Becoming Self-Employed: 13 Considerations Before Going Freelance - More Than Accountants

Becoming Self-Employed: 13 Considerations Before Going Freelance

Becoming Self-Employed: 13 Considerations Before Going Freelance

If you’re thinking of becoming self-employed and going freelance, there are many things to consider before taking the leap. It can be a daunting prospect, but with the right preparation, it can also be a hugely rewarding one. In this article, we will guide you through 13 things to consider before making the decision to go freelance.

Firstly, it’s important to understand what it means to be self-employed. As a self-employed individual, you will be responsible for managing your own finances, taxes and paperwork. You will also need to find your own clients and projects, and be able to manage your workload effectively. Going freelance can offer greater freedom and flexibility, but it also requires a high level of discipline and self-motivation.

Before making the transition to self-employment, it’s important to consider your reasons for doing so. Are you looking for greater flexibility in your work schedule? Do you want to pursue a passion project? Or are you simply looking for a change of pace? Whatever your reasons, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your goals and expectations before taking the leap. By considering the 13 things we will outline in this article, you can make an informed decision about whether self-employment is the right choice for you.

Want to switch to More Than Accountants? You can get an instant quote online by using the form below. In a like for like comparison for services we are up to 70% cheaper than a high street accountant.

Understanding the Freelance Landscape

As you consider becoming self-employed, it’s important to understand the freelance landscape. This includes defining what freelance work is and how it differs from traditional employment.

Defining Freelance Work

Freelance work is a type of self-employment where you work on a project basis for various clients. As a freelancer, you are not tied to any one employer, and you have the flexibility to choose which projects you take on. Freelance work can be found in a variety of industries, including writing, graphic design, web development, and more. Freelancing involves working independently on various projects. Learn more about the nature of freelance work here.

One of the main benefits of freelance work is the ability to have more control over your work-life balance. You can choose when and where you work, which can be especially beneficial if you have other commitments such as family or education.

Freelance vs. Traditional Employment

Freelance work differs from traditional employment in a few key ways. As a freelancer, you are responsible for finding your own clients and projects. This can be challenging at first, but with time and effort, you can build a steady stream of work. Understand the fundamental differences between freelancing and traditional employment here.

Another difference is the flexibility that comes with freelance work. You can choose which projects to take on and when to work on them. This can allow you to have more control over your schedule and work-life balance.

It’s also important to note that as a freelancer, you are responsible for your own taxes and benefits. This means you will need to set aside money for taxes and pay for your own health insurance and retirement savings.

Overall, freelance work can be a great option for those looking for more flexibility and control over their work. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and consider whether it’s the right choice for you.

Setting Up Your Freelance Business

Starting your own business can be a daunting task, but with the right preparation, it can be a smooth process. Here are some key things to consider when setting up your freelance business.

Choosing Your Business Structure

Before you start your freelance business, you need to decide on the legal structure that is right for you. The two most common structures for freelancers are sole trader and limited company. As a sole trader, you will be the sole owner of your business and you will be responsible for all aspects of it. As a limited company, your business will be a separate legal entity, and you will have limited liability for its debts.

Deciding between a sole trader, limited company, or partnership impacts your legal and financial responsibilities. For a detailed comparison, visit Sole Trader Accounting and Limited Company Accountants.

Registering with HMRC

Once you have decided on your business structure, you will need to register with HMRC. As a sole trader, you will need to register for self-assessment and pay income tax on your profits. As a limited company, you will need to register with Companies House and pay corporation tax on your profits. Registration with HMRC is crucial for legal compliance. Learn about self-assessment tax return here.

Creating a Business Plan

A business plan is a document that outlines your business goals and how you plan to achieve them. It is an essential tool for any freelancer starting a new business. Your business plan should include details such as your target market, your unique selling points, your marketing strategy, and your financial projections.

In conclusion, setting up a freelance business requires careful planning and preparation. By choosing the right business structure, registering with HMRC, and creating a solid business plan, you can set yourself up for success.

Financial Considerations

When considering becoming self-employed, it’s crucial to keep your finances in mind. Here are some financial considerations you should keep in mind before going freelance.

Managing Taxes and National Insurance

As a self-employed individual, you’ll be responsible for managing your own taxes and National Insurance payments. It’s important to keep accurate records of your income and expenses to ensure you pay the correct amount of tax. You’ll need to register for self-assessment with HM Revenue and Customs and submit a tax return each year. It’s advisable to hire an accountant to help you manage your taxes and ensure you’re paying the correct amount of National Insurance contributions.

As a freelancer, you’re responsible for your taxes and National Insurance. Understand National Insurance for self-employed here. For tax return services, check out Tax Returns.

Understanding Business Expenses

When you become self-employed, you’ll have a range of business expenses to consider. These can include things like office rent, equipment, and travel expenses. It’s important to keep accurate records of your expenses, as you may be able to deduct them from your taxable income. It’s important to note that HM Revenue and Customs has strict rules around what can and can’t be claimed as a business expense. It’s advisable to seek the advice of an accountant to ensure you’re claiming the correct expenses. Identifying which expenses you can claim is vital. Discover more about allowable expenses here.

Setting Up a Business Bank Account

When you become self-employed, it’s important to separate your personal and business finances. Setting up a business bank account can help you keep track of your income and expenses, and make it easier to manage your taxes. It’s important to choose a bank account that’s suitable for your business needs. Some banks offer free business banking for a certain period, so it’s worth shopping around to find the best deal.

In summary, managing your finances is an important consideration when becoming self-employed. You’ll need to manage your taxes and National Insurance payments, understand business expenses, and set up a business bank account. Seeking the advice of an accountant can help ensure you’re managing your finances correctly. It’s essential to separate personal and business finances. For advice on business banking, click here.

Legal and Insurance Matters

When you become self-employed, you are responsible for handling your own legal and insurance matters. This section will cover two important aspects of these matters: handling contracts and invoices, and securing insurance.

Handling Contracts and Invoices

As a self-employed individual, it is important to ensure that all your contracts and invoices are legally binding. Contracts should clearly state the terms of the agreement, including payment terms, deadlines, and scope of work. It is recommended that you seek legal advice when drafting contracts to ensure that they are legally sound.

Invoices should also be clear and detailed, including the services provided, the amount charged, and payment terms. You should keep copies of all invoices and contracts for your records. Ensure all contracts and invoices are professionally managed. For more information, visit Contractor Accountants.

Securing Insurance

Securing insurance is an important aspect of being self-employed. There are two main types of insurance to consider: public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance.

Public liability insurance protects you in case someone is injured or their property is damaged as a result of your work. This type of insurance is important if you work in a field where accidents can happen, such as construction or event planning.

Professional indemnity insurance protects you in case a client claims that your work caused them financial loss or damage. This type of insurance is important if you work in a field where mistakes can be costly, such as accounting or legal services.

It is important to shop around for insurance and compare policies to ensure that you are getting the best coverage for your needs. You should also ensure that you understand the terms and conditions of your insurance policy before signing up.

Overall, handling legal and insurance matters may seem daunting, but it is important to ensure that you are protected in case of any unforeseen events. By taking the time to properly handle contracts and invoices, and securing insurance, you can give yourself peace of mind and focus on growing your business. Different types of insurance, such as public liability and professional indemnity, are critical. For insurance information, click here.

Marketing and Finding Clients

When it comes to becoming self-employed, one of the most important aspects is finding clients. Marketing yourself and your services is key to attracting potential clients and building your business. Here are some tips for marketing and finding clients:

Building a Professional Website

A professional website is essential for any self-employed individual. It is the first point of contact for potential clients and can serve as a platform for showcasing your work and services. Your website should be easy to navigate, visually appealing, and provide all necessary information about your services. It should also be optimized for search engines to increase its visibility. A compelling online presence is key to attracting clients. Discover why it’s important here.

Networking and Referrals

Networking is a great way to meet potential clients and build relationships with other professionals in your industry. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and participate in online forums to connect with others. Referrals from satisfied clients can also be a powerful tool for finding new clients. Encourage your clients to refer you to their friends and colleagues. Effective networking is crucial for freelance success. Learn about building a professional network here.

Utilising Social Media

Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can be powerful tools for marketing your services and finding new clients. Create a professional profile on each platform and share your work and services with your network. Engage with your followers and participate in industry-related conversations to build your credibility and reputation.

In summary, marketing and finding clients is a crucial aspect of becoming self-employed. Building a professional website, networking and referrals, and utilising social media are all effective strategies for attracting potential clients and growing your business.

Work Environment and Logistics

When you become self-employed, you’ll need to consider your work environment and logistics. This includes choosing your workspace, setting a schedule and boundaries, and ensuring you have the privacy you need to work effectively.

Choosing Your Workspace

One of the benefits of being self-employed is the ability to work from home. This can save you money on rent and commuting costs, and allow you to work in a comfortable environment. However, it’s important to create a dedicated workspace that is free from distractions. This could be a separate room in your home, or a corner of your living room that you can set up as an office.

If you prefer to work outside of your home, there are co-working spaces available where you can rent a desk or office space. This can provide you with a professional environment to work in, and the opportunity to network with other self-employed individuals. A conducive workspace is vital for productivity. Learn about home office considerations here.

Setting a Schedule and Boundaries

One of the challenges of being self-employed is setting a schedule and sticking to it. It’s important to create a routine that works for you and allows you to be productive. This could mean setting specific work hours, taking regular breaks, and avoiding distractions like social media.

It’s also important to set boundaries with friends and family. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you’re available to chat or run errands during the day. Make it clear to your loved ones that you’re working and need to focus on your business.


When you’re self-employed, you’ll likely be dealing with sensitive information like client data and financial records. It’s important to ensure that this information is kept secure and private. This could mean investing in a shredder for sensitive documents, using encryption software for digital files, and setting up a password-protected computer.

Overall, creating a productive and secure work environment is essential for success as a self-employed individual. By choosing the right workspace, setting a schedule and boundaries, and ensuring privacy, you can create a professional and efficient work environment that allows you to thrive.

Managing Your Workflow

When you become self-employed, managing your workflow is crucial to your success. You need to balance multiple projects, maintain discipline, and stay motivated. Here are some tips to help you manage your workflow:

Balancing Multiple Projects

As a freelancer, you may have multiple clients and projects to work on simultaneously. It is essential to maintain a schedule and keep track of deadlines. You can use a project management tool like Trello or Asana to keep track of your projects and deadlines. Make sure to prioritise your work based on the urgency and importance of each project.

Additionally, you should communicate with your clients regularly to ensure that you are meeting their expectations. Be transparent about your workload and availability, and set realistic deadlines. This will help you manage your clients’ expectations and avoid overcommitting yourself. Juggling various projects effectively is a key skill. Discover project management strategies here.

Maintaining Discipline and Motivation

Working from home can be challenging, especially when it comes to maintaining discipline and motivation. You need to create a schedule and stick to it. Set aside specific times for work, breaks, and personal activities. This will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and avoid burnout.

It is also essential to avoid distractions during work hours. You can use productivity tools like RescueTime or StayFocusd to block distracting websites and apps. Additionally, you should take breaks regularly to avoid fatigue and maintain focus.

Finally, staying motivated is crucial to your success as a freelancer. You can set goals and reward yourself when you achieve them. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may be. This will help you maintain a positive attitude and stay motivated.

In conclusion, managing your workflow as a freelancer requires discipline, schedule, and flexibility. By balancing multiple projects and maintaining discipline and motivation, you can succeed as a self-employed professional.

Financial Stability and Growth

When it comes to becoming self-employed, financial stability and growth should be at the forefront of your mind. Here are some key considerations to ensure your finances are in order:

Handling Cashflow and Savings

As a freelancer, your income may be irregular, so it’s important to have a solid plan for handling your cashflow. This may include setting up a separate bank account for your business expenses, creating a budget, and tracking your income and expenses regularly. You may also want to consider setting aside a portion of each payment for taxes and other expenses.

In addition to managing your cashflow, it’s important to have savings in place for emergencies or unexpected expenses. This may include setting up an emergency fund, contributing to a pension plan, or investing in other financial products that can help you save for the future.

Investing in Your Business

Investing in your business can be a key factor in achieving financial stability and growth. This may include purchasing equipment or software, hiring employees or contractors, or investing in marketing and advertising. However, it’s important to balance these investments with your overall financial goals and ensure that they are financially viable in the long run.

If you need financing to invest in your business, there are a variety of options available, including business loans, lines of credit, and other financial products. However, it’s important to carefully consider the terms and conditions of these products, as well as your ability to repay the debt, before taking on any additional financial obligations.

Overall, achieving financial stability and growth as a freelancer requires careful planning, budgeting, and investment. By taking a strategic approach to your finances and making informed decisions, you can build a successful and sustainable business that meets your financial goals and supports your overall lifestyle. Reinvesting in your business is key for growth. Explore financial support options here.

Support Systems and Professional Development

When you become self-employed, you will need to build a support network and continue your education and training to stay competitive in your industry.

Building a Support Network

Starting your own business can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely journey. There are many ways to build a support network, including:

  • Joining professional associations or networking groups relevant to your industry
  • Attending conferences and events to meet other freelancers and business owners
  • Finding a mentor or coach who can offer guidance and support
  • Utilising online communities and forums to connect with other self-employed individuals

Having a support network can provide you with valuable advice, feedback, and encouragement, and can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals.

Continuing Education and Training

To stay competitive in your industry and expand your skills, it’s important to continue your education and training. This can involve:

  • Taking courses or workshops to learn new skills or improve existing ones
  • Reading industry publications and books to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments
  • Attending webinars or online training sessions to learn from experts in your field
  • Seeking out feedback and guidance from colleagues and mentors

Continuing your education and training can help you stay ahead of the curve, improve your work, and attract new clients. It’s important to invest in yourself and your skills to ensure long-term success as a self-employed individual.

Overall, building a support network and continuing your education and training are essential components of becoming a successful self-employed individual. By investing in yourself and your skills, you can stay competitive in your industry and achieve your goals.

Challenges and Considerations

Going freelance can be a rewarding experience, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. Here are some of the things you should consider before making the leap.

Dealing with Isolation and Work-Life Balance

One of the biggest challenges of working from home is dealing with isolation. When you work for a company, you have colleagues to talk to and interact with. When you work from home, you may find yourself feeling lonely and isolated. This can be particularly difficult if you are used to working in a busy office environment.

You also need to consider work-life balance. When you work from home, the lines between work and home life can become blurred. It can be difficult to switch off and relax, particularly if you are working on a big project or have a lot of deadlines to meet.

To combat isolation and maintain work-life balance, you should try to establish a routine. Set yourself specific working hours and stick to them. Take regular breaks throughout the day and try to get out of the house when you can. You could also consider joining a co-working space, where you can work alongside other freelancers.

Planning for Sick Pay and Holiday Leave

When you work for a company, you are entitled to sick pay and holiday leave. When you work for yourself, you need to plan for these things yourself. You should consider setting aside some money each month to cover sick pay and holiday leave.

You should also think about how you will manage your workload when you are away. Will you have someone to cover for you, or will you need to turn down work? It’s important to plan for these things in advance, so you can enjoy your time off without worrying about work.

In summary, going freelance can be a great way to take control of your career, but it’s important to consider the challenges before you make the leap. By planning ahead and being prepared, you can set yourself up for success as a freelancer. Financial planning for time off is crucial. Learn about freelancers’ benefits and leave considerations here.


Becoming self-employed can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience, but it’s important to carefully consider all aspects of this decision before taking the leap. By doing so, you can increase your chances of success and avoid common pitfalls.

As your own boss, you will have more control over your work schedule and the types of projects you take on. However, this also means that you will be solely responsible for finding clients and generating income. It’s important to have a solid plan in place for marketing your services and building a reputation in your industry.

One of the biggest challenges of going freelance is the irregular income. You may experience periods of feast or famine, so it’s important to have a financial cushion in place to cover your expenses during lean times. This could include setting aside savings or taking on part-time work to supplement your income.

Another consideration when becoming self-employed is your reputation. Your clients will be relying on you to deliver high-quality work on time and on budget. Building a strong portfolio and developing good relationships with clients is key to your success.

Finally, it’s important to remember that your earning potential as a freelancer is directly tied to the amount of work you put in. While there is no limit to how much you can earn, it’s important to be realistic about the amount of work you can handle and the rates you can charge.

Overall, becoming self-employed can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By carefully considering these 13 factors and taking steps to mitigate any potential challenges, you can set yourself up for success as a freelancer.

Next Business Mileage Rates: HMRC Allowances and Eligibility
Table of Contents