A side hustle or second job can be a great way to make ends meet and cover the rising cost of living.
According to the insurers Royal London an estimated 10 million UK workers are considering a second job.
Many will turn to freelancing and enter the wonderful world of self-employment.
But there are some things you need to know before you get started.
Here are our top tips.
- Check your contract of employment. Get permission to start your own business, or get a second job, if your contract says so. Don’t get yourself fired for acting in breach of contract.
- Let HMRC know and get your own unique tax payer reference (what business owners have). Don’t wait until the end of your first trading year.
- Keep receipts for all the money you spend on your business – you will be able to claim a lot of that against the money you make, even if your business makes a loss.
- If you are handling information from your clients about their clients, prospects or team members, you will need to register with the Information Commissioner as a data controller. In any event, get on top of what you need to do to protect your customer information.
- If you are on working family tax credits or any form of benefits make sure you let the Benefits Agency know (via your normal portal).
- Don’t invest large amounts of money until you have tested whether anybody wants what you do. The world is full of people wanting to charge you for all sorts of things that are no use at all to you if nobody wants what you do.
- Find out who the respected coaches and mentors are in the field of work you want to enter. Join their free groups and challenges get to know them before investing in paid programmes.
- Check out what insurance you need – if you are in a ‘regulated’ profession it is compulsory, but it is always a great idea to protect your business and clients from the cost of things going wrong.
- Consider starting as an associate freelancer (working for an established team leader). It’s a great way to learn the ropes and earn some money while you figure out how to create that vital ‘sales pipeline’ of your own.
- Get yourself a contract that makes it clear who is doing what, and who is paying for what. Arguments about that later on will delay when you get paid (and sometimes mean you don’t get paid at all.
Treat your side hustle with respect
It can take months or years to figure it all out. If someone promises you a get-rich scheme – chances are it is them getting rich not you.
Repeat paying customers come from providing what they want – there is no shortcut to doing the work.
Your freelance side hustle is not like having a job
You will quickly discover that while employees tend to get paid routinely weekly or monthly, it is a lot tougher than that persuading a client to pay you.
Some clients pay slowly because they are thoughtless. Others because they are waiting for someone to pay them.
But there are organisations that prey on new freelancers, inviting you to do trial work for free or to do paid work, but the money never turns up.
Just as they will want you to demonstrate that you can do what is needed (and have the right tools for the job), you need to keep a firm eye on getting paid.
We are always surprised by how many new KoffeeKlatch contract customers say they won’t need the late payment parts of their contract because no-one would pay them late!
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We want you to know that supporting and protecting you is not our side hustle – it’s our whole reason for existing.