Want to quit the rat race and go freelance, but not sure where to start?

Get started with this guide for freelancers-to-be to make the change from worker bee to Queen bee!

Being freelance is a wonderful way to do the work you love, where you want (as long as there’s wifi!), and with who you want.

But what is freelancing? 

According to the dictionary:

“A freelancer is a person who works as a writer, designer, performer, or the like, selling work or services by the hour, day, job, etc., rather than working on a regular salary basis for one employer.”

Some freelancers call themselves consultants, self-employed, business owners or entrepreneurs. There are a lot of terms thrown around, but the basis is the same – they work for a variety of clients on a self-employed basis.  

Did you know… there are 2 million freelancers in the UK (statistic from IPSE’s Freelance Workforce) 1.77 million work freelance in main jobs, and a further 234,000 work freelance in second jobs​​​​​​​.

Getting started as a freelancer is exciting, but also a little terrifying! It can be hard to know where to start, and a lot of freelancers-to-be are nervous that they’ll get something wrong or miss something and get into trouble. 

This guide is here to ease you in! 

The Ultimate Guide To Getting Started As A Freelancer

From setting up your business with HMRC, to nailing networking, I’ve got everything you need to get you started.

  • Step 1: Plan, Plan, Plan
  • Step 2: Registering & Finances
  • Step 3: Marketing
  • Step 4: Networking
  • Step 5: T&Cs and Contracts


Step 1: Plan, Plan, Plan

The important thing to do before you start your freelance business, is to get planning! Having a plan before you dive in is essential, and will help you stay focused on those tricky days when you lack motivation.

Have a think about:

  • What you want to do?
  • Who your ideal customer is?
  • Where you’ll find them?
  • How much time you’ll have?
  • What you’ll need to earn to cover bills?
  • What resources you’ll need?
  • What your expenses will be?

Useful Resources

Identifying your Super Customer – The Girl Means Business

How To Be A Part-Time Freelancer – The Freelance Lifestyle

Six signs you’re ready to make the leap to freelancing or contracting – Talented Ladies Club


Chapter 2: Registering & Finances

Don’t tell anyone, but HMRC are actually really nice to speak to – as long as it’s not the end of January when Self Assessment payments are due! Registering your business isn’t as tricky as you’d think either. In this section, you’ll find out more about how to register your business, and how to get off to a solid start financially.

The HMRC has a great guide to registering as self-employed to get you started. If you have an accountant, you can ask them to help you with it. The important thing is that you do it before 5 October in your business’s second tax year. You could be fined if you don’t.

Useful Resources

How Do I Register As Self-Employed – The Money Haven

The best invoicing and accounts software and tools for freelancers – The Freelance Lifestyle

The A-Z of Freelancing: Invoicing – The Freelance Lifestyle

Bookeeping for Freelancers – Virgin Startup

Freelancers, should you set up a business bank account? – Freelancer News

A Field Guide To Freelancer Finances – Freeagent


Chapter 3: Marketing

Building a freelance business means embracing a little more visibility and marketing to get your name out there and bring the clients in. In this section you’ll learn about different ways to market your business.

9 Often Overlooked Ways to Market Your Freelance Business – Men with Pens

8 Tips for Effectively Marketing Your Freelance Business – Social Media Week

The One Email You MUST Send As A Freelancer – The Freelance Lifestyle

10 ways to boost your biz on a budget – The Freelance Lifestyle

How to Market Your Freelance Business Better – Freelancers Blog


Chapter 4: Networking

Want to get work in fast? You need to network! Whether it’s face-to-face or online, getting out there and meeting people is how you can develop business relationships quickly. But don’t worry, as an introvert I know this can be scary – I’ve got your back!

Five things to consider when choosing a networking event – The Freelance Lifestyle

Getting started in networking – The Freelance Lifestyle

Shhh, quiet: an introvert’s guide to networking – The Guardian

Use this easy hypnotherapy exercise to beat your fear of networking – Talented Ladies Club

How To Network Online as a Freelancer – Ben R Matthews


Step 5: T&Cs and Contracts

Setup your business, marketed the hell out of it and found a potential client? Hold up! Before you dance off into the sunset with your bill payer, you need to get some T&Cs and contracts in place. Read on for some useful tools for this.​​​​​​​

Pick up the Legal Bundle from Dispace, in the Freelance Business Lounge

Protect yourself with these contract samples – Crunch

What NOT to do with freelance contracts – Contracter UK

The Freelance Contract – and.co


Ready to start taking your freelance business seriously? Come join The Freelance Business Lounge, an essential stash of super-practical resources, trainings and templates for freelancers who want to take their business seriously (but still have fun), with weekly group coaching sessions in the private Facebook group!