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Web, database and SEO freelancers in high demand

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Freelancer specialist PeoplePerHour.com has reported a huge rise in outsourcing to freelancers – particularly those with digital skills.

According to data released by the company, which is Europe’s largest online business marketplace, the public sector has responded to the cutbacks by using freelancers in record numbers. The figures for digital freelancers especially are particularly striking, with invoicing for public sector digital projects so far this year at a rate that is seven times higher than it was in the same period last year.

Overall, across all sectors in the past twelve months PeoplePerHour.com has seen a 315% increase in the number of digital job postings including web design, database development and SEO. According to founder and CEO Xenios Thrasyvoulou, the public sector is finally waking up to the cost-saving potential of outsourcing to freelancers.

“When the recession hit, the private sector was quick to respond to the new economic reality by shedding permanent staff and engaging freelancers instead,” he says. “Thousands of UK businesses quickly realised this was the best way to stay lean and remain solvent in the face of testing economic conditions. The public sector had no such imperative and continued employing and retaining fulltime staff. However, since the government started slashing budgets, the public sector has been forced to find a more cost effective and efficient approach to human resources. It’s clear from our figures that the public sector has learnt a lot from the private sector about the benefits of using freelancers.”

A figure like the ‘315% increase in demand’ quoted here is bound to spark interest in the whole idea of freelancing. Many people are turning to this new way of working, but one of the key questions we are always asked is whether it’s better to operate as a sole trader, or work through your own limited company. We get asked this question all the time and there really is no easy answer. Everyone’s situation is different, and what’s right for one person might not be right for another. There are lots of things which might influence your decision – for example, the type of business you run, or are thinking of running; your future plans to grow the business, or not; what level of commercial risk you will be exposed to; what kind of administrative support you have, if any – and how you wish to be perceived by customers.

Lots of things to think about, and most important of all is your own personal preference. You might just want to be limited rather than sole trader. But in order to make that decision, you must have all the information at your fingertips, which is where our advice comes in.

In a nutshell, the four usual options to consider are Sole Trader – an individual; Partnership – two or more individuals or companies; a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) or a Limited Company.

From a legal point of view, a limited company is totally separate from the person or persons who form it. What that means in real terms is that you and your fellow directors or shareholders have ‘limited liability’. Hence the term ‘Limited Company’. If you choose to be a sole trader or other non-limited business, your personal assets – house, car, that new iPhone you bought last week! – are potentially at risk if your company fails. But for a limited company, there is an element of protection. As long as your business is operated legally and within the terms of the Companies Act then your personal assets are not at risk.

On paper therefore, the option to ‘go limited’ seems obvious, but before you make that decision, you need to weigh up the pros and cons. Click here to see some questions which our customers have asked us over the years, along with some answers which we hope you will find useful.

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