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.