was raised through crowdfunding. Basically, crowdfunding is kind of a big deal.

There are two main types of funding for businesses. There’s ‘equity’ – where a backer gives money in exchange for shares in a company, and ‘reward’ – where backers pledge money and are rewarded with something physical. In this post we’re going to look specifically at reward-based crowdfunding.

Step 1: Choose your platform

There are loads of platforms, which means that you can find one that’s suitable whatever your goal is. If you want to go the traditional route, you won’t get the money you’ve raised unless you’ve hit your target amount. There’s a slightly more pessimistic option on many sites where you can keep any money you’ve raised for a higher commission fee. There are also industry-specific sites, depending on what your company is doing. You’ll need to think about whether your potential backers will be willing to use a less well-known website, or if they’d prefer to trust a famous one like Kickstarter.

Step 2: Set your amount

Since you’re an expert on your chosen industry you’ll probably have a vague idea of how much money you need to raise. But humour us, and spent an afternoon sitting down and working through all of the figures. If you create a product, how much will it cost to produce? How much will it cost to send rewards out? How much will you need to pay for any staff or external services you use. Make sure you ask for all of the money you’ll need because you won’t be able to change your campaign target once you start crowdfunding.

Step 3: Decide on your rewards

If you launch a new product, will you send out the first run of those as backer rewards? If you run something with a membership, will people be able to access this if they back you? Maybe you’re funding a creative project like a film or a show, but will you still make a profit if you give away tickets as rewards? Make sure the excitement levels of your rewards increase with levels of backing, and make sure you don’t overdo it with the funding levels – it doesn’t matter if you don’t hit every £5 increment.

Step 4: Promotion, promotion, promotion

Now that you’ve got your campaign more-or-less planned, how will you let people know? The first place to start is with your personal network. The public won’t contribute to an otherwise-empty campaign, so make sure you’ve got some mates primed to chip in as soon as you launch. Send press releases to let the media know what you’re up to. Make sure you’ve got lots of content going out on social media to draw attention to what you’re doing.

Step 5: Keep up the momentum

Once your campaign has started, you’re going to be tired. It’s best to accept that now. You need to be posting content every day and hounding people at every opportunity. You’re going to annoy people and you’re going to feel bad about it. To give yourself something new to talk about, try adding some new perks midway through to keep people interested. You also need to stay in touch with the people who have backed you to let them know how you’re getting on.

Step 6: Keep in touch

Once your campaign is over, give yourself a couple of days to recover. Thank everybody who put up with your constant crowdfunding talk. After that, you need to keep in touch with your backers at least until all of your rewards have been sent out. After all, these people are your customers now, and have trusted you to come through. If there are delays with sending out their rewards let them know, and if anything changes definitely keep them informed.

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This is just an overview of some of the things you should think about when launching a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign. For more in-depth info, or to answer specific questions, check out HowNow for classes to help you along the way.