The number of freelance workers has increased tremendously over the last few years. As a freelancer, you get to set your own schedule, do only the work you want to do, and set your own fee for your final product-traits that cause many people to begin working as a freelancer. According to The Freelance Industry Report of 2012, over 20 percent of freelancers claim themselves as designers, the largest segment of freelancers. And with this many people interested in making a living this way, you would imagine that setting yourself up as a freelance designer would be easy; not necessarily the case.
As a freelancer, all of the administrative tasks of your personal “business” are up to you, requiring you to not only create amazing products or services, but to also have the finance, law and other skills necessary to run a successful business. That can seem daunting, but to lighten your load, here are 3 tips for legally protecting yourself while setting up a freelance design business.
Set Your Business Up Correctly
Before getting started with your freelancing or independent contracting business, you’re going to want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row. Being self employed can come with a lot of challenges, but one way to make it easier is to start off on the right foot. The Guardian suggests deciding whether you want to be a sole trader, partnership, or limited company. All of these roads will have pros and cons, so it’s about finding what will work best for the type of design work you plan on doing and how extensive your employment will be. A sole trader structure is going to be the simplest to set up and manage, but if you’re unsure what would be best for you, consider talking to an accountant or tax attorney. They will be able to help set up your business legally in order to make sure you have all your bases covered.
As a designer, you’ll probably be contracting out the same types of work for all your clients or partners. If you anticipate this being the case, drafting a solid contract template will save you hours at the start of each new project. Be sure to include all relevant information in your contracts. These are law-binding documents, so you want to ensure they protect you in case you get into a sticky situation. Include terms for deliverables, payment, cancellations, revisions, breach of contract, and any other scenario you think could be possible during your relationship with this partner. If you feel uneasy about this part of the freelancing process, a lawyer will be able to assist you in this aspect as well.
Having your own business also brings up questions regarding insurance. What type should you have? How much should you be paying? What’s the best way to get insurance for your business? Types of insurance you should consider getting are liability insurance, business owner insurance, and personal injury insurance. You want to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. With these three types of insurance, you can feel confident that you’ll be able to continue to work, or be paid, the way you want and need in case something unforeseen happens.
Being your own boss has a plethora of perks, but it’s vital to understand that the business side isn’t always going to be easy, especially if your professional experience is focused around design rather than law. To ensure your business functions properly, do the above homework before branching out on your own.