These days, working from home is a surprisingly viable option for many people; all you need is a computer and an internet connection! However, this decision does move away from the security of being employed by a large company, and that can be quite frightening.
Sitting in your PJs and working to your own schedule is a tempting prospect, but your freelance business can leave you vulnerable. You will get taken advantage of on more than one occasion, but if you learn from your mistakes, your freelance company can thrive.
Here are some ways you can protect your business, to stop yourself from being an easy target…
Make Sure Your Computers Are Protected
If you’re working alone, or with a team of people, your computer is open to attack from the online world. Safeguard your technology, to ensure that your accounts aren’t hacked.
This will require a full lockdown through a business internet security company, such as Dell, who offer strong network protection – obviously, look around to find a package that suits your company’s needs. The important thing is to have as much protection as possible; don’t always just settle for the cheap option.
Watch Out For Tax
You are in charge of putting money aside for tax. When HMRC ask you to file your taxes, and claim any self-employment benefits, you need to have accurate records of all of your business transactions, as well as receipts of any company purchases.
If you haven’t set aside approximately 30% of your wages aside for income tax and national insurance, you are going to be in big trouble. You can find out more information about being a sole trader and paying your taxes on the government’s website.
Use Secure Transactions
Don’t make any transactions through shady sites. Always insist on payments made directly through a third party system, such as PayPal, which offers you extra layers of protection. You can also send invoices through this medium, which you can personalise with your company’s details.
Ask For Deposits/Money Upfront
There’s not much stopping people from walking away with your work, after not paying a penny. This is a real source of anxiety for many freelance workers, but do all that you can to get money paid up front, or for them to pay a deposit before you start. It’s likely that a client will walk away with your cash at least once during your freelance career, if you don’t insist on this.
Aim For Clarity
Before you start any project, be sure that you and your client are on the same page. Get everything agreed down in writing (through email usually), so you have proof of previous statements and promises made.
Try to be as clear as possible and confirm the main points to avoid confusion. If your brief isn’t in clear English, it may be time to walk away.
Be Clever About Your Passwords
Don’t use universal, simple passwords. Be sure to use a combination of letters and numbers. Make your password fairly long and don’t give it to anyone else. Keep your log-ins personal, to avoid any mishaps with your online accounts.