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“Time is money” isn’t just an adage when running a small business, it’s a way of life. When your business model is to sell your time and expertise, it’s important to monetise every moment of every working day.

There are plenty of hacks to help freelancers and contractors get more and more efficient with reducing the cost of non-billable time. These tend to focus on outsourcing your unproductive time and automating repetitive tasks, but you also need to pay special attention to the time and effort you spend on winning new business. Continue…

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The gig economy is one of the UK’s fastest growing ways of working. According to IPSE, the body representing UK freelancers, there are now around 1.9 million freelancers in the UK alone. And the global figure is upwards of 50 million people earning a living from freelancing.

The rise in popularity of freelance working is creating more opportunities for those looking for more flexibility and control over their own lives, but joining the growing ranks of the self-employed does bring its challenges.

So if you’re thinking of going it alone and starting up as a freelancer, here’s what you need to do to be a successful freelancer in the gig economy; Continue…

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Making the decision to go it alone and leave the relative security of life as a PAYE employee is a big one, but it can pay dividends (quite literally) when it comes to your potential earning power.

If you’re thinking about whether becoming a contractor could be the right career move for you, we have put together this guide to cover the key things you need to know before you make the move.

If you want to become a contractor, the good news is that there are plenty of different roles available, with everything from IT specialists and engineers, to management consultants and even locum doctors engaged on this basis.

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If you are thinking of starting out as a freelancer or a contractor, you will very quickly need to get a basic understanding of the IR35 rules.

The tax avoidance debate in the UK often focuses on the misdeeds of certain wealthy individuals and large multinational companies. But away from the national press there is another tax avoidance battle going on between HMRC and the UK’s freelancers and contractors.

The crux of the argument is a piece of legislation called IR35. IR35 protects hundreds of millions in tax revenue, HMRC claims. However, the UK’s freelancing and contracting population contends that IR35 is a millstone around their necks, and which puts disproportionately high compliance costs on one-person businesses.

So what are the IR35 rules that you need to know about if you are new to contracting?
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Whether you’re freelancing for the first time or have been doing it for a few years, you’ll quickly notice a universal truth about your marketplace: the same people seem to be busy all the time.

What is it about these people? What do they do differently to you and how do they manage to magnetically attract work to them?
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If you’re currently working for someone else and have a particular expertise, you might be considering a move into freelancing. It’s a popular way to move from being an employee to being your own boss.
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As the recession continues to hit UK businesses, many are finding they have to make redundancies to save money, and replace their full time staff with part-time freelancers.
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So you’ve decided to go freelance. You’ve picked a smart balance between being a wage slave employee, and the full stresses and strains that go with building a stand alone business.
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If you are contracting or freelancing via your own limited company, how you draw down income from your company will depend on several factors, the main one being your IR35 status.
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One of the first things a new contractor has to decide is whether to contract via a limited company or an umbrella company. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option?
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The vast majority of contractors and freelancers work through their own limited companies, or use the services of umbrella companies. Which is best for you depends on a number of factors.
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If you have decided to use a contractor umbrella company, you should make sure you ask a number of questions of potential providers before signing on the dotted line.
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Alongside freedom, the potential financial benefit associated with contracting or freelancing is a prime motivator for many people thinking of working for clients as an independent worker.

One of the first things people ask is: “what hourly / daily rate should I charge as a contractor?”
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Aside from limited companies, the umbrella company is the second most popular business structure used by contractors and freelancers.
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The internet has revolutionised freelance work in the past few years. You name a problem that you face as a freelancer, and someone has probably already invented a solution for it. Best of all, many of them are totally free.

There are hundreds of great web applications out there. To save you time, ByteStart has put together a list of the top 10 online tools to make your freelance work more productive. Continue…

Being a freelancer has many advantages (especially compared to being a wage slave employee), but one big disadvantage.

And that’s the fact that you are your business: you have to do everything in it. Which includes chasing payments owed to you by clients.
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Before you take the plunge into the IT contracting world, you should consider carefully what you new life will involve and if your personality is suited to life as an IT contractor.
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There has been much talk recently about freelancers and contractors struggling to get their invoices paid by the agencies or end clients.

With the credit crunch hitting cash flows hard, the bigger companies are often guilty of extending credit terms without your say so. If, firstly, the client delays in paying the agency and then they delay in paying you, it’s added weeks on to money that would be better off in your bank.

So what can be done about it?
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IT Contractors are hired when companies are looking to fill a short term gap in their IT expertise, or as part of a general strategy to outsource technical work. This article looks at what factors influence how much IT Contractors can earn.
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As an IT Contractor, you will spend money on a variety of things in the course of your work. During the course of each tax year, you should retain receipts for all expenses where possible.

Claiming expenses will help to reduce your overall tax liability and therefore maximise your take home pay.
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How a contractor umbrella company works

October 11, 2011

An umbrella company acts as your employer, for tax purposes, when you undertake a contract with an employment agency or a client. It is an alternative to you setting up your own Limited Company and, if your contract is outside of IR35, it is usually the most cost effective way for you to operate.

Contractor umbrella companies – A guide to the pros and cons

October 11, 2011

Although most IT contractors tend to set up their own limited companies, a significant number prefer to work through an Umbrella Company.

Accounting and tax issues for contractors and freelancers

October 11, 2011

As a small business site, we have a wealth of tax guide which detail what a limited company’s tax obligations are, how to find an accountant and deal with current tax issues. We have also produced an overview of things you should consider below:

5 steps to becoming a freelancer

October 3, 2011

Starting your own business doesn’t necessarily have to be about building up a big company and putting yourself at the top as boss.