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Freelancing finds its voice Steve Folland on podcasting, vlogging and building the freelance community


A new study reveals the many faces of self-employment December 2017


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Contents 05




Nisha Haq discusses the advice she received from the CMME boss, Jason Powell, when starting out


THE MANY FACES OF SELF-EMPLOYMENT Research by the CRSE reveals the nine segments of solo self-employed sector



Tristan Grove speaks to the freelance podcast guru




Interview with two businessmen who broke the mould to start their own company



Gemma Church’s top tips on how to appraoch networking


Is the UK taking a step backwards as more women opt for stereotypical roles in the gig economy?



A city guide to going it alone in the German city


Finanical columist Matthew Lynn analyses the Autumn Budget




Benedict Smiths talks about how to save for the future


Research reveals 18-26-year-olds see the gig economy as a longterm career




IPSE hits the road to offer financial advice to freelancers



Tom Hayward explores how community-driven this London-based co-working space is



FROM THE EDITOR JAMES GRIBBEN IPSE magazine has been producing six issues a year for over ten years. In that time, it has gone through a number of redesigns and updates to keep the content up to date and the look and feel modern. Over the past few months the editorial team at the magazine have been looking at how we can ensure the magazine is as relevant as possible to our audience of freelancers, con-

December 2017

tractors and the self-employed. The result is that this will be the final magazine in its current form. The next edition will have a new look, new focus on getting more stories about working freelancers and a new title. For now, please enjoy this edition of the mag. Read on to find out what the budget means for you and your business, check out the feature on our cover star Steve Folland, host

of the Being Freelance podcast and pick up some tips on how to network if meeting new people is your idea of a nightmare. See you all in the new year. Enjoy the read,

Editor @JamesIPSE



James Gribben @JamesIPSE




Martin Harling-Coward

CONTRIBUTORS Matthew Lynn Gemma Church Mark Williams Benedict Smith Michele Bayliss

IPSE’s Chief Executive, Chris Bryce



IPSE, Heron House, 10 Dean Farrar Street, London SW1H 0DX




IPSE does not necessarily agree with, nor guarantee the accuracy of, statements made by contributors or accept any responsibility for any statements which are expressed in the publication. All rights reserved. This publication (and any part thereof) may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in print or electronic form, or in any other format, without the prior written permission of IPSE. IPSE, its directors and employees have no contractual liability to any reader in respect of goods or services provided by a third-party supplier.


The Budget was better than expected, but what does the new year have in store for the self-employed?


hen the dust settled, and Chancellor Philip Hammond returned to the bench after delivering his Autumn Budget, the news for the self-employed was far better than first feared. In the build up to the Budget, all the talk surrounded an extension of IR35 changes from the public to private sector, and a significant lowering of the VAT threshold. Both measures would have done a great deal of harm to our flexible, self-employed workforce. In the end, however, the speculation was exactly that: speculation. After our grave and prolonged warnings, the government announced they will consider the impact of the IR35 off-payroll rules in the public sector before consulting on any changes in the private sector, while the VAT threshold will remain at its current rate for the next two years at least. Both are clearly significant victories for the self-employed, but the hard work does not stop here. We will be contributing to what we hope will be a comprehensive and meaningful discussion that accurately reflects what we know: that the IR35 changes have brought nothing but chaos and confusion to the public sector, and would have the same impact in the private sector. Forcing the government’s hand would not have been achieved without our members. Therefore, I’d like to take

this opportunity to thank all of you who provided case studies, evidence or wrote to their MPs. Together we ran a campaign that was heard across the UK’s political landscape. Much like the Class 4 NICs U-turn in March, we were at the forefront of the political debate and, in helping the Chancellor see sense, the self-employed voice was heard loud and clear. Next year brings with it challenges and opportunities, both new and old. ISPE will continue to champion our support for the self-employed, so that policymakers build a platform that allows you to flourish. Away from the corridors and chambers of Westminster, we were delighted to launch two very exciting new partnerships for our members. The first, with Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, provides members with access to exclusive rates on a range of brand new vehicles. And through a new relationship with AXA PPP Healthcare, our members can benefit from a series of health and wellbeing advantages. We are always endeavouring to improve the value our members get from their membership packages, and we hope these latest announcements reflect that. And lastly, on behalf of everyone at IPSE, I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!


Your monthly briefing No news is g ood news at t h e B u d g et The two biggest pieces of news from the Budget were about what didn’t happen. The Chancellor confounded expectations by announcing a freeze in the VAT threshold for the next two years. Many freelancers will also have been nervously watching for changes to IR35 in the private sector. Number 11 stopped short of announcing a rollout, bowing to intense lobbying from the freelance community. An external impact assessment of how the changes impacted the public sector and a consultation were announced instead. Read our Budget feature from finance expert Matthew Lynn on page 17.

C a l l f or e m p l oy m en t sta tu s d efi n i ti o n s i n l aw The Work and Pensions and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committees have published a joint report and draft Bill in response to the Taylor review on Modern Employment Practices. Among other things, the report calls for clearer statutory definitions of employment status. IPSE’s Simon McVicker responded by saying “This is an extremely valuable contribution to the debate about self-employment and the gig economy. For too long, confusion has reigned because of the lack of a clear definition of self-employment, which leads to individuals and businesses to seek clarity through expensive and time-consuming court hearings.”

Del iver o o wi n s em p l oy m ent t r i b unal In a significant employment tribunal, Deliveroo won the right not to give its riders minimum wage or holiday pay. The Central Arbitration Committee ruled that riders for the food delivery service were self-employed, because they had the right to allocate a substitute to carry out the work for them. The judgement is expected to act as a test case for other companies operating in a similar structure to Deliveroo.

Tra i n i n g s u p p o r t f o r th e s el f - em p loyed Chancellor Philip Hammond used his Autumn Budget speech to announce a consultation on extending tax relief for training – both for employees and the self-employed. He also announced a welcomed £30 million to help develop distance learning digital skills courses – a move that is likely to help the self-employed. The Chancellor also announced a review of how the Apprenticeship Levy is spent. At present it cannot be used to support the self-employed, but IPSE will be calling for this to change.

Au to- e nr olment c ould t a ck l e ‘ p e n s i on s blind spot ’ Insurance group Zurich has said extending auto-enrolment to gig workers could tackle ‘pensions blind spot’ and boost retirement income by up to £75,000. Chris Atkinson, head of consumer distribution at Zurich UK, said: “The gig economy has rapidly brought about a redefinition of the contracts between employers and employees. However, there is a blind spot in the current pension system. “Gig economy workers don’t have access to a workplace pension, meaning millions aren’t saving enough for retirement.” C u tting Universal Cr ed i t wai t i n g t i m e s After sustained criticism of Universal Credit, Philip Hammond has pledged £1.5bn of the Budget to iron out the system’s flaws. This includes removing the seven-day waiting period and extending the repayment period for advances. Although these reforms may do a little to help the low-income self-employed, they do not address the biggest challenges self-employed people face under Universal Credit. IPSE continues to call for Universal Credit’s minimum income floor to be changed to account for the fluctuating incomes of the self-employed. December 2017

B r oa d ba n d B r i ta i n In his Autumn Budget speech, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced further investment in extending superfast broadband across the UK. He has now committed £385 million to projects to develop next generation 5G mobile and full-fibre broadband networks throughout the country. This investment will benefit many home-working self-employed people – especially in rural areas where there is still no access to superfast broadband. Research has shown broadband issues are the biggest business problems for as many as one in five self-employed people in Scotland and Wales.

I P S E p a r tn er s wi th Ta l m i x IPSE is excited to be working with Talmix to provide the 35,000+ consultants with a range of tools, services and protections. This relationship has been designed to make it easier for Talmix consultants to run their businesses. It also allows IPSE to further represent the interests of the self-employed across the UK.



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It’s not just cats who have nine lives New research reveals nine segments of the solo self-employed sector


hat does it mean to be self-employed? It’s a big question, and one that might have different answers depending on who you are. In recent times, self-employment has been associated with the controversy surrounding the gig economy. This has meant that rather than focusing on the complex reality of self-employment in the UK, everyone who works for themselves is seen as part of a single, uniform sector. But a new report, launched last month, has dispelled this myth of uniformity. Research conducted by the Centre for Research on Self-Employment (CRSE), in conjunction with the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), has found that this lucrative sector is incredibly diverse. The report, titled The True Diversity of Self-Employment, has identified nine distinct groups of the self-employed, based on these key elements: how much they earn, the level of control they have over their work, and how much security their working situation provides. December 2017

By Jyoti Rambhai Why is it important to consider this now? The past decade has seen a surge in the number of people opting to go it alone. Around 84 per cent of the self-employed workforce in the UK are those who work on their own without employees; known as ‘solo self-employed’. The remaining group are those who run a business with employees. The rise of the gig economy, alongside the advances in technology have been two of the driving forces behind the rise in self-employment and this has created a fundamental shift in the make-up of the UK’s labour market. However, the government has not kept up with the pace of change and instead has continued to apply a single-minded “one size fits all” approach to the industry, which could have negative consequences, according to the study. The report by the international think tank argues that the media’s portrayal of “exploitation in the gig economy or any other small part of the self-employed sector” has created an assumption amongst the public that these issues apply across

the board, from IT contractors to freelance photographers, engineers and medical consultants. Nigel Meager, director of IES said: “Coverage of this group in the media and political debate often focuses on the gig economy, which in reality, is only a small part of a dynamic and far broader self-employed workforce. “The findings show huge differences between segments of the self-employed in many areas including earnings and job security, as well as work/ life balance and overall satisfaction. “I hope the findings encourage policymakers to take this diversity into account when developing support for the self-employed as well as any regulations that could affect them.” More and more people are choosing to go into self-employment irrespective of the industry they are in, because of the flexibility, autonomy and general work/life balance it can offer. But the level of independence, the earnings and security will often be dictated by the industry. For example; builders fall into a low pay category 7

RESEARCH Proportion of solo self-employed: SEGMENT 1 LOW PAY, DEPENDENT, INSECURE Occupations include: Drivers and cleaners


SEGMENT 2 LOW PAY, INDEPENDENT, INSECURE Occupations include: Shopkeepers, car mechanics and artistic occupations


SEGMENT 3 LOW PAY, INDEPENDENT, SECURE Occupations include: Farm workers, builders, traders and tutors


SEGMENT 4 MID PAY, DEPENDENT, INSECURE Occupations include: Building labourers, childminders and carers


SEGMENT 5 MID PAY, DEPENDENT, SECURE Occupations include: Building operatives/drivers


SEGMENT 6 MID PAY, INDEPENDENT, SECURE Occupations include: IT professionals, financial advisers, business associate professionals, manufacturing managers, hair and beauty workers, skilled makers, gardeners, restaurant and B&B owners


SEGMENT 7 HIGH PAY, REGULATED, SECURE Occupations include: Medical professionals SEGMENT 8 HIGH PAY, MID-INDEPENDENCE, SECURE Occupations include: Managers/directors in range of areas, bookkeepers, construction and property managers and technical TV/film roles


SEGMENT 9 HIGH PAY, INDEPENDENT, SECURE Occupations include: Legal and business professionals


but have a high degree of independence and security, while a locum doctor would be in the high pay category, which although is secure, it is regulated. The report found more than half (53%) of all solo self-employed people have a high level of independence and security. People falling into one of these segments are “much happier in their work than employees in similar roles and have a high degree of control over their working practices”, according to the study. Of the nine segments, the two largest groups – three and six – exhibit high levels of independence and security. Segment three is characterised as low pay, independent and secure. It is likely to include occupations such as farm workers, builders, traders and tutors. 8


Despite the lower pay bracket, self-employed people falling into this group reported significantly high levels of job satisfaction compared to employees in similar jobs. Mark Baker is an arable farmer, who fits the characteristics of this segment. The 43-year-old said he “chose to go self-employed to have more control” over his work. He admits that the weather is always a challenge and despite the risk of potentially not earning anything in a year, he does not regret being self-employed and nor would he consider being an employee again. Segment six is the mid pay, independent, secure group and those that are likely to fall into this category include IT professionals, financial advisors, photographers, hair and beauty workers, restaurant owners, trainers, and manufacturing

managers. People in this group reported one of the highest levels of job satisfaction compared to other segments and around one in five (20%) have a private pension, which is close to the average across the entire solo self-employed sector. Photographer Ed Telling fits the characteristics of segment six. He said he is much happier being self-employed; he has a lot of control over his work and is able to save for the future. As a photographer, he also believes it would be hard to find employed work. There are around 1.66 million people working across these two segments – this is equivalent to 42 per cent of the total solo self-employed workforce. At the more vulnerable end of the solo self-employed spectrum, the study found there was a level

Case study: Tom Webb, 23, musician Tom is a part-time self-employed musician, who writes his own music, tours with his band and supports other artists. He also has a full-time job as an AV engineer. “One of the biggest struggles of being a musician is you have to pay for your photoshoots, music videos, recordings etc., which is why I have another job. “For gigs, you have to pay the venue upfront and buy your own tickets to sell. There are times when we don’t make any money at all – and when we do, it is very little.”

Case study: Ed Telling, 45, photographer Ed left graphic design to become a self-employed events photographer in 2010. “I have a lot of autonomy in how I work. Clients don’t really control how I work – it would be a bit strange if they did! Case study: Durali Vyas, 25, locum optician Durali chose to become a selfemployed or locum optician for convenience. She was getting married and wanted to choose when she worked.

“I see myself as running a business and have taken time out to focus on building my website. I also try and save where I can; I put money into a pension or invest it.”

“I love being self-employed and I am 100 per cent satisfied with working for myself – it is the best thing for me. “But there are some challenges. Keeping up with and adhering to practicing standards is a constant, and managing finances can also be a little confusing.”

of uncertainty for 15 per cent of those in this sector. This was where the individuals’ self-employed status is unclear due to low levels of autonomy in their work. Those likely to experience this uncertainty include drivers, cleaners, childminders, carers and building labourers (segments one, four and five). Around one in five (21%) solo self-employed people were characterised as being in insecure work, according to the report. Again drivers, cleaners, labourers and carers may fall into this category, alongside those in artistic occupations (segment two). The report stated that those in insecure work, which is more than 825,000 people tend to be “less qualified”, have “limited autonomy” and are “less likely to have financial security”. December 2017

Suneeta Johal, who is head of research, education and training at IPSE as well as director at CRSE said: “The research not only helps IPSE gain a further understanding of the challenges faced by this growing sector of the UK workforce, but will allow us to better represent the wider self-employed population. “Different segments of the self-employed workforce need specific support to ensure they have a fair deal. These findings offer more vital evidence that will help inform our engagement with policymakers. “For example, those who lack independence and are financially insecure need urgent support and incentives to save for their future. “The groups with little independence in their work would also benefit from a statutory definition of self-employment, to help clarify their status.”

The report highlights that any policy recommendation put forward by the government should not hinder the independence, autonomy and job satisfaction enjoyed by the majority of self-employed people. Johal added: “All segments of self-employment could really benefit from better access to training and skills development opportunities. “Not only does skills development improve pay prospects, it also allows the less autonomous self-employed to move into more independent roles or build themselves a broader base of clients.” * 25% of the solo self-employed fall into a residual category because they are spread across such a variety of other occupations that, in aggregate, do not amount to anything statistically significant enough to make meaningful conclusions.


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The loneliness of the long-distance freelancer Media guru and host of Being Freelance, Steve Folland, speaks to Tristan Grove about podcasting, vlogs, local connections and other ways to combat freelancer isolation.

Steve Folland


reelancing is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the labour force: highly-skilled professionals pioneering their own careers – their own way of working. They are the spearhead of a fundamental shift in the labour market. As Hertfordshire-based freelance scriptwriter, podcaster and media guru Steve Folland tells me: “The world of work is changing. We grew up with the 9-5, Monday to Friday, commute-to-an-office culture ingrained in us. “That’s changing for everyone, even those with ‘normal’ jobs. But it feels like freelancers are the test bed of that change – we’re the ones figuring out how to adapt to this life.” And the biggest adaptation – the biggest challenge they have to overcome? Loneliness. For long-term, full-time freelancers, working alone from home can cause serious problems. “Something that comes up again and again on

December 2017

my podcast is that phrase ‘alone’,” adds Steve. “For many people there’s an immediate loneliness to being a freelancer. I’ve had guests who work from home and have ended up not leaving the house for weeks, and eventually realise they need a dog so they have a reason to get out. “So many of my guests struggle with these things, and unfortunately that can feed into mental health issues if you don’t get out there and take care of yourself. I speak to a lot of freelancers who struggle with mental wellbeing because of isolation.” Fortunately, that isn’t so much of an issue for Steve himself: “I don’t personally feel that way, but I think a lot of that comes down to having kids. If I didn’t have kids, I’m not sure I’d have much reason to leave the house during the week.” But Steve tells me he recognises the depth of the problem for freelancers more generally: “I think a lot of freelancers miss the social aspects of

going into an office every day and actually meeting people. Even though I like working by myself at home, humans are fundamentally social animals.” He thinks part of the problem is that most freelancers do not have an immediate community around them, and many don’t have an extended or virtual community either. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons Steve set up his vlog and renowned podcast, Being Freelance. “Often you feel like you’re the only one struggling with this. By listening to the podcast or watching the vlog, you realise you’re not and that it’s okay to talk about it,” he says. INSPIRING CHANGE: THE BEING FREELANCE PODCAST “I always enjoyed listening to podcasts, and when I started freelancing I wanted to hear from other people doing what I was doing. But the only podcasts I could find were very much from ‘entrepre11


Steve has interviewed 100s of freelancers including: Tara Sura (above), Ran Segall, Anton Sten (top l/r), Tatusro Kiuchi, Ben Warburton (bottom l/r) and Lauren Hooker

neurs’. And sure, there’s something entrepreneurial about freelancing, but overall, it’s a very different lifestyle so I just didn’t really relate to them. “Or when there were podcasts by actual freelancers, they were very profession-specific: talking about being a freelance graphic designer or a web developer. I would listen to them, but I found what I really enjoyed was when they just talked about their lives or more general things to do with freelancing. Really, I was looking for people who would talk about freelancing life, but nobody was – so I did.” And so Being Freelance was born. Now it’s four seasons in, with over 100 guests from across countries, continents and freelance professions. “Still I come away from every single conversation feeling I really get where my guests are coming from – whether they’ve been doing it for a year or for decades,” Steve explains. “We all have these shared, common experiences. So I always come away having learned something new, but also with a renewed feeling that I’m 12

not in this alone.” It’s not just comfort either: the podcast is a source of regular inspiration for freelancers. “There have been some really cool, inspirational people on,” he goes on to say. “One of my favourite quotes from guests is ‘nice guys get paid last’. That was someone called Fraser Davidson, and it wasn’t about being unpleasant – just about speaking up for yourself when it comes to getting paid. Being too nice puts you to the back of the queue.” What he thinks is probably his all-time favourite quote, however, is even simpler: “It was from Louise Heinrich, and she simply said, ‘don’t freak out’. “That should be on a poster: it can be too easy as a freelancer to let things get ahead of you – especially when dealing with cash flow or when people ask you to do things you feel are a bit beyond you. When that happens, you just need to think: ‘don’t freak out’.”

THE VLOGGING LIFE Another way Steve connects with other freelancers is through his vlog. “Although one major benefit of the vlog is that it allows me to advertise my video skills without showing the corporately sensitive work I do for clients, that wasn’t the main reason I set it up. “The original idea was to accompany the podcast: so, whereas the podcast looks at everyone else’s life, the vlog documents my life. I film it every day, then edit it into weekly ten-minute episodes about what’s going on in my life. “I didn’t realise when I first started how it would benefit my life. You often hear of how we should all keep a journal because it means you think through your thoughts, your processes and what you’re grateful for. And if you don’t stop and do that, you’re not really thinking about it. “I’d always thought it sounded like airy fairy nonsense, but I actually get it now. By talking to the camera, I have to explain what I’m doing, and

if I come up against a problem, it helps me talk it through and solve it. “It’s really a video journal where I talk through everything that’s going on: what I’m grateful for, what I’m struggling with – the challenges and the buzzes – and they all come spewing out into the camera in a way I didn’t expect. “Then I get feedback from people who loved watching it because they’ve learned something or they’ve been through the same things and they don’t feel alone in that anymore.” BUILDING THE FREELANCE COMMUNITY Isolation has always been a problem for freelancers, but more and more people like Steve are working to combat this and build a real community for freelancers – both virtually and locally. He says: “I’m definitely not the only freelancer doing this – there are a lot of freelancers now making videos or writing blog posts about their experiences, or even just chatting on Twitter. “By engaging with these things, people start December 2017

to realise ‘oh my God, I’m not alone. It’s not just me going through this: people from all around the world are going through the same thing.’ And if they all come together and help each other it’s much better. That might be by sharing experiences online, getting along to meetups or even founding

co-working spaces. “I’ve personally started trying to meet up with local freelancers for lunch. And it’s even easier finding them if you live in a big city. I really want to start a meetup too, and get my own co-working space going locally. “It’s so important for us to face and tackle the challenges of freelancing together. We’re at our best when we’re open-source freelancers, laying out our thoughts and experiences and learning from each other.” Watch Steve’s vlog and listen his podcasts at 13


Imogen Farhan

Prof Maria Savona

Gillian Keegan & Abigail Hunt

Women in the gig economy – is the UK taking a backwards step?


eing in the 21st century, you’d think the age-old debate about women in the workplace would be something well and truly of the past. But with the rise of the gig economy, and women working in this sector opting for stereotypical roles in the labour market, is the UK taking a step back? Every month, the Women and Work All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), meet with parliamentarians, businesses and stakeholders to discuss key issues about women in work. The group, chaired by Labour MP Jessica Phillips and Conservative MP Gillian Keegan, has been focusing this year on why there is still a gender disparity in pay and skills. The latest APPG meetings, led by Keegan, discussed women in the gig economy and whether schools should be doing more to promote female entrepreneurship. There are currently 4.85 million self-employed people in the UK and over a third of that population are women. And according to the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce), 1.1 million of all self-employed are working in the gig economy. Working in the gig economy has proven to be attractive for many women, particularly working mothers, who benefit from the flexible hours and independence. In fact, the 14

By Jyoti Rambhai number of mothers working as freelancers has increased by 79 per cent between 2008 and 2016. While this way of work seems to be becoming more and more popular, it still poses many of the gendered challenges of the wider labour market. The biggest being women choosing to go for stereotypical roles such as domestic and care work. IPSE’s politics and external affairs assistant, Imogen Farhan, who spoke at the meeting on the gig economy, highlighted that the rise in female self-employment has “primarily been driven by choice”. She said: “Choice is typically a good thing and these digital platforms have provided an alternative to the traditional 9-5. “Currently, 93 per cent of women say it is hard to combine a successful career with caring responsibilities. The gig economy offers opportunities to make this more manageable. “This is because the gig economy facilitates flexibility unparalleled in the traditional workplace. Freelancers can choose when, where and who they work for, enabling people to take greater control of their work/ life balance.” With one in seven freelancers now working mums, Imogen went on to claim that many women still tend to “shoulder most of the parenting responsibilities”. She added: “As this sector grows, public policy needs to adapt to ensure self-em-

ployment remains a positive choice, striking the right balance between flexibility and fairness.” Imogen suggested three key areas for policy development to help self-employed working mums. The first is to introduce a statutory definition of self-employment in order to bring some much-needed clarity around employment status. The second is parental benefits; currently self-employed women are only eligible for maternity allowance rather than statutory maternity pay, meaning there is a six-week period where they do not receive 90 per cent of their earnings. And finally, to improve education and training for entrepreneurs, specifically tailored for women. Following the meeting, Keegan said: “Overall, The development of the modern gig economy has been positive, particularly for working mothers, who often go for roles with greater flexibility. “I think what is clear is that there is an opportunity for development in a positive way and if we do not take it, it could have a negative impact. “The gig economy platforms bring people together and there needs to be a discussion about rights, making some changes and recommendations. To do this, we first need to raise awareness.”

December 2017


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Budget 2017: The self-employed dodged a bullet this time – but they should have been given some help


crackdown on freelancing gigs. A slashed VAT threshold. Another assault on their national insurance contributions. A one off levy on home offices, and a special tax on cheap packets of pencils from Poundland. Okay, I made those last two up. But all the others were measures that were seriously rumoured in the weeks leading up to this year’s Budget speech from the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond. As it turned out the speculation may have seemed wide of the mark, but these things were being considered. It was the extensive lobbying that got them dropped or at least delayed for another year. In that sense, Britain’s growing army of self-employed could breath a sigh of relief. They December 2017

By Matthew Lynn dodged a bullet, and that is always something to be grateful for. But it was also a missed opportunity. Self-employment is one sector of the British economy that is genuinely booming. A Budget to actually help people who work for themselves is long overdue. Maybe one day we will get one – but it didn’t happen this year. In the weeks leading up to the Budget, there were plenty of reasons for the self-employed to feel nervous. They have been under attack by the Treasury for the last few years. First there was a radical overhaul of the way dividends are taxed, designed mainly to collect more from the personal service companies set up

by many people who work for themselves. Then there was a bungled attempt to raise their National Insurance Contributions. This time around, there were reports of a crack down on freelancing, extending rules already introduced in the public sector to the private; another attack on NI; and perhaps worst of all, a potential reduction in the VAT threshold to around £20,000 a year. A move that would sweep millions into the tax system, and potentially put many of them out of business. In the end, none of those actually happened. It was a quiet Budget for the self-employed, with a mere review of IR35 freelancing rules announced, and with the VAT threshold frozen for two years. 17


The Chancellor was, quite rightly, more concerned with trying to fix a dysfunctional housing market, and preparing the economy for leaving the EU, than with yet another round of rules changes for people who work for themselves. That would have been a relief. No change is good news when the changes only ever seem to be for the worse. And yet, when you pause to think about it, it is crazy that the self-employed should be grateful not to be mugged in the Budget. This is, after all, one of

the most dynamic and fast-growing sectors of the economy. Just take a look at some of the numbers. There are now 4.85 million self-employed people in the UK, an increase of 148,000 in the latest quarter. That is 15.1 per cent of the labour force, and closing in fast on the numbers who work in public sector. Without them, the overall employment levels would not be nearly as good. Sure, some of them are doing low-paid, insecure work – but there is plenty of low-paid insecure ‘employment’ out there as well. Many more of them are high-earning, skilled professionals who have decided they prefer the flexibility and independence of working for 18

themselves. After all, there are lots of jobs out there right now – 148,000 people would not have decided to go freelance in the last quarter unless it was a good deal. The Budget, like most speeches from the Chancellor, included specific help for certain sectors. Self-driving cars got a boost. So did knowledge-based start-ups through an extension of the Enterprise Investment Scheme. Why shouldn’t the government design a raft of policies to help the self-employed and included that in the Budget as well? What would that look like? For starters, instead of lowering the VAT threshold, why not make it higher. After all, £83,000 is hardly a fortune these days. It is a disincentive from expanding. Most self-employed people would probably rather earn £75,000 in a year and save themselves the nightmare of quarterly VAT forms than make £90,0000 and have to register. Worse, it makes their services more expensive because they have to add the tax on top. There isn’t any other sector where there is an effective cap on businesses expanding. Why not introduce a self-employed threshold of £100,000 or even £150,000, but make it applicable only to self-employed individuals rather than companies? That would help a lot of people expand their workload. Next, why not let them hire one assistant without having to pay their National Insurance? One problem for the self-employed is that they work too hard. On average they do 38 hours a week, compared with 36 hours for employees. Of that, 13 per cent put in more than 60 hours a week, compared to only three per cent of employees. We all know the reason. They need to do the job itself, and keep on top of all the paperwork that goes with it. If they hire just one person, then they

get into the nightmare of employment legislation, and National Insurance – and that makes VAT look simple. How about letting them take on one person, with no NI to pay? It would free up their time, allow them to take on more work, and create a lot of jobs at the same time. That sounds like a pretty good outcome. Finally, how about ripping up some red tape? Cut back on the amount of paperwork they have to do, and simplify their tax returns. Just because someone is a good freelance web designer, it does not mean they are good at keeping their tax returns – so why hold them to the same standard as a company with an accounts office. If self-employment rises this quickly with zero help, then think how much faster it might rise if the sector got a few extra breaks? The Budget, for once, didn’t include any specific attacks on the self-employed. But it didn’t include any help either. That is a missed opportunity, because people who work for themselves are now a key part of the economy.

Matthew Lynn Financial columnist

What freelancers thought...


It is definitely a good thing. Rolling out those IR35 changes into the private sector would have made it unworkable. It’s common sense. Having worked in both the public and private sectors as a contractor, I know they are inherently different animals. Freelancers and contractors in the private sector are so varied right across the board and also have a different attitude to those who work in the public sector. This review and consultation that the government mentioned on the IR35 changes should be public and transparent’. CAROLINE GILES, 55, SUFFOLK MARKETING AND COMMERCIAL CONSULTANT


I had a sense of relief when the Budget did not enforce IR35 in the private sector. But it is only a reprieve, it will only give us 18 months until the next probable implementation date at best. Closing down my business if the measures were applied was a probability. The cost would have affected my ability to build a cash buffer that keeps me going when out of contract. Prior to the budget I had meetings with my MP who was surprisingly understanding and supportive. He wrote a very accurate letter to the Chancellor. IR35 is still there, the consultation is very welcome. I hope they have the ability to understand and report on the whole picture and not concentrate on Income Tax. Does the Treasury doubt the word of the HMRC after the missing minutes fiasco, and so has given the task to a third party? MARK HURRELL, 54, SOMERSET SOFTWARE TEST ENGINEER

December 2017



The end of working 9 to 5? Nearly 90 per cent of 18-26 year-olds see working in the gig economy as a long-term career By Jyoti Rambhai


he gig economy continues to bloom as nearly 90 per cent of 18-26-year-olds see it as a viable career path in the long-term, according to a new study. Research by Adecco Group and LinkedIn has found that more skilled professionals are rejecting regular nine to five jobs in favour of the flexible work lifestyle offered by the gig economy. The study, Flexible Working: a career and lifestyle pathway, has found evidence to support the theory that the UK is entering a new economic era in which flexible working is becoming an attractive part of the status quo, rather than a stopgap solution. In fact, the research revealed that around 82 per cent of 18-26-year-olds in the gig economy aspired to be an independent professional, and 89 per cent see it as a long-term career path. 20

Not only has the freelance job market changed compared to three years ago, the perception of freelancing as a career has become more positive. This latest revelation by Upwork could explain the rising attraction of the gig economy among youngsters. This is exacerbated further by the increase in the number of online platforms available for independent professionals, with 71 per cent saying this is where they get their clients and obtain work from. There are currently 15 million contractors altogether across Europe and the UK. Adecco Group and LinkedIn also found that 54 per cent of these freelancers had chosen to work flexible hours in order to have a better work/life balance. Only 36 per cent regarded it as something to do between permanent roles.

According to LinkedIn data, most of those forging careers within the gig economy are highly-skilled professionals. And 91 per cent of those that use the social network are in the mid to late stages of their careers. Alain Dehaze, Adecco Group’s CEO, said: “Flexible working offers a huge and exciting opportunity for everyone in a rapidly changing world of work. The emerging gig economy has the potential to grow to three times the size of the temporary staffing market. “However, much more has to be done at policy level to support independent workers, from fairer legislation and social benefits to providing better training. “Flexible workers are shaping the future of work. It is time to dispel the myths, remove the barriers and help them get there.”

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Being self-employed has always carried a higher risk, but with the current volatile climate, your finances are more important than ever. My Money has been designed to help you navigate all aspects of your finances as a freelancer, from managing your business to saving for later life. Visit to read our first edition.

December 2017



Pensions, sick pay, mortgages… IPSE hits the road to give self-employed financial advice on planning for the future


ensions, sick pay and setting aside money for a rainy day are not things many self-employed people consider, especially when they are starting out. And as so many find out later on – neglecting them proves to be a mistake. Sound financial planning is actually more important for freelancers and the self-employed than any other sector of the workforce. Not only do they have to manage all their own taxes and business costs – they also have to build that all-important savings buffer to tide them through the vagaries and fluctuations of the freelance lifestyle. And as if that wasn’t enough, they have to plan their own pensions and savings for later life too. In a bid to raise awareness about the importance of financial planning, IPSE hit the road for a series of Money Roadshow events across the UK. The events, in Edinburgh, Manchester and London, gave self-employed people the chance to speak to, and get advice from, financial experts on a host of topics – from saving for later life to getting a mortgage as a self-employed person. One of the main features of the events was the chance for freelancers, contractors, consultants and anyone considering becoming self-employed to book 30-minute, one-to-one slots with experts from IPSE’s partner organisations. This Included HSBC, Close Brothers Asset Management, CMME who provide mortgages for independent professionals and Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance, IPSE’s partners gave advice about a huge range of freelance finance subjects. Then to round off the UK-wide roadshow, there was an evening reception in London, with talks from leading financial experts from IPSE’s partners – on everything from managing money as a freelancer to getting paid faster for contracts. Not to mention drinks and plenty of opportunitiesW to network with like-minded self-employed people from across the UK. The London event also coincided with the launch of IPSE’s brand new finance magazine, My Money, which offers invaluable advice and insights into all aspects of freelance finance – as well as personal accounts from across the world of freelancing.


Caroline Morgan, IPSE board member: “There were a lot of topics touched upon today that were really useful and important for the self-employed – they are not necessarily the things you think about when you start your business. “My piece of advice to someone starting out would be to understand your responsibilities as a business, whether you are solo self-employed or a limited company, understand what you have to do.”

Alex Davis, part of Intuit Quickbooks’ business development team: “Most people are so busy either working on or in their business that they get very little time to reflect and network with other people. Events like this give people the time to step away for a moment and this is incredibly important. “I would say to people just starting out: be very clear on the reason and purpose of why you are going into business and don’t lose sight of that.”

...have you thought about it?

Martin Benedicto, chartered financial planner at Close Brothers: “The self-employed market is key to the UK economy and those in it need a bit of extra help – help that employed people don’t necessarily need, like an accountant. “When you are self-employed you have so many other pressures on you, so it is vital to take some time out and look at what you can do to improve, and think about what’s the end aim? It is also important to think about the bigger picture – it is easy when

December 2017

you are starting out to be narrowly focused on your field of expertise, understandably. But you should also consider your personal financial wellbeing, as well as your business.”

Peter Baynham, IPSE board member: “When you start out as self-employed, you’re very much focused on delivering results for your clients. Things like keeping your books correctly, income protection and pensions often go without any thought. So, the one piece of advice I would give to someone starting out would be to get financial advice.”


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24 September 2017 39


Top tips for starting out as a freelancer


t’s easy to blow four hours of your time on Facebook when you haven’t got a boss breathing down your neck,” claims Jason Powell, chief executive at CMME, a specialist mortgage provider for independent professionals. Diving head-first into your career as a fulltime freelancer can be daunting, especially when you have been in employment for so long. Nisha Haq, IPSE’s Aspire Freelancer of the Year, recently took that plunge to become a fulltime freelance photographer. The 23-year-old met up with the CMME boss, who offered some advice about becoming a successful freelancer. Jason has been in business for more than 20 years and has held a number of C-level positions in the past 15 years. He spoke to Nisha about some of the lessons he learned from his experiences. One piece of advice Jason offered was the importance of establishing a routine. Nisha said: “As a freelancer I often spend a large amount of time working on my own, which can be isolating. Jason suggested that I should establish a routine for the morning, to help focus my mind and achieve my goals for the day and for the business. “Jason gets up at 5am every day, has a workout and breakfast with his family before he starts work and this all serves to prepare him for the day.” Nisha added: “We also discussed the importance of goal-setting and a yearly plan, and how I can get to that point. My main goal this year was to go full-time as a freelancer, which I have now achieved, but I wasn’t sure what my next step was. “Since meeting Jason and talking it through with him, I am now more focused. I plan to shoot at least 25 weddings, 10 commercial shoots, as well as launch my new boudoir photography service this year. “He also suggested I give myself sales targets and focus on some personal goals too so that I can establish a good work/life balance. I am also planning to set up a new home office and studio.” Jason, who has been with CMME since September last year, also advised Nisha on marketing and the best ways to reach new audiences. He suggested developing a “network of referrals” in the local area to help Nisha build up her reputation. December 2017

“He is confident that this will have a snowball effect on my business and said you cannot underestimate the importance of word of mouth testimonials,” Nisha said. “I had a wedding fair to attend just after my meeting with Jason and I felt much more confident going along to that, and came away with some strong leads to follow up.” Maintaining motivation and positivity on a

daily basis can often be a challenge for freelancers who work on their own. So, Jason suggested Nisha should keep a journal and write down key milestones she has achieved and the things that have made her “happy” since she began freelancing. Nisha was also advised to tune into the TED talk by Shawn Achor, which focuses on The happy secret to better work, which she says has been “very

insightful”. “Jason also recommended Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans book, which is about the habits and routines of ‘highly effective people’. And Simon Sinek’s Start with why, which looks at the importance of being clear about what you’re doing and why you are doing it,” added the Somerset-born photographer, who now lives in Southampton. After speaking to the CEO, Nisha said: “The time I spent with Jason was invaluable; I picked up some extremely useful tips.” Reflecting on his meeting with Nisha, Jason said: “I am not surprised that Nisha picked up IPSE’s Freelancer of the Year award in June. Having met her I am confident that she will be super successful.

“She is focused, motivated and tenacious and that combination of skills will help to get her where she wants to go. Meeting her made me realise it is easy to forget how big a deal it is to take the plunge and go freelance. “If I had one key piece of advice to share, it is the importance of creating structure when you haven’t got an employer providing it. Structure will provide a framework to help freelancers to achieve their goals and establish priorities.” *Michele is a PR Consultant for CMME – a specialist mortgage broker for independent professionals. Details:, 01273 475672 25


Schools, colleges and universities need to educate students about entrepreneurship By Tom Hayward and Jyoti Rambhai


lexibility, autonomy, improved work/ life balance and increased earnings – just some of the reasons why so many people are now working for themselves, and driving a revolution in the world of work. All are factors in creating a workforce who are overwhelmingly happier than their employed counterparts; so why, therefore, do so few educational institutions help advise, support and champion the next generation of budding entrepreneurs? Ben Fisher and Anthony Mellor are part of this generation who have shunned the traditional form of employment to pursue a passion and run their own business. Both, however, are doing so in the face of adversity having received little support at college or university, relying instead on their entrepreneurial acumen. “This is something that I feel quite passionately about; I don’t feel it is encouraged as much as it should be,” Fisher told IPSE. When I was at school and university, it was made very clear that if you are doing well enough, then you


should go to university – there wasn’t really any questioning of that.” After studying Applied Physics at the University of Portsmouth, Fisher worked full-time in executive recruitment in the tech sector, but always had aspirations to work for himself. Now the 23-year-old has developed, and is on the verge of releasing, the app ‘beu’ – a platform for consumers and hairdressers to make and manage appointments. With a family connection in the industry, Fisher spent time during his teenage years completing work experience with hairdressers. Throughout university he would regularly note down business ideas and had often toyed with the idea of making something. After four months working part-time in magazines and exhibitions within the hair and beauty industry, Fisher enlisted the help of some friends and began laying the foundations for ‘beu’. “I always had an inkling that I wanted to be self-employed,” says Fisher – who funded the venture with the help of an investor, along with savings from his previous work in recruitment. “But I felt there was too much pressure to go to university, get your degree and then get a job at a big company. And then, at university, it was a similar situation as well. “They seemed very concerned about the number of students that went straight into employment immediately after graduating. To me, there is too much pressure to conform

to what looks good on Ofsted reports or university rankings. “My cousin had gone to college after taking his GCSEs, and the first thing all the colleges and schools were saying was that 98 per cent of their students were going into further education. But they weren’t worried about what the students actually wanted to do and whether they wanted to do that.” Someone else who has broken the mould and now runs his own business is Mellor. Alongside a full-time job as a security officer at Heathrow Airport, the 19-year-old founded Absolute Fitness Apparel in 2016,a socially-aware and charity-conscious clothing brand with a mission to kit out young fitness enthusiasts with unique, stylish and distinctive activewear at an affordable price. Mellor had always wanted to start his own business, and did so in a field he is passionate about. In an ultra-saturated market, the fitness-orientated teenager had identified a niche by creating a catalogue of products at an affordable price, without letting the quality of his range suffer. Mellor, who has a range dedicated to Breast Cancer Research, is also striving to create a community-oriented brand with an emphasis on building strong personal, not just professional, relationships with his entire network, from models to manufacturers. Although Mellor is not yet 20, he has already made giant strides with Absolute Fitness Apparel. But his success is all his own making. “Generally, this entrepreneurial side of things is sort of breaking the mould,” said Mellor, who funds the entire business through his earnings from his job at Heathrow. “I don’t feel like there is a lot of support in terms of secondary schools and colleges for that at all. At school and college there certainly wasn’t enough information about setting up your own business. “At college, I was doing my A-levels and the December 2017

pressure the entire time was ‘you need to get your A-levels and go to university’ – I know a lot of people who have ended up dropping out of university. “And they have said that the only reason they went was because they felt like it was the next thing to do. In my college in particular, and a lot of other colleges I know, they don’t really mention being self-employed or owning your own business. “And even if you do something like business studies at A-level, I don’t think they prep you very well for it. The general consensus is that you leave school, get a higher education, get a job and you work in the job or career for ‘x’ amount of years. “As a young entrepreneur, there wasn’t really anyone helping me along the way. It would just be myself going onto Google, watching YouTube videos or looking wherever I could to try and find information. “There is enough information if you go out and look for it, but just as in business now, no-one is going spoon-feed you the information. You do need to do your own bit.” Fisher and Mellor are indicative of a wider trend – an unabated increase in the number of self-employed. Now numbering 4.85 million, they give the UK its competitive advantage: flexibility. And when you consider that they contribute £255 billion to the economy every year – enough to fund the NHS twice – and are generally the happiest people in our worforce, educational institutions really should be doing more to make self-employment attractive and attainable for our aspiring business owners. Suneeta Johal, head of research, education and training at IPSE, said: “Both Ben and Anthony are typical of a generation of school, college and university graduates who are motivated by pursuing their passion instead of structured employment. In creating their companies ‘beu’ and Absolute Fitness Apparel, they have shown the potential of young business owners in the UK. We want this country to be the best place in the world to start and grow a business. “We are partnered with eight fantastic universities who are doing brilliant things for self-employment. If all educational institutions followed suit and better prepared and supported their students to set up self-employed ventures, we could have so many more success stories.” 27


10 best practices to launch your own business from scratch By Yoav Schlezinger, community and social media manager, Wix


o you ever get the feeling that a decision you’re about to make can possibly change your life forever? Well, launching a new business definitely falls into that

category. Thanks to the digital era we live in, it’s much easier to do this. And here are the ten best practices to launch your new business adventure safely and successfully: 1. Ask yourself the right questions • Starting your own business is a wonderful decision, but you should make sure that it’s worth investing your time and your money. Ask yourself: • Are you passionate enough? You are going to spend many hours working on that special something, so you better enjoy it. • Have you nailed the technical aspect of it? Depending on what type of industry you choose, make sure that you have more than just the basics down. • Do you have the characteristics of an entrepreneur? Such as perseverance, a strong desire to take initiative, self-reliance, a strong urge to achieve, self-confidence and the ability to lead. • Do you have great communication skills? Running a business means a lot of networking,


negotiating and managing. • Are you prepared for failure? As much as we’re crossing our fingers here for you, it’s important that you brace yourself for it. 2. Write a business plan No matter what you plan on doing you should write a business plan. This will help you organize your ideas and set up a roadmap for the future by keeping these few essential elements in mind: • How large is the market you’re interested in and how is it expected to change? • Who are your competitors? • Customer analysis: who is your target audience? • Operational plan: what is your plan of action? Do you have a clear timeline? What are the milestones you wish to accomplish? Think in terms of years and quarters. • Financial projections: how much will you need to invest at first? How long till you’ll start earning a profit? Do you need investors? 3. Create a strong identity You need to make sure that you stand out at first glance. When creating your identity, you should plan the following:

• Logo – make sure it’s strong and clear. First, try designing your own logo to save some initial costs. • Colour – pick colours that resemble your market and can be identified and easy to relate to. • Typography – choose a clear, easy to read font. A simple yet stylish type will ensure you have a memorable brand. • Voice – all of your messaging should follow a coherent voice, tailored to your targeted audience. • Slogan – now is a good time to think of a killer one liner that best represents what you do or want to sell. 4. Get the paperwork done It’s important to get all the legal and formal paperwork done before you take your business out into the world. It can be a bit daunting, but we are living in a digital world, which means that you can access countless tutorials for permits, licenses or other bureaucratic processes. 5. Check your expenses Launching a business can be a quite an expensive journey, so to avoid going bankrupt after a few months, you should make sure to pay attention to these financial steps:

‘‘Make sure to plan meetings outside of your home, so you can get some fresh air’’

• Construct a spreadsheet to estimate the total dollar amount and percentage of your revenue that will need to be allocated towards raw materials and other costs. • Review your business periodically so you really know if there’s any need to cut expenses. • Renegotiate prices: don’t feel embarrassed to check out where you can get the best deal. Check your bills, compare prices and renegotiate with your service providers. 6. Master delegation They call it ‘small business’, but there is a lot to do to get your business on the road. It’s obvious that you can’t be everywhere at the same time, right? Delegating legal or accounting tasks can save you a great deal of time, energy and money. 7. Build a network Collaborating with others will help you expand your business, reach new customers and learn how to improve your working process. Some of the main points you should address are: • Let your users speak for you: it’s okay to politely hint to your customers for a positive review. Pleased customers serve as the best critics, as potential clients value real feedback from their

December 2017

fellow buyers, rather than flashy slogans. • Meet potential business partners by going to relevant events. Organizing your own event is also an option and will probably be a good idea if you’re trying to position your specialty as an active, leading force in your market. • Create an online network where you can connect with others from the same field as you and exchange ideas. 8. Organize your time & space It’s highly likely that you will use your home as your headquarters in the beginning, so you should try make it as professional as possible. Working in your pyjamas sounds like a dream come true. But, to be efficient even in a home environment, you should consider the following: • Create a strict schedule for yourself where you can imitate an office lifestyle. Make sure to plan meetings outside of your home, so you can get some fresh air. • Your sofa is the most comfortable space you have in your apartment, no doubt. But, you should create a more office-like space. If you don’t have space for a desk, get a fold-out table that you can use only when needed or go to a co-working space such as WeWork.

9. Go online Once you get all of the above done and settled, you should go ahead and put it on the map. There are a couple of online essentials you should take care of: • Create a website: we’ve heard of this really awesome company that provides you with free website templates , yes it’s us! You can easily choose a template that best suits your business. Take advantage of social media: create pages for your business on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other social channel that’s in line with your service. 10. Learn and adapt Learn from your mistakes and use them as opportunities. When launching a new business, you might take some wrong turns along the way – don’t worry, we’ve all been there. There’s a major learning curve in understanding when something isn’t working, admitting your mistake and thinking about how to improve it for the future. Try to be as objective as possible, open for criticism and lastly, don’t be ashamed to ask for help.



The introvert’s guide to networking Gemma Church gives a step by step guide to meeting new clients when putting yourself out there sends a shiver down your spine


ou enter a crowded room. Grab a coffee. Furtively glance around. Do a lap of the room. Mildly panic. Down your coffee (burning your mouth). Pop to the loo. And repeat. Sound familiar? I got stuck in that negative networking loop when I started work more than 15 years ago. For me, the thought of wandering into a room of strangers and striking up a conversation was, quite frankly, terrifying. I’m not particularly shy and (hopefully) not too awkward when I do meet new people, but I can find the whole process rather overwhelming. Apparently, this means I’m an introvert.

“Introverts often become the best networkers” Stefan Thomas, author of Business Networking for Dummies, explained: “Although an introvert is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a ‘shy, reticent person’ it is more than that. It is someone who finds large groups of people exhausting. Someone who often prefers their own company. “For these reasons, the frustrating and paradoxical outcome is that introverts often become the best networkers, and are most overwhelmed by the idea of networking. Rather than talking about themselves, an introvert will allow the other person to talk. This can be used to a massive advantage in networking.” A lot has changed for me in the last 15 years. I now work full-time as ‘the freelance writer who gets tech’ and I’ve upped my networking game to build my business. Networking is now less terrifying, and I would even admit to enjoying it. Here are some strategies that my fellow freelancers and I have adopted to overcome those jitters. 30

BUILD IT UP Practice networking in a safe and low-impact environment. Co-working spaces are great for this as the majority are focused on building communities. The Cambridge Business Lounge is one of the friendliest small spaces I’ve worked in. Also, London’s Huckletree spaces house vibrant communities of freelancers and start-ups, and they run some great in-house events. An event at a co-working space is a good networking opportunity. If you work in the space for the day, you’ll already know a few faces and have acclimatised to the environment. PREP Do you flounder when someone asks you what you do? Don’t overdo it, but come up with a few opening lines to describe you and your business ahead of an event. Also, prepare some open-ended questions that you can ask anyone you meet. For example; ask about their interest in the event and their work. You don’t need to worry about saying anything clever. Brad Burton, founder of UK business network 4Networking, said: “Everyone was nervous once. Including me. It’s a strange thing to do: walk into a room full of strangers and have to win them over. “So don’t. It’s just a conversation. Don’t look at it (initially at least) as anything more or less.” If a list of attendees and speakers is available, see if there’s anyone you know or want to connect with. Rachael Chiverton, who runs Cashflow College, said: “Most networking groups will have their ‘leadership’ or ‘organiser’ profiles online somewhere. “Connect with them before the meeting on Facebook, Twitter or by giving them a call. Explain it’s your first time and you can feel uncomfortable in new situations.” High-profile events usually incorporate Facebook, LinkedIn and maybe a Twitter hashtag so you can start connecting with other attendees before you arrive. You could even put your Twitter December 2017

handle on your name badge. ARRIVE EARLY AND RELAX It’s a lot more intimidating to walk into a room where everyone is already grouped off and chatting away. So, arrive early, introduce yourself to the PR team (who are a useful resource during an event) and find a suitable spot to stand. “Remember that all you need to do at the event itself is start the conversation. Set the bar low and don’t put yourself under pressure to make any sales on the day. Your only goal is that some new people know you and that you might take the relationship forward after the event,” Thomas said. It can also be helpful to have a networking buddy. Together, you can naturally draw others into your conversation, particularly if your associate is more extroverted or holds expertise that you don’t. TAKE SOME TIME OUT If your brain starts to buzz, find a quiet corner to gather your thoughts. Make some time in the diary to recover after an event too.

“There are two good outcomes from networking; either winning a client or creating an advocate.” Thomas added: “I am exhausted after events. These days I acknowledge that I need some private time, some time in my own head, as soon as possible afterwards.”

you can follow up personally, reminding the contact of the conversation. Use your natural curiosity to your advantage,” Thomas continued. Steven Timberlake, co-founder of sales management company SalesRadar, said: “Over the years, I’ve learnt there are two good outcomes from networking; either winning a client, or creating an advocate who is informed about your business and will happily recommend you. “The only way you can create advocates is by continuing a dialogue, doing your follow ups and building those solid long-term relationships.” PRACTICE Networking is a skill you need to hone. Richard Eaton, who has relied on networking to build his software business, Appware, said: “When I first started networking I was genuinely scared to death, and could hardly speak in the introductions part of the meeting as I was so nervous. “But by consistently showing up and doing this more and more, I got better at it, and the less of an issue it became.” FIND YOUR OWN WAY Effective networking is never forced. If you’re an introvert, play to your strengths and find the networking events that suit you – don’t try to be anyone else. Eaton added: “As someone with a technical rather than a sales background, I never use networking as an opportunity to launch into a sales pitch to people. I simply use it to get to know people, and try to help and educate them in my field. “Building these kinds of relationships rather than trying to sell to people in a meeting is far more powerful.” So, relax and be yourself, but maybe a little bit braver.

MAKE NOTES AND FOLLOW UP It’s easy to forget who you’ve met and the conversations you’ve had. “Make notes from any conversations so that 31


The Freelancer’s Guide to

Cologne How to run your own business from a city as vibrant as Berlin, without the price tag By Mark Williams


ermany’s fourth largest city has long been a hotspot for beer lovers searching for the perfect brew; young creatives looking for excitement; and talented freelancers seeking new horizons. Although it may lack the charm and intrigue of some destinations in western Europe, Cologne has gained a reputation as one of the country’s coolest and most forward-looking, liberal cities. It’s a reputation well deserved. A buzzing arts and music scene thrives among the city’s countless galleries, museums, theatres and concert halls, while the trendy Belgian quarter is home to scores of independent fashion boutiques and concept stores. Come nightfall, the traditional Brauhaus pubs are alive every day of the week with locals gathering to swill thin glasses of Kölsch; the city’s signature beer. There’s history to take in too. Dominated by the twin spires of its iconic, 157m tall gothic cathedral, the narrow, cobbled streets of the Old Town have, despite being near-obliterated and rebuilt during WWII, retained their architectural heritage. 32

LIFE AS A FREELANCER Job opportunities abound in North Rhein-Westphalia, the county of Cologne, Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Essen and many of the smaller cities, which together make up Germany’s economic and industrial powerhouse. It’s an area roughly the size of Wales, but with a population not far off Australia’s, and Frankfurt, the country’s financial hub, is just an hour away by high-speed ICE train. Some of the world’s biggest companies have invested serious money into Cologne, with many drawing on the talent and flexibility of the area’s highly-skilled contractor workforce. The automotive industry is particularly well represented here; Toyota, Volvo, Citroën, Mazda and Renault have all set up operations in and around the city. It’s also where you’ll find the HQs of Lufthansa, Germany’s flagship carrier, RTL, a major German TV network, and REWE Group, one of the country’s biggest supermarket chains. With the city’s ever-growing freelancing scene comes a wealth of co-working spaces catering to

every taste and working style. Some of the best can be found in Ehrenfeld, Cologne’s trendiest district and a base for hundreds of micro businesses in the creative and arts industries. Jaco Beydermüller runs his film production business from Ehrenspace, a former artists’ studio turned workhub on Venloer Strasse. “Almost everybody is self-employed in coworking spaces here,” he said. “We work in all kinds of industries at Ehrenspace; there are app developers, PR and marketing consultants, an e-bike designer and more – it’s a real community. “That’s why we moved our office here; it feels like one big living room.” [It looks like one too – there are big sofas, a dartboard, a table tennis table and a fridge full of beer] Lena Hauschild, a freelance graphic designer, claims more German businesses are taking on freelancers than ever before. She said: “People are really opening up to flexible working. Cologne’s a great place to do it – you can find small one-off jobs or long-term projects. “There are lots of online communities for local freelancers to get together, and we often work

Ehrenspace, a former artists’ studio turned workhub in Venloer Strasse.

together in cafes and coffee shops.” While there are big rewards on offer for freelancers prepared to brave the German bureaucratic system, it’s important to remember that this is a country with a penchant for making things complicated. The high standards of English in North Rhine-Westphalia mean fluent German isn’t a must for everyday exchanges – but you’ll need a native speaker on hand to help you set up shop. Tax rules differ depending on whether you’re self-employed or a freelancer, and the kind of property you live in makes a difference too. You’ll need to provide detailed information on your finances, your business and health insurances and so on. HOW TO GET THERE Cologne is well connected to the UK by air, with flights departing from Heathrow, Stansted, Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh. Köln Bonn Airport is hotly contested by Ryanair and Eurowings, which means one-way flights can be bagged for as a little as a tenner, and the December 2017

flight duration is a little over an hour. Taking the Eurostar is equally feasible; the journey time from St Pancras is around four and a half hours with just one change in Brussels. Fares begin at around £60.

siderably more affordable than Berlin, Hamburg or Munich. A one-bedroom flat in one of the city’s more desirable districts will typically cost between £550 and £800 per month, comparing to £800-£1200 for a two-bed.

WHERE TO STAY If you’re visiting for a short-term project, there are accommodation options to suit every taste and budget. A studio apartment near the city centre will set you back around £50 per night booked through Airbnb, and mid-range hotels are similarly priced. Hotel Domstern, located just around the corner from Hauptbahnhof (the main train station), offers great value; the price for a double room starts at £60, with a generous breakfast included. Or if you’re pushing the boat out, opt for the Hyatt Regency on the opposite bank of the river; you’ll get five-star luxury and unparalleled views of the cathedral and Old Town across the water. Expect to pay around £160 for a double room. Freelancers looking to make the move for good will be pleased to find that Cologne is con-

WHAT TO DO AT THE WEEKEND There’s green space aplenty within the city boundaries, with a vast expanse of parkland stretching in a ring around the centre. Perhaps the best for a Saturday stroll is Rheinpark, which encompasses 40 hectares of picture-perfect views over the river, a cable car, and a thermal spa. The city also boasts some of the best shopping in the country with hundreds of international and luxury brands residing around Hohe Straße and Schildergasse. Later in the day, Cologne won’t disappoint those ready to let their hair down. There are more than 3,300 restaurants, pubs and bars, with live music to be found every day of the week and a vibrant club scene from Wednesdays to Sundays. 33


With one eye on the future Benedict Smith, founder of Levo London, sheds light on ways to secure your financial future as a freelancer.


or freelancers, phase one of self-employment is all about survival. Winning enough work to pay the bills is ultimately the priority, particularly for the growing army of young freelancers who have limited capital, if any, and simply must hit the ground running. Phase two is a little different. With business starting to tick over, you might find yourself in a position to think about your longer-term financial security. The fear of running out of work will forever drive us on in the hunt for new clients, but inevitably our priorities evolve as our business matures. We start to think ahead. Without employment benefits like holiday or sick pay, paid maternity or paternity leave, or employer pension contributions, as freelancers, we have lot to plan and pay for. This isn’t a career choice for the faint-hearted, that’s for sure. But the stats suggest the vast majority of us have no interest in going back into employment. For the record, I place myself firmly in that camp too. With that in mind, the responsibility for focusing on things other than the day-to-day realities of being in business rests squarely on our own shoulders. It is vital that we make ourselves focus on these things if we plan to stay independent. And what’s more, if you want to experience any sense of financial security, you must identify what you need to prioritise. But how? It’s not rocket science, but it does require a bit of discipline, perhaps even self-restraint occasionally. SAVE – IT’S (JUST ABOUT) POSSIBLE So, business is going well, and you’ve got a spare bit of cash. Time for a new car, a Rolex if you must, or perhaps it’s time to save some money – not particularly exciting advice I’ll admit, but sensible nonetheless. If you’re the free-spending frivolous type, easy-access savings accounts are dangerous. You’ll


do better to lock your money away in a fixed-rate savings account for the long term. The new Lifetime ISA is definitely worth considering too. It allows you to save up to £4,000 a year until you reach 50, and it’s helped by an annual government top up of £1,000. A quick trip to Money Saving Expert will also give you a simple breakdown of the best ISA and savings accounts depending on your plans. Despite the Bank of England raising interest rates for the first time in 10 years this month, they still sit at just 0.5 per cent. Many current accounts have higher interest rates than some savings accounts, so if you can keep yourself from temptation, opening a current account might be the sensible option. YOU’RE NEVER TOO YOUNG TO SAVE INTO A PENSION New research indicates that nearly three million self-employed people in the UK are not saving into their own pension pot. We’re all entitled to a state pension of £159.55 a week, but for the vast majority of us, that simply isn’t going to be enough when we’re finally able to retire. Assuming you were once employed, the moment you took that brave leap into freelancing, your employer pension contributions stopped – which is why you might want to set up a personal pension scheme once you’ve found your feet. If you don’t know where to start you’re not alone. It can be confusing. The good people of IPSE offer a pension scheme with Aegon, which allows you to save flexibly at a charge of 0.43 per cent – which is less than you’d pay individually. INVEST IN PROPERTY Supposing you’re in a position to buy your first property, or perhaps even second, my advice would be to do it. But as a 27-year-old renting in London I suppose I would say that, wouldn’t I? I’m not alone though. Research from the Pensions Policy Institute has highlighted that 53

per cent of self-employed people believe property is the way forward. They view it as the safest and most profitable way to make the most of their money. Interestingly, just 28 per cent see pensions as the best option, while seven per cent, only a fraction of freelancers, believe the largest part of their retirement income will come from business interests they’ve built up over the years. Buying property has never been straightforward for freelancers. Despite the fact that on average, we’re able to earn more than employees, we’re still considered a greater risk when it comes to securing a mortgage. But the tide is changing, and lenders have had no choice but to take into account the rapid rise in self-employment. Talk to the growing number of specialist mortgage companies like CMME: they understand what it is to be self-employed, and offer tailor-made mortgages. GET INSURANCE As an independent professional, you need to protect yourself with insurance. Staple freelancer insurance includes professional indemnity insurance, which will cover you if you’re alleged to have caused a client to lose out financially. Public and employers’ liability insurance will protect you when an individual, a business or an employee takes action against you, because of injury, death or damage to property. From IR35 insurance to jury service compensation and even illness, injury and life assurance, there are plenty of ways to give you and your family a little peace of mind and financial security as you grow. The sooner freelancers start planning, the sooner they can have confidence in their futures. As our way of working continues to grow, the government might finally look to make our lives easier. But until then, my advice is to take control and do it yourself.

Uber seeks to appeal employment tribunal decision


ber is seeking to take an employment tribunal case all the way to the Supreme Court after the Employment Appeal Tribunal tossed out its appeal over the decision to grant drivers worker status. Last year, James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam won an employment tribunal case after arguing they should be classed as workers with minimum-wage rights, rather than self-employed. Uber challenged the ruling and warned that this could limit the flexibility enjoyed by many of their partner-drivers. But on 10 November the appeal tribunal ruled against the taxi giant. At the time, Judge Jennifer Eady QC, who rejected Uber’s arguments, said drivers were in fact “incorporated into the Uber business” and the firm did not act as the “drivers’ agent”. She added that therefore Uber should grant drivers workers’ rights such as holiday entitlement, sick pay and rest breaks. A spokesperson for Uber has confirmed it will be appealing the decision. They said: “We have requested permission to appeal directly to the Supreme Court in order that this case be resolved sooner rather than later.” In response to the decision by the employment tribunal, IPSE’s CEO Chris Bryce, said: “A key element of being a worker is having to turn up for work even if you don’t want to. This is clearly not the case with people who drive through Uber: they choose when and how long they work for by logging on and off the app. “The growing number of employment tribunals linked to the gig economy shows there is a fundamental lack of clarity over what it means to work on your own behalf. The government seriously needs to consider introducing a statutory definition of self-employment. That would bring greater clarity and reduce the need for further tribunals.”

December 2017



Co-working & Coffee

The Brew, London By Tom Hayward


y nature, co-working spaces breed friendly and community-oriented atmospheres, but with a giant mural depicting members – new and old – adorning its walls, few do so in a more inclusive way than The Brew. Situated in the heart of London’s bustling ‘Silicon Roundabout’, The Brew’s Eagle House location is a co-working space come “Coffice”, catering for permanent members and hot-deskers in their self-styled “ecosystem”. With the ranks of self-employed people in the UK undergoing an exponential boom and now numbering nearly five million, the market for co-working spaces is ultra-competitive. “What’s the difference with us though? We give a s**t – you’re not just a number to us,” founder Andrew Clough tells IPSE. The welcoming face in The Brew’s Eagle House location is the “Coffice”, a cafe that moonlights as a chic wine bar run by husband and wife, Jonathan Dupont and Anne Roque. Roque – a member at another location – and her husband had long harboured dreams of opening a wine bar, which coincided with The Brew’s plans to open a cafe. Downstairs, meanwhile, is an open-plan, art deco-inspired co-working space housing some of London’s most exciting start-ups; from designers to developers, architects to engineers. “We’re not prescriptive; if you’re out there on your own, running your own thing and you’ve got the right attitude, then you’re a big part of our ecosystem,” Clough continues. “That’s the whole co-working ethos: community. That community aspect you really need to work at. “We’re a service provider. Our role is to provide great collective workspaces – somewhere you can come in, sit down, and get on. “But then there’s all the wraparound with the events we run. We do talks, seminars, drinks, elevenses, posh breakfasts – and that part of it is to create an environment where people feel part of something. “As long as we deliver on our core – which is a 36

creative workspace that works for everyone, all the time – we are doing well.” Simplicity, practicality and affordability are central to everything at The Brew, Eagle House – the largest of four venues in an exciting and expanding portfolio. The site, inspired by venues in Berlin and other European cities, is a spacious, open-plan and visually stimulating environment which was designed to promote collaboration, communication and company. Eye-catching graffiti clads the walls, bicycles and plants fill the room and an emphasis is placed on sourcing everything – from light fittings to desks – locally. The Brew boasts the fastest wi-fi of any cafe in Tech City, whilst membership – whether full-time or part-time – is some of the most cost-effective and flexible in London. “All the way through my business career, I never had my own office. I always shared offices, up until my publishing company got too big. I built

this space in the image of what I would like as an entrepreneur,” Clough, who founded The Brew after he sold his publishing company, adds. “Our five-year plan is to open 14 or 15 centres in London and other regions. We want to build a network that means people can journey between Manchester or Glasgow or wherever they are, and use our facilities there. When we get to the end of five years, we’ll sit down and decide what’s next. “This happened out of necessity, but I just really enjoy it. I know what it’s like to run a business. We try to be as reactive as possible and hopefully we can keep that going, and help that grow and drive our business ethos. “As you expand, it’s about how you keep your core principles. We want to help small businesses and create an environment where people feel comfortable and at ease. I think we’ve got a good product, we understand, and we deliver a great service.” For more info visit


Is your contract IR35 approved? IPSE Contract Review We are offering our members a special offer on our online Contract Review Service. Each thorough review is conducted by independent legal and tax experts ensuring you are IR35 compliant. You will receive: A definitive IR35 pass or fail Recommendations Public Sector assurance for government departments

Standard ÂŁ145 + VAT (member rate) 5 working days


ÂŁ340 + VAT (member rate) 24 hours*

Visit upload your contract and send it to our experts for their seal of approval and your peace of mind. December 2017 * Excluding contracts received on Friday which will be returned on the following Monday.



Forward Ladies Power Breakfast events Forward Ladies is the UK’s largest business support network for women in business. Join their Power Breakfast Club events to meet like-minded business women in your region. Mix and mingle, discuss ideas and create those all important new connections in an informal setting, whilst enjoying a light breakfast - all in the heart of the city.

London Tuesday 12 December, 09.30 – 11.30 Venue – HSBC Relationship Management Centre, 35 Park Lane, Mayfair, London, W1K 1RB Leeds Thursday 14 December, 09.30 – 11.30 Venue – Brasserie Blanc, Victoria Mill, Sovereign Street, Leeds, LS1 4BJ

IPSE policy conference IPSE will host its second Policy Conference next year. Following the huge success of the inaugural event in 2016, the conference will be packed with speakers and sessions bringing self-employment to the forefront of the policy discussion. Venue: 1 George Street, London Date: 25 April 2018

Contractor Workshops with Brookson One Accountants Are you new to contracting or do you want to know the benefits of setting up a Limited Company?

Specialist contractor accountants, Brookson One, are running a free workshop for contractors looking to gain a better understanding of their working options. Please note you don’t have to be a Brookson One customer to attend. Each event will cover a range of key topics, followed by a Q&A allowing you to ask any questions to our industry experts.

Liverpool Tuesday 12 December, 18.00 – 20.00 Venue – Liverpool John Lennon Airport Crown Plaza, L24 8QD Warrington Thursday 14 December, 18.00 – 20.00 Venue - Warrington Village Hotel, WA1 1QA

National Freelancers Day

Thursday 28 June, 10.00 – 17.00 Join IPSE at Kings Place, London for our annual flagship event National Freelancers Day. For the 10th year running we will be celebrating the very best of the UK’s most exciting, driven and enterprising self-employed.

The day will include seminars, workshops, panel sessions, exhibition stands, networking and more. To register your interest to join please fill out our online registration form and we will be in touch very soon with details on the speaker line up, sessions and how to confirm booking.

London Thursday 28 June, 10.00 – 17.00 Venue – Kings Place, 90 York Way, Kings Cross, London N1 9AG

To secure your seat or to find out more about all of our events, visit 38

IPSE helping you plan for your future Save for your retirement with IPSE pension partner Aegon. Why use the IPSE Pension offer: Benefit from the special negotiated group rate of 0.43%* Investment made easy with Aegon’s Retiready platform Access a range of retirement saving options, including ISA’s Find out more: Or call Aegon on 0345 680 1234 quote IPSE Pension December 2017 *Rate applies to standard package, rate may vary depending on contribution level and account settings


National Freelancers Day 2018 Thursday 28 June SAVE THE DATE REGISTER YOUR INTEREST 40

Ipse magazine issue 64  

Find out what the budget means for you and your business, check out the feature on our cover star Steve Folland, host of the Being Freelance...

Ipse magazine issue 64  

Find out what the budget means for you and your business, check out the feature on our cover star Steve Folland, host of the Being Freelance...