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Categories rowsEverything Interviews Books Events Jobs

I.P.H. Section 1 — Money

For the first section on this new article I thought it best not to dwell on all involved in hunting for a location but instead go back a little earlier to organising your cash. I’ve spoken to a few friends who over the last year or so who had decided to go freelance and a very small amount of them had any clue how to account their earnings. I’m not anywhere close to being an accountant but here are a few things I’ve learnt which I wish someone had told me. The first is that you don’t have to get too serious from the off. You are allowed a personal income allowance of £6,475 for 2011 and £7,475 for 2012 which isn’t the smallest amount in the world, being as us designers aren’t the richest of people. (I’m sorry this ia bit UK-centric but I’m sure similar laws apply elsewhere, or at least someone disgruntled will be happy to comment).

Although, this is legal I am a firm believer in doing it right from the beginning. So this is getting an accountant, setting yourself up with a proper trading name, re-conciling your accounts etc. etc. For me this was a terrifying prospect and for the most part, still is. Quite early on a friend told me about a company called ‘Crunch’. Now I wouldn’t really think to post that on FFF although from personal experience it is the best thing I decided to do over the last year. I paid a flat fee of around £100 and was setup as a Limited Company (Being a limited company is recommended for lots of reasons). This means you get a little certificate to say you are now a company Director. If like lots of designers nowadays you dabble in lots of projects it is worthwhile setting up as “Your Name Ltd.” which quite a few companies do even though they trade under a snazzy psueodonym. Their monthly fee is £70. This means you get to process all your invoices online and keep a record of Tax. It may sound a little daunting for the newly independant but it is certainly very handy getting a personal accountant assigned to you to ask any question you may have. As an example, I constantly e-mail mine trying figure out what I can claim for. The last thing you do is ring HMRC and say the magic words “I am a company Director” and they update your information and prepare you for self assessment.

After this. Congratulations, you are now a business.

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Have your say

    25th Nov 2011
    5:24 pm
  1. Designers don’t talk about money enough. There is certainly more room for articles like this on creative sites.

  2. Ed
    25th Nov 2011
    6:43 pm
  3. I completely agree with Joey. It’s really unnecessarily difficult to find out about how to do things that basic start-ups need to know. Invoicing, taxes, contracts etc – there should definitely be some kind of place to go online for these things.

    I would do it myself, but not having gone through the process, I don’t actually know any useful information.

  4. Ed
    25th Nov 2011
    6:45 pm
  5. … Forgot to say thank you for posting this informative article in the first place. Thanks!

  6. John McLellan
    26th Nov 2011
    5:53 pm
  7. Really helpful article. And joey does make a really good point my brain is programmed for design and not business so more articles like this would be helpful. Cant wait for the second instalment

  8. Chris G
    26th Nov 2011
    8:14 pm
  9. Pleased it is being well received. I’ll happily try and cover any basic subjects that anyone feels is ignored.

  10. Gary G
    28th Nov 2011
    3:49 pm
  11. Interesting insight, I wish there was a forum attached to this site to further these sort of discussions.

  12. James Le Beau-Morley
    29th Nov 2011
    5:46 pm
  13. Yes we need more discussions like this!
    Thanks for posting!

  14. Crunch
    5th Dec 2011
    4:42 pm
  15. Thanks for the kind words Chris – Crunch was set up for the express purpose of helping people who hate doing their accounts do their accounts!

    Hopefully without sounding too salesy, if anybody has any questions about saving money by going Limited, expenses you can claim, or anything like that you’ll probably find the answer on our website (, or you can give one of our advisors a call on 0844 500 8000 who will talk it through with you.

    Again, hopefully not sounding like a cheesy salesman here, but we find lot of freelancers just don’t realise the amount they could save!

  16. Dan Lane
    20th Jan 2012
    12:19 pm
  17. I think the idea for the series of articles is great but the explanation seems a little half arsed.

    I get that your maybe trying to keep it accessible and conversational in tone but there does seem to be lack of useful information or indepth research.

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