Media and creative freelancers and contractors

Are you self motivated, creative and talented? You’ve probably considered freelance or contract work, but aren’t too sure how to go about it. Well, this guide will provide a few hints, tips and pointers.

If you do decide to go it alone you’ll be in good company as there are over 250,000 freelancers, contractors and consultants out there, nearly all of whom feel like you do. Whether you’re looking to work agency or client side, companies know that freelancers are cost effective, driven, professional and hugely valuable to their organisation.

There may be warning bells going off in your head – isn’t freelancing quite high risk? We won’t lie – yes there are some risks involved in freelancing. However these risks are greatly balanced by rewards. Some of the benefits of media and creative contracting include:

  • Money, money, money! – Freelancers often get paid twice, three or even four times that of permanent employees doing the same job.
  • Creativity – freelancing allows you to search for specific creative jobs rather than only doing a small portion of what you like doing.
  • Expertise – you know the feeling, you’ve been in the same company for years and sometimes you feel unappreciated. Freelancers are chosen as experts so their skills and views are highly regarded.
  • Variety – working on different projects gives you a wealth of experience. As your skill sets grow, so your CV grows, you become more in demand and can received higher daily rates. You get to choose who you work for and the kind of roles you want to carry out.

Yes there are negatives, to be honest you’ll have probably worked all these out for yourself, but at a time when permanent employment no longer really means ‘permanent’ are there really that many more risks working on contracts? Do your research, speak to freelancers, visit forum sites and try and find out what life is really like as a freelancer. Many freelancers make the switch from permie work straight away, others test the water for a few years and find a great company they love at a level that was previously unattainable. Even after listening to all views only you can decide.

We get asked all the time whether we have any hints on helping freelancers and contractors find work. If this is on your mind click the links below for more information:

Some freelancers and contractors test the water by continuing in their permanent employment whilst freelancing on the side to get themselves set up. This is certainly a good option, particularly if you’re new to contracting, but it’s best to tell your employer just in case there are any restrictions in your contract however most companies have no problem what so ever.

As a freelancer you have the option to work in a number of ways, these include:

1. Through an Umbrella company – this is a separate company through which you act as an employee, you’ll be able to claim some expenses but on the whole, tax wise it’s very similar to being an employee again.

2. Self employed – you set yourself up as a sole trader. Typically people who choose this route won’t use recruitment agencies to source work but will instead use contacts and networking to find work. You’ll need to submit a tax return every year and invoice yourself however you’ll take home more money as a sole trader than through an Umbrella company. Our sister company Easy Accountancy can help if you would like to go down the sole trader route.

3. Through a Limited Company – this is the most tax efficient way of working meaning you’ll take home the most from your contract.

You’ll need to form a limited company this takes about five minutes and costs £125 plus VAT (good news formation costs are tax deductable), open a business bank accountant and possibly register for VAT, all this is included in the £125 plus VAT and appoint an accountant. Then each month you’ll need to complete a simple a spreadsheet, send a few cheques here and there to HM Revenue and Customs and move money from your business bank account to your personal bank account. It sounds a lot but once you get into the swing of things it really isn’t that much work and your accountant will help you all the way.

If you want to find out the best way in which you can work, give us a call on 01442 275789 or email our freelance experts on newbusiness@sjdaccountancy.com.

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SJD Accountancy

SJD Accountancy are the UK's largest specialist provider of fixed fee, Limited company accountancy services to contractors; we've been acting for contractors across the UK since 1992 and have more than 15,000 clients.

We are the only national specialist firm of contractor accountants with offices nationwide. SJD Accountancy has more qualified staff than any other firm in our market with qualifications from the following major tax and accountancy bodies - ATT, AAT, CTA, ACCA, CA, ACA and FCCA.

  • Unlimited face to face meetings. This is a unique service only SJD Accountancy offers - unlimited face to face meetings across the UK - tax is complicated and sometimes only a meeting will do.
  • UK's largest contractor accountants with more qualified staff. No call centres, no outsourcing, no automated call handling. Simply telephone, email or meet your own dedicated accountant face to face.
  • Money back service guarantee. All your Emails received by 4pm on any normal working day will be answered the same day. Should it be necessary to leave a telephone message it will be answered same day/following day latest or we will make a full refund of that months fee.
  • Outstanding reputation. We have won more awards for customer service and accountancy excellence than any other firm in our market, including: Best Accountant for Contractors, Accountant of the Year and Best Professional Service Team to name just a few.
  • All inclusive low cost fixed fee accountancy package which includes completion of accounts*, payroll bureau, dividends and corporation tax computations, personal taxation, free bookkeeping software, your own dedicated accountant* and all company returns for a fixed fee starting from £120 plus VAT per month. Check our packages for more detail.

If you have any questions about contracting or would like any further advice please call our new business team on 01442 275789 or email: newbusiness@sjdaccountancy.com. Our new business team is open Monday to Thursday (8am to 8pm), Friday (8am to 7pm) and Saturday (10am to 4pm)

Appoint SJD Accountancy and never worry about your tax or accountancy affairs again.

Form your own limited company with SJD - our same day online company formation service includes company bank account set up, VAT/PAYE registration and advice on optimum share structure. 

You may also find the following pages, guides and case studies useful:

*If you would like us to complete your company year end accounts we simply ask that you have been a client of SJD for one year or have made 12 monthly payments. All accountants are part or fully qualified.