Setting Up A Freelance Consultancy

Becoming a freelancer can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.

Practically any highly experienced skill you possess can be offered and outsourced to businesses or individuals lacking that skill. And many new start up business owners may need your freelance skills.

Let's think out of the box on this one and then look at a few nitty gritties in the basic set up of your freelance consultancy.

Read articles on how to find freelance work and many other sources of freelancing advice

This article specifically looks at how to set up your freelance consultancy.  It assumes you already know the kind of service you will offer.

Think Outside The Box

It’s great that you know your niche, but don’t keep it tightly specific where at all possible.  By that I mean brainstorm subsets of skills that may surround your core skill. 

A few basic examples:

Core Skill = Therapist
Potential Sub-skills = Life Coach, Wellness Coach, Stress Management

Core Skill = Writer
Potential Sub Skills = Proofreader, Copy-writer, Editor, PR

Core Skill = Web Designer
Potential Sub Skills = SEO Management, Logo Design, Site Maintenance

Only you know your capabilities but the more you can offer a client, the more valuable you are to them.

How To Trade

The vast majority of freelancers will start out as a Sole Trader.  This is without a doubt the simplest set up of all:

  • Register with your national tax office
  • If you need to work on the client’s premises, find out your Public Liability Insurance options
  • If you’re working from home, research your local council to see if you need planning permission

Once your freelancing consultancy takes off you may want to switch to a Limited Company status or a Partnership. 

There are costs involved in setting up a Limited Company and you may wish to seek legal advice if you’re setting up a partnership. 

Formation Kingdom is just one formation company listed at Companies House.  These are expert organisations that will guide you through the set-up process.  There are also DIY options so research this area well.

Financial Questions

  • Finances will make or break your freelance consultancy and they need careful consideration
  • Will you need an accountant?
  • What will your start-up costs be? (Insurance, equipment, Marketing)
  • Will you need a business bank account?
  • Are you eligible for any funding?
  • What tax and National Insurance do you need to pay?

Who To Trade With

Whether you offer a very specific core skill or one that applies to every business on the planet, you need to decide from the outset your initial target market.  Knowing your market is vital in the way you choose to market yourself to them. 

Know your import and export laws if applicable.  Gather as much research as possible on the needs of your market.  Are they regional, UK-based or international?

The Freelancing Competition

Many things to think about here:

  • Who is offering what you’re offering?
  • How are they offering it?
  • What are they charging?
  • What can you offer that they don’t seem to?

Many freelancers support sub-contractors too and it may well be worth approaching your competition and asking if they need any help. Sounds weird, but hey, you never know they may be snowed under and you're dry-roasting in the desert. We say, give it a go.

Looking After Yourself

Freelancing can at times be a lonely role and as well as researching the health and safety laws and recommendations to keep you physically well, remember to keep yourself emotionally well too. 

In other articles we also look at how to find freelance work and many other sources of advice