To be a good freelancer, you need to have self-discipline. Leaving your work to the last minute is not generally a good idea! You need to be organised about your workload, you need to be realistic about what you can achieve in a working day, and - especially if you are freelancing for more than one organisation - you need to keep good records and manage your time very well. Procrastination is not a habit to cultivate if you're a freelancer!
Most employed people take for granted the 'benefits' of National Insurance Contributions, sick pay, holiday pay, maternity/paternity leave, and training opportunities. None of these are paid for if you are a freelancer, and so you need to plan carefully in case you are ill or want to go on holiday, as if you are not working, you are not earning money. This is often something that comes as a shock to novice freelancers and is something to be aware of.
If, however, you wanted to take on the odd piece of work whilst away or were looking to go travelling, providing you have access to the internet and word processing software, you are still able to take on work with Academic Knowledge from wherever you are currently based! It's as simple as logging in to the website and applying for work as and when it comes through. Having the option to complete the odd piece of work to supplement their extended travels is something many find appealing - it really is that flexible!
As a freelancer, you need to be up-to-date with your admin, making sure that the records you've kept are accurate and that you can provide evidence of all the work you've completed. Invoicing promptly is important to make sure you get paid, and while some clients are very good at paying in a timely manner, this is not true of all clients. One of the main reasons small businesses go bust is that their clients don't pay them - this is a risk that freelancers can run as well, so do make sure you understand the payment terms.
However, at Academic Knowledge, you don't need to worry about the admin of invoicing and whether there is any assurance that you will get paid for the work you have completed. Invoices are automatically generated on the 16th of every month, with payment made directly to your bank on the final working day of the same month. We offer this time between invoice generation and payment to allow you to view your invoice and contact us if any changes need to be made.
Don't forget, admin also includes making sure you submit tax returns and that you pay your NICS contributions. Effectively, what you earn in freelancing is a gross figure: you need to put aside for all of your deductions and make sure you pay them.
Freelancing can be a lonely business, especially if you work remotely or from home. If you are a naturally sociable person, it can be very hard to work by yourself and maintain self-discipline and motivation. There is no office chatter or gossiping around the water cooler; no team nights out or drinks after work. For some people this is ideal, as they much prefer to work in peace and quiet, but for others, the loneliness of working by yourself or for yourself is something that they hadn't considered. Even if you do prefer to work in your own space, the value of having a contact team to talk to shouldn't be underestimated, so that might be something you should look for.
At Academic Knowledge, we appreciate it can sometimes be a lonely business, so we are only a phone call or message away if you ever want to have a chat, even if it's not specifically work-related. We have an open-door policy at our office in Nottingham, so if you're ever in the area, let us know as we'd be more than happy for you to stop by, grab a coffee and meet all the in-house staff. We also put on events throughout the year which give you the opportunity to visit and meet other freelancers working for us if you wish.