So you’re thinking of joining the ranks of approximately 4.3. million self-employed workers in the UK? Congratulations!!!

Starting a business can be both exciting and intimidating. But what if your freelancing journey is not a result of a thought-through decision but born out of necessity? How do you prepare yourself for inconsistent and unpredictable income that’s inherent to freelance work?

Ahead of you is a steep learning curve, and in areas you may not have even considered. And if you want to get off to the best possible start – get advice. Especially in any areas you are unfamiliar with. As doing so will reduce the chance of any surprises and means you’ll be free to focus on doing what you want to: your actual business specialism.

Here’s what I found out after slipping into the self-employment world in between my baby’s naps four years ago.

#1 Get professional advice from an accountant

If freelancing is entirely new to you, speak to an accountant. It’s possible you already have one in your network. Having someone who walked me through the process of setting up the business was eye-opening. Especially if you are unsure which option: ltd, self-employed or a partnership would work the best for your circumstances. And the advice of having a separate business account from day one was one of the best I’ve received! You would be surprised how many people are still mixing personal with business expenses.

#2 Basic branding is fine

Once you are set to go, build a simple website. It doesn’t have to be perfect to work. When the paid work starts coming in, there will be time to invest in expanding your toolbox. But, the truth is that no one will comment on a font type or your website colours, so do not spend hours choosing those. Focus on networking and spreading the word about your services instead.

3# Understand your personal economics

Knowing how much money you have in your bank account and how much time you’ve got till you run out of money will put things in perspective. And hopefully, it will remove some of the worries associated with the freelancer’s income fluctuations. It was my biggest challenge. As my working hours shifted, I was just winging it. I needed help with creating a budget that would keep me on track, help me map out my commitments, incomings and outgoings over a year. 

I tried conventional budgeting tools but couldn’t stick with any of them. The rows of columns with numbers just didn’t make sense to me. I needed someone to make it easier to understand and bespoke to my situation. But also someone who could keep me accountable and allow me to ask silly questions.

4# Invest in your knowledge

And that’s where Adina stepped in. She created a simple to follow cash flow template that let me see how much money was going in and out and when I would likely hit the floor if I didn’t change my strategy. Finding out what my hourly rate is per client and per project made me feel empowered and in control.

Having regular sessions with Adina helped me bridge the gap and set up realistic financial goals. To date, it is the best investment I’ve made.

Her expertise, coupled with a dry sense of humour, put me at ease straight away. You can find out more about the personal budgeting services she offers here >>

And if you are going to use Adina’s services, you will not only gain a financial analyst; you are likely to get your biggest cheerleader too.