Freelancers / Contractors / Independent Professionals / Self-Employed
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ISSUE 4 ÂŁ3.95
Flight of fancy
Can the self-employed really take a holiday? July / August 2018
firstname.lastname@example.org MEDIA CONSULTANT Jim Cassidy
Tristan Grove Tom Hayward Tom Purvis Kayte Jenkins Chris Piggott-McKellar
CONTRIBUTORS Rose Parkin Alex Masse Benedict Smith
Nisha Haq Photography Holly Cant Photography
IPSE, Heron House, 10 Dean Farrar Street, London, SW1H 0DX
It’s a double celebration this month with the announcement of the NFD2018 winners and a
warm welcome to IPSE’s new chair. See pages 4 & 7 for both articles.
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TAF Awards RT L I S T
“Congratulations on making the final three for the award. Hopefully next year we can bring the trophy home.” Chris Bryce
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C I AT I O
Contents INTERVIEW Freelancer of the Year, Iona Bain
INTERVIEW A chair of the times, Caroline Morgan
RESEARCH Professor Martin Binder, the happy economist
EVENTS NFD2018 winners and review
BUSINESS AND FINANCE Author and freelance advocate Emma Gannon talks about her latest book
NEWS Escaping the blanket approach of IR35
INTERVIEW Jonny Freeman on the future of work
FROM THE LOBBY Small businesses in the age of Brexit
LIFESTYLE Freelancers guide to Glasgow
LIFESTYLE Co-working in Coventry
LIFESTYLE Freelance holidays
BUSINESS AND FINANCE Turning your hobby into a side business
BUSINESS AND FINANCE Ask the expert
LIFESTYLE RECIPE: Miso soup
EVENTS See all the latest events and seminars
Emma Gannon, author of the The Multi-hyphen Method, talks about having more than one string to your bow when it comes to your career.
Women making their mark in freelancing A word from the editor
e have a very special cover this edition. Two women. Both freelancers. Both at the top of their game. With research showing women are more likely than men to embark upon a freelancer career, we sit down with two women making waves in self-employment. Experienced freelance business ana-
July / August 2018
lyst and mother of three Caroline Morgan has taken the helm of the UKâ€™s largest trade body representing the self-employed. We also speak to newly-crowned Freelancer of the Year Award Iona Bain, about fighting the good fight. In keeping with the celebratory theme, I would also like to take the time to thank our readers. 2018 has been a big year for us, we completely rebranded the look and feel of this mag-
azine, to help better share your stories. You have been on this journey with us and I am now glad to announce that we were shortlisted for the Trade Association Forum Magazine of the Year Award. Jyoti Rambhai EDITOR
Financial guidance Making the complex Simple.
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Fighting for change Modern Work reporter Tom Hayward sat down to talk piggybanks, gigging and breaking the status quo with IPSE’s 2018 Freelancer of the Year, Iona Bain.
here is a famous story about Muhammad Ali in which, in his native Kentucky in 1954, an opportunist thief stole the-then 12-yearold’s bicycle to unwittingly set in motion one of the greatest careers in sporting history. And so, when in 2011 a thief stole a piggybank belonging to Iona Bain, they too inadvertently sparked the chain of events which ended with the Edinburgh-born financial journalist being crowned IPSE’s 2018 Freelancer of the Year. “After graduating, I was in Glasgow trying to earn a living as a musician. It was very tough because being a musician is a very uncertain existence. I was having to find gigs here, there and everywhere and I’d put all the money I’d earn from these gigs in a piggybank in my bedroom,” Iona tells me. “At the time, I thought I was being very astute because I wouldn’t spend it immediately and could instead save it up and spend it on something sensible in the future. There was quite a lot of money in there – about £500. “But returning from a gig one night, I found my room had been completely ransacked and the piggybank had been burgled. In that mo-
July / August 2018
ment, I thought: ‘I’m going to need a better saving strategy than this!’” It wasn’t an immediate epiphany where her exact career trajectory was laid out before her, but more the sowing of a seed that took a few months to sprout, and then a few more to flourish. Iona, a creatively-thinking right-brain person, who by her own admission had never seen eye-to-eye with maths, instead used a music degree from Oxford to pursue of a career in music journalism. But as Iona now happily attests, the only thing harder than a career as a musician is a career as a music journalist. After a few months of wondering whether she would ever be financially independent and a few candid conversations with her parents, Iona – at first reluctantly – channelled her penchant for writing down a new avenue: finances. “There were so many negative media reports about the prospects for my generation and I just didn’t know what my future was going to be like,” Iona continues. “I spoke to my parents, who are very wise, and they told me I had an opportunity to do something different. Why don’t I write about money? Once I realised there was nobody else writing about financial issues for our generation – 5
“Freelancers can suffer from a confidence deficit, partly because we have to motivate ourselves and tell ourselves that we’re worth it.”
and certainly not in a down-to-earth, accessible way – I thought I could do that.” The Young Money Blog was born. “I hoped that within a few months I might get some work writing for other websites. It was just something to help me, and I hoped it would help a few other people too. “I soon accepted a job in London and kept the blog going on the side, but on a bit of a low-burner because I didn’t realise the full potential of it. I found it immensely satisfying to write the blogs in my own style and think about what a young person would want to read about when it comes to money. I kept it going almost for my own pleasure.” As Iona’s niche in an incredibly saturated industry started to manifest itself, her stock slowly started to grow, and she was rewarded with freelance work with The Times and the Financial Adviser – a highly respected subsidiary of the Financial Times. There, she began to learn more about not just the industry, but how to develop her skills as a specialist reporter and financial authority. As the ‘young money’ agenda began to grow, the Young Money Blog took on a new life. “I was getting contacted by broadcasters, publishers, advisers, financial companies, all wanting to hear my views on young people’s financial problems. I started understanding there was a gap in the market that nobody else was filling and in the absence of anyone else, they were coming to me. “That was when I started to realise that I didn’t need to aspire to have a conventional career. Perhaps I could make my blog into a career in a way I enjoy, to suit me and on my terms. I now receive so many really interesting opportunities. I think the turning point was a few years ago when I did some work at The Times and realised I could really pursue it. I’ve not looked back since.” Riding that wave, Iona has since carved out a trailblazing career in the industry, breaking the status quo to become the authoritative source of financial guidance for the so-called ‘Generation Y’. Her list of freelance credits includes the Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Independent, Mirror Money and The Herald newspapers. July / August 2018
She regularly appears on ITV Tonight, BBC Radio, BBC Scotland, Channel 4 News, across local radio and in 2016 she published her first book: Spare Change. Until recently, she cited Spare Change as her most significant achievement but that has now been surpassed by a recent invitation to become the youngest ever governor of the prestigious Pensions Policy Institute (PPI). “The different areas I now work in all provide me with a different kind of satisfaction and it’s very hard to measure each one against each other,” Iona adds. “Until recently, the proudest moment in my career was publishing my book. But to be asked to be a governor of the PPI was a real indication of my worth because I’d said a lot of things about pensions on my blog which have not been
well received by the industry because they challenge the status quo. “The PPI was very cognizant that we needed to be having those difficult conversations and it all resulted from what I’d been doing on the blog. I never dreamed that seven years on it would become the cornerstone of my career and provide all these incredible opportunities. “I often get contacted by people who have never thought about money in any meaningful way before. Recently someone got in touch to say they were a creative person and had always thought that meant they had to be at odds with being money-savvy. Instead, I’d helped them realise that you can actually have a new and more enlightened identity by being ‘creatively good’ with money.
“I know that sounds quite abstract but that’s how I’ve always tried to view it – it’s not just about spreadsheets, budgeting and boring concepts. I think being good with money is also about being aware of the difficulties of life and how we’re all under pressure all the time to be constantly consuming. It is about understanding your own values, what you want to get out of life and using money as a means to an end. Her feedback meant a lot to me.” Iona credits her ‘wise’ parents as the influence behind her career, but their wisdom has very evidently rubbed off on her. She is mature beyond her 30 years and sees positive reflection as important to both motivate herself and reinforce her worth. It was this quest for reflection that brought her to IPSE’s Freelancer of the Year awards. “Freelancers can suffer from a confidence deficit, partly because we have to motivate ourselves and tell ourselves that we’re worth it. Putting forward my application was very easy because I had nothing to lose. “To actually set out my achievements felt like a really positive process in itself. Sometimes we don’t take enough time to reflect on our achievements. Entering the IPSE awards allowed me to do that and then obviously being shortlisted and winning is going to have an immeasurable effect on my career.” And with the dust settling on her crowning evening at National Freelancers Day, the ambitious Iona could be forgiven for a few moments of nostalgic reflection. On an evening seven years ago, when the wheels to her journey were set in motion. Ali was never reunited with the thief who stole his bicycle, but what would Iona say if afforded that opportunity? “I would tell them they did me an enormous favour – though it didn’t feel like it at the time,” she laughs. “Not only did it teach me a huge lesson in sound money management, it was a big reason why I decided, not long after, to start a blog to teach myself more about personal finance. And if I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It was clearly meant to be!” 7
A chair of our times Chris Piggott-McKellar speaks to mother of three and new IPSE chair, Caroline Morgan about why she chose self-employment
hen Caroline Morgan took on her first contract with an international airline in the late 1990s, it would have been impossible to anticipate the transformation of the self-employed movement she would one day come to represent. Back then, the UK’s self-employed population hovered around 3.4 million, the vast majority in male-dominated professions. Personal computing, too, was in its clunky infancy, and modern business models – think platform based apps such as Uber and Deliveroo – didn’t exist yet. Now, this month, as she assumes the chair of the UK’s largest trade association for the self-employed, Caroline is the very essence of modern freelancing. She takes the helm at a time when IPSE’s own research has shown that women are now twice as likely as men to embark on a self-employed career. More mothers – Caroline has three children, including twins – than ever before are now also working for themselves. It’s not just the gender demographics of freelancing that have changed either. Caroline also represents a major growth in one particular area of freelancing: highly skilled professionals. Caroline is a business analyst, project manager and business change specialist, and the highly skilled category of freelancing that this falls under is actually growing faster than any other sector of self-employment. So, a mother-ofthree who also has 20 years’ experience in the fastest-growing sector of freelancing, Caroline is truly a chair for our times. Working in this burgeoning, highly-skilled sector, she is also a repudiation of one of the most widespread but misconceived media narratives about self-employment: that it is all low-paid, insecure gig workers. All too often, newspapers and other media outlets – on the hunt for the juiciest, simplest stories – focus only on the least secure end of the self-employed spectrum. It can therefore seem 8
to some like that’s all self-employment is. As a hard-working self-employed mother at the top of her industry, Caroline is a repudiation of this narrative. Although the gig economy is certainly a key part of the sector – and there is definitely a minority of insecure gig workers who need more support – Caroline is a strong example of the highly skilled freelancers and contractors who make up an ever-growing majority of the sector. So, how did Caroline get to where she is today? “Well, actually I fell into contracting and then never saw a reason to get out of it,” she tells
“I fell into contracting and then never saw a reason to get out of it” me. “After working as an employee for some blue-chip companies I decided I wanted to work overseas and spent a couple of years working in Australia and New Zealand. “When I returned to the UK, a former colleague told me that British Airways (BA) needed someone with my skills on a contract basis for a few months, so that seemed like a good option while I sorted out what I wanted to do next. And that turned out to be a freelance career!” Before her BA contract, Caroline admits that she hadn’t considered contracting. Like an ever-growing proportion of the freelance workforce, it was only when she had her children that she realised how the flexibility of self-employment could help her. “When I had children, I realised that I could ask for flexibility in the hours I worked and my clients always said yes,” she said. “The flipside of this, of course, was that it was all down to me to make sure I delivered –
even if that meant working late into the evening after the children had gone to bed or before they got up. But I always delivered, and I’ve always had happy clients. That’s why I’ve had back-toback contracts and very little time when I’ve actively had to look for work. “Above all though, because of the flexibility that comes with freelancing, I was able to take and pick up the children from school and be there for all those all-important school plays and sports days.” Caroline, who worked with her first client for seven years, explains that being self-employed is not without its challenges, adding that it can be “difficult negotiating the flexibility and part-time hours” she wanted so she could spend time with her family. But overall, she says it has “worked out quite well”. She adds: “It sometimes feels like a difficult decision to move out of the comfort of being an employee but with careful planning and support, working for yourself can give you a rewarding career doing something you love with the flexibility you need.” And what about now – what about her appointment as chair of IPSE? She says that first of all she hopes to “make sure IPSE continues to grow its influence and membership by highlighting the positive aspects of self-employment and the benefits it brings to both the economy and self-employed people themselves. “Self-employment creates opportunities for flexible, rewarding work for hundreds of thousands of people across the UK who might not otherwise even be in the labour market at all: from new mothers to students to people embarking on new careers later in life. “Over the coming months and years, I will make sure IPSE is there standing up for the rights and freedoms of these people and all the UK’s self-employed.” modern work
â€œWhen I had children, I realised that I could ask for flexibility in the hours I worked and my clients always said yes.â€?
July / August 2018
The pursuit of happiness Kayte Jenkins speaks to ‘happiness’ economist, Professor Martin Binder, about his new approach to improving mental health, wellbeing and life satisfaction of the self-employed
hat is happiness? People spend their whole lives searching for happiness, and now a new report has found that you have a greater chance of finding it if you are self-employed. Although the report, The Way to Wellbeing, commissioned by the Centre for Research on Self-Employment (CRSE), found self-employed people have a higher life satisfaction, it also showed that it is not a completely even picture. The overall life satisfaction varies between the different self-employed groups, depending on how individuals came to be working for themselves, as well as working conditions. So if self-employment is the way forward towards the pursuit of happiness, what can be done to ensure it is a positive experience for all involved? Author of the report, Professor Martin Binder of Bard College Berlin, tells me: “The life of an academic in many ways compares to the self-employed lifestyle.” And having experienced various freelancing stints over the course of his career, Martin is all too aware of the conflicts that it creates for work-life balance. Applying his expertise on wellbeing-happiness research, Martin presents a new, holistic approach to enhancing the wellbeing of the self-employed in his report. Rather than just using the conventional measure of economic success, he considers all aspects of life such as the job itself, income, health, the family situation and leisure to build an overall picture of satisfaction. 10
“I think our society, in many ways, has been fixated on income a lot more than we should. Of course, money is important, but it seems to me we tend to forget that other things matter a lot too,” the German born and bred professor says. “A lot of policy making is done through this lens of ‘how does it make us richer?’, but what good is this, if it makes us lonelier and more depressed? “There is a lot of evidence about how the high uncertainty, time pressures and long working hours that come with working for yourself can create stress and excessive worrying. Some of this can be due to a mismatch between the demands of the job and one’s skills and confidence.” Martin, who has put forward 21 policy recommendations in his report, explains that often it is not always possible to change circumstances, therefore it is important to see what can done to help people better deal with such challenging situations. “That’s where my recommendations for better and easier access to confidence building, stress and time management training and mentoring for the self-employed come in.” “Stress can be combatted in different ways. Not everyone has enough savings to reduce their hours or take a break from work when things become stressful. But there is a whole toolbox of things that can help improve our quality of life and build coping mechanisms to help deal with stress.
Professor Martin Binder Photo: David Ausserhofer/Körber-Stiftun
“There is a whole toolbox of things that can help deal with stress.”
July / August 2018
“Techniques which use relaxation exercises or interventions aimed at avoiding thinking about the business demands outside of clearly defined times is just one example.” There are also things the government could do, such as emergency mentoring. Martin suggests that having someone to simply call or email and get feedback from can help either solve the issue or at least reduce the stress. Many solo self-employed people lack the social interaction that comes with standard forms of working life. Martin deals with isolation in his report by proposing the government, co-operatives and professional organisations work together to incentivise the creation of more co-working spaces. He explains: “Not only do co-working spaces help combat the sense of isolation, it also provides an opportunity for freelancers to pool together and share resources. These social interactions play an important role in how we experience our jobs and lives, and in turn, how happy we are with them. “Co-working spaces do exist but many people either don’t know that or inertia stands in the
way of becoming a part of one of these self-employed communities. The government can help by automatically putting self-employed people in touch with mentors and co-working communities when they register their business, offer tax breaks, and create more work hubs.” Speaking about his quest for understanding what makes people happy, Martin hopes his report will influence policymakers and business leaders alike to “change [their] attitudes towards wellbeing”. This can be achieved by “looking at the impact self-employment has on different aspects of life such as health, social aspects and work-life balance, then tailoring policies and interventions that help to improve people’s lives in these areas”, which go beyond just the financial domain and growth. And as Martin puts it: “This makes self-employment a pathway through which people can achieve greater levels of happiness and life satisfaction.” Download the report at crse.co.uk
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A festival of freelancing By Tristan Grove
hat could bring an MP, an Uber driver and the creative director of a craft brewery together? How about a stand-up comedian, a Guardian columnist and an Olympic badminton star? You know the answer. That’s right: on 28 June one of the UK’s most eclectic, vibrant festivals was back: National Freelancers Day. Held at Kings Place in central London, it was IPSE’s tenth celebration of all things freelance. Then in the evening it was followed by the fifth-ever Freelancer of the Year Awards, honouring and celebrating talented freelancers and those who support the self-employed community. July / August 2018
AN OLYMPIC OPENING So, what does a day celebrating the UK’s 4.8 million self-employed people actually look like? Well, it kicked off on a high: first, with an introduction from IPSE’s CEO Chris Bryce, who laid out what everyone could look forward to throughout the day. Then it was on to the first keynote speech of the day, from Olympic badminton medallist Gail Emms. Not only a world-class athlete, but also a formidable advocate of freelancing, she took the rapt audience on a journey from the first time she held a badminton racket, through early setbacks, Olympic triumphs and the trials and tribulations of an athletic career in the full
glare of the public eye. And the lesson of it all? Whether you’re an Olympic badminton player or a struggling freelance graphic designer, remember the people close to you. It’s that support network and that alone that will get you through the lows of freelancing – and be there to enjoy the highs. BREAKING OUT Duly inspired, the audience left Kings Place’s main auditorium for an enormous spread of breakout sessions. Through panel discussions, workshops and motivational speeches, the morning and afternoon’s events covered everything from developing a personal brand and making the most of social media, to mental 13
Finalists: Iona Bain joins previous award winners Luke Nicholson (left) and Emmeline Pidgeon
wellbeing and the lay of the political landscape for freelancers. Among the speakers were Bim Afolami MP, renowned freelance vlogger and writer Steve Folland, Guardian business-to-business editor Claire Burke, author Luan Wise and founder and director of Sister Snog, the inimitable Hela Wozniak-Kay. MIND OVER MATTER After a host of insightful talks on subjects from right across the world of freelancing, it was time for the closing keynote of the day. Titled ‘Why mindset is more important than skillset’, Nick Dwyer, creative director of Beavertown Brewery, talked about his inspirational journey from bit-jobs after uni to creative director and the mind-frame you need to succeed. How thinking the right way about your value and your work will take you further than your skillset. Speaking afterwards, he said there were two things he hoped people would take from the talk: “First, until somebody else tells you that you’re done it’s good not to think that you’re done. 14
“Second, make sure you don’t get locked into something that you’re not 100 per cent onboard with. Don’t get yourself to a point where you’re so tied to something that you can’t do everything you want to. You should be spreading yourself around a bit, especially at the beginning.”
Emotional: Faye Dicker receives the Ambassador of the Year award
GLITZ AND GLAMOUR The day may have ended with Nick Dwyer, but there was still the bright lights of the evening’s award ceremony to come. The Freelancer of the Year Awards, now in their fifth year, were created to celebrate the very best of the UK’s freelancers – as well as the co-working spaces, universities and other individuals and organisations from across the country who support them. The evening was hosted by the irrepressible comedian Lucy Porter, who sent the audience roaring and rolling off their chairs with her stand-up routine. Then it was onto the altogether more serious business of presenting the awards. modern work
Nottingham Trent University was crowned the university of the year for their continued work on increasing the visibility of freelancing as a viable and positive career choice for students. The School of Art and Design has also improved engagement with employers to offer freelance opportunities to students With stunning facilities, as well as comprehensive business and a buzzing community saw Avenue HQ in Liverpool took home the Co-working Space of Year Award. Faye Dicker, founder of networking group Freelance Mum, won the Ambassador of the Year Award for her events and endless support for freelance mothers across the UK. Harvey Morton, who won the Young Freelancer of the Year award, was “completely lost for words”. He said: “I never expected to win – certainly not in such a strong category.” Chris Pipe, who runs a planning consultancy business in the north-east, was crowned the New to Freelancing winner – a new category to this year’s award. She told Modern Work afterwards: “To be recognised in the industry as a freelancer, it gives you the self-assurance to you
Celebrating: Host Lucy Porter (top) and winners Harvey Morton (bottom left) and Chris Pipe (right)
that you’re actually doing the right thing.” And taking home the Freelancer of the Year Award was financial journalist and blogger, Iona Bain. She said: “The calibre of the other finalists is so high that to actually win is wonderful, but it’s also a great vindication of the work I’ve been doing through the blog and also a recognition that this is a really crucial area for young people right now.” Chris Bryce, IPSE CEO, said: “In a truly exceptional field of finalists, Iona stood out as someone who epitomises everything that is brilliant, innovative and progressive about freelancing. Based on her existing achievements – which are numerous – and her business plan for the future, Iona was outstanding. “Congratulations too to our runner-up Frances Ryan, as well as Chris Pipe and Harvey Morton who won the New to Freelancing and Young Freelancer of the Year awards. People like Iona, Frances, Harvey, Chris and indeed all 12 of our other fantastic finalists, are the real basis for these awards: to celebrate excellence across the UK’s burgeoning self-employed community.”
WINNER’S LIST FREELANCER OF THE YEAR Iona Bain Runner-up, Frances Ryan YOUNG FREELANCER OF THE YEAR Harvey Morton NEW TO FREELANCING Chris Pipe AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR Freelance Mum, Faye Dicker UNIVERSITY PARTNER OF THE YEAR Nottingham Trent University CO-WORKING SPACE OF THE YEAR Avenue HQ Runner-up, Platf9rm
July / August 2018
Booking a place in the freelance revolution “
hen it comes to your career, do you ever feel like you are on an endless journey to get somewhere?” If this statement from Emma Gannon’s latest book, The Multi-Hyphen Method, rings a bell, then ask yourself whether your job suits your lifestyle. With smart technology at our fingertips, it has never been easier to work wherever and whenever. And this is the philosophy behind Emma’s book, which teaches it’s readers how it does not matter if you are a part-time PA with a blog or a physio who runs an online jewellery store, whatever your work combination, anyone can channel their entrepreneurial spirit. Modern Work caught up with the 29-yearold, who now lives in Hackney, London, to find out about the multi-hyphen way of working. Can you tell me about your career? I started my career in PR and marketing, which in hindsight I think was such a great thing. Bill Gates famously said: “If I was down to my last dollar I would spend it on PR.” And I agree, it’s so important to any business or idea. I learned valuable skills within big agencies: how to work in teams, handle big budgets, write proposals, manage online crises, how large-scale brands are built and maintained behind the scenes. I then realised that I wanted to be more creative in my work and writing. I started a blog on the side, and I eventually took a pay cut to work in journalism and magazines. Now, I have been able to merge my love of marketing and writing. July / August 2018
Emma Gannon What has been your biggest achievement to date? I just recorded a podcast episode from inside Buckingham Palace and met the Queen. That was pretty cool! What were you doing when you set up your podcast Ctrl Alt Delete? I had just quit my job at Glamour magazine. My book Ctrl Alt Delete was about to come out with Penguin, so I decided to set up a podcast to market and promote it. I thought I’d do a series of around eight episodes interviewing interesting guests and treat it as an experiment. It ended up growing a listenership at such a pace that I am now on episode #137… with no sign of it slowing down. What inspired you to become self-employed? The small successes of my side-hustles inspired me to quit my job in the end. I started earning bits here and there through opportunities that would arise through my blog. I suppose I had been ‘personal branding’ myself for years, without knowing that was even a phrase. I realised that multiple income streams would mean I had limitless earning potential, instead of being boxed in with one salary and one job. I’d saved up money from my side-hustles for a few years, then quit, so it wasn’t as scary. Can you tell me more about your book, The Multi-Hyphen Method? The Multi-Hyphen Method is a book that brings a modern update to the ‘portfolio career’ with research, anecdotes and practical advice. It’s a best friend’s guide on how to future-proof yourself, as the world of work evolves and the days of the ‘job for life’ are fast becoming a thing of the past. It’s not a ‘quit your job and follow your dreams’ book. It’s about how to take intelligent
risks, starting side-hustles, and why you should refuse to be pigeonholed in your career. It’s about transitioning into self-employment if you want to. It’s about allowing tech to work for us, not against us. It’s about having multiple interests and identities at work. It’s about how to take practical steps in this changing world of work to diversify and have multiple career strands/income streams. Where did the inspiration for the book come from? The inspiration behind the book was my only personal feelings and insecurities around work. Whenever anyone asked me what I did for a living, I would clam up and feel awkward, unable to introduce myself without feeling like some failing and fledgling jack of all trades. I started realising that doing multiple things made me happier, more fulfilled and even more financially secure than I was before, so decided to make it into a celebratory movement and own it. Being a multi-hyphenate has changed my life for the better, so I wanted to talk about it and give tips, advice and nuggets of wisdom from other experts. Why is it important to have more than one string to your bow, when it comes to your career now? I think it’s important to diversify your skillset, and keep on learning. Adam Smiley Poswolsky, author of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough, said: “Changes in technology mean that people can’t count on a position, or even a company, being around forever.” This is something we should remember: that nothing is permanent and technology is constantly changing, so we should not be afraid to try new things. Continuing to future-proof ourselves is becoming increasingly important. Details: emmagannon.co.uk 17
IR35 reforms have had a ‘damaging effect’ on NHS, claims report By Jyoti Rambhai
ast year, the chancellor’s attempt to increase National Insurance Contributions was met by a huge uproar from millions of self-employed people across the UK. He then turned his attention to cutting the tax allowance and has been considering potentially lowering the VAT threshold. Now the government has set its sights on the self-employed again. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) recently launched a consultation on extending the controversial off-payroll tax rules to the private sector. The off-payroll rule, more commonly known as IR35, was introduced in 2000 in a bid to tackle tax avoidance by people claiming to be self-employed when they were in fact employees. In April 2017, HMRC shifted the responsibility for determining employment status from contractors to the client or hirer in the public sector, making them liable for any tax if they got it wrong. The reform has had a significant effect on not just the UK’s 4.8 million self-employed, but the public-sector bodies too. And now the government is considering extending the reforms to the private sector and believes it is the ‘lead option’, despite evidence to suggest that the new rules have had a disastrous effect. This includes widespread walkouts, which in turn have exacerbated the NHS staffing crisis and resulted in major delays or cancellations in numerous government and public projects. Research by IPSE and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) confirms how the tax law has had a seriously damaging effect on the NHS and across the public sector. The study, based on a survey of 867 contractors and 115 hiring managers (84% of whom 18
were from NHS trusts), found that 51 per cent of managers had lost skilled contractors as a direct result of the changes to IR35. A further 71 per cent claimed they were now struggling to hold onto their contractors and 75 per cent said it is now also harder to recruit contractors. So why have the changes been so disastrous? IR35 legislation is notoriously complex and as a result, many public-sector bodies have made blanket decisions, putting all contractors on-payroll, rather than assessing each case individually based on their engagements. Andy Chamberlain, deputy director of policy at IPSE, said: “The figures confirm what we have been hearing, that the changes have not worked, despite HMRC’s claims. It says it has raised £410 million in Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions as a result, but we will need to wait until the January 2019 tax return for a full assessment. “The government brought out the CEST tool in the wake of the changes, with the intention of helping clients and hirers assess employment status. However, the tool itself is flawed.” The CEST tool (Check Employment Status for Tax) was launched in March 2017, only a month before the reforms came into effect and problems with the system were immediately visible. According to Chamberlain, CEST oversimplifies complex legislation and is therefore unable to make an accurate assessment. For example, there is no test for mutuality of obligation, which is the obligation to provide your service on a recurrent basis for a client and is key to determining employment status.
CEST has also been heavily criticised in parliament and condemned by tax accountants, who have stated the tool is “not fit for purpose”. A number of recent tribunals over IR35 have questioned HMRC’s interpretation of mutuality of obligation, suggesting that it should be considered in CEST. HMRC has also stated that the tool is unable to make a determination in 15 per cent of cases. In addition, figures released recently revealed that 4.3 million phone calls to the tax watchdog have gone unanswered in the last year. And when calls were answered, taxpayers were left waiting for more than 10 minutes. Chamberlain added: “The self-employed don’t have an army of consultants and experts modern work
Workers or self-employed, the new debate By Chris Piggott-McKellar
Illustration: Nicholas Solarte
to assist them with complex matters of tax, and they rely on HMRC to provide them with timely assistance. “Time spent on the phone is time the self-employed and independent professionals aren’t earning money. And the problem is only going to get worse. “The public sector is just a fraction of the size of the private sector. If the government goes ahead with extending the IR35 changes, it would have a devasting effect, not just on the self-employed sector, but businesses and the wider UK economy. “Even HMRC with all its supposed expertise can’t seem to get it right, losing two of three cases in the tax tribunal just this year.” July / August 2018
A spokesperson from HMRC told Modern Work: “The Check Employment Status for Tax service (CEST) has been used over 750,000 times since it was introduced. It gives an answer in 85 per cent of cases, and where it does not generate an answer, customers are then able to call a dedicated helpline staffed by specialists who can give further advice. “We plan to publish a paper in respect of mutuality of obligation. This has been prepared for members of the IR35 forum and we intend to publish it by the end of July, alongside the minutes of the June 2018 forum meeting.” Comment on page 25
A SPIKE over the past year in the number of high-profile court cases dealing with employment status and workers’ rights has prompted calls for a clearer definition in law of who is and who is not self-employed. In the most significant decision, the supreme court last month found that a heating engineer at London-based Pimlico Plumbers, Gary Smith, was not self-employed, as the company had claimed. It found that he should have been treated as a worker, and was therefore entitled to certain employment rights. The case followed a string of other decisions in employment tribunals in the past few months which found that, for example, couriers engaged by Hermes, Deliveroo and Addison Lee should also have been treated as workers. The rise in the number of cases highlights the lack of legal certainty over employment status, the UK’s leading self-employed trade body, IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), has said. “Businesses should not be able to exploit uncertainty around employment status to simply declare that their workforce should all be contractors,” IPSE’s Simon McVicker, director of policy, said. “The government must write into law a positive definition of what constitutes self-employment. This would send a clear signal about who is and who isn’t self-employed and would rectify the current need to go through long and costly court battles to determine employment status.” The supreme court found Smith was not self-employed because Pimlico Plumbers required him to wear a branded uniform, drive a branded car which had a tracker and carry an ID. There were also restrictions on the way he was paid, and he was required to closely follow the company’s administrative instructions. “The vast majority of the UK’s 4.8 million self-employed are what they claim to be: genuine business-to-business engagements which are mutually beneficial to both parties,” McVicker added. 19
A glimpse of the future of freelancing Tristan Grove speaks to Professor Jonny Freeman about how the tech revolution is transforming freelancing and the world of work
he smartphone in your pocket has more processing power than all the NASA computers involved in the moon landings combined. It may seem a bit of glib fact, but sometimes we need reminding of how far things have come in the last few decades. And how far they could go in the coming ones. It’s an important point for Professor Jonny Freeman, founder of I2 Media Research. Based in Goldsmiths, University of London, his pioneering research business focuses on the impact of the latest technology on the world of work. And walking into their office, you can tell. After all, there aren’t many places of work where you find eye-tracking headsets lying around – or high-end virtual reality (VR) systems hooked up to the TV. While this magazine’s editor, Jyoti Rambhai, falls off a building… in VR, I ask Freeman how technology like this relates to the future of self-employment and the world of work: “There are a lot of applications for VR in the future of freelance work. People are already working remotely, but with VR we could be working from different places but still feel like we’re in the same room. “We’re not far from that at all. There’s already volumetric capture of people and characters, so if you’ve got an avatar of yourself, it’s not much of a leap to animate it and track your movements.” The possibilities for digital nomad and remote-working freelancers seem almost endless. It’s not just removing distance either. Freeman says the same technology could be used to create the ideal working conditions for freelancers. Almost like self-correcting cruise control.
“For optimal performance you need to be not too aroused but not too relaxed – challenged but not too challenged,” Freeman adds. “Well, VR systems can infer in real time how you’re feeling and adapt to help keep you at your most productive.” For certain professional services, there are even more benefits to be had. Freeman points out that VR is already being used in architecture and other disciplines to prototype new buildings, designs and other creations. And as the technology improves, so will the applications. As Modern Work’s editor tumbles, screaming, into a darkened tunnel, I ask about some of the other impressive gadgets around the office. First of all, a pair of extremely high-tech glasses. “What eye tracking allows you to do is measure in real time where people are looking – how attentive they are. From that you can infer how fatigued they’re getting so you can recommend they take a break. “You can also use their pupil dilation to work out their cognitive load – the effort they’re putting into their working memory. So, in effect, you should be able to build a system where the work presented to people is adapted to be best understood by them.” Imagine, Freeman says, a system where when it tracks that you’re struggling with the complexity of a piece of work, it presents you with something simpler. Where, when it gauges that you’re getting bored, it suggests you should take a break. Where, when it picks up the fact that you’re getting stressed, it changes the colour palette and puts some soothing music on. If this is all sounding a little futuristic, well, some of it is and some of it isn’t. Some of it,
like collaborative VR systems, is already here. Freeman says: “At the moment, the reason this sort of tech isn’t common in people’s living rooms and studies is that it’s pretty expensive. It cost a couple of thousand pounds to set up our VR system, so it’s definitely an investment. And until the price comes down, we’re at a stage where technology makes things possible, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the market’s going to immediately adopt it.” It’s not just the cost either. If all this is indeed starting to sound a bit futuristic, it’s probably because many people just aren’t comfortable with some of this technology and the data sharing it involves. Freeman believes this could well change: “I think there’s a natural learning, acceptance and adoption process like you would see with any technology. If someone had told you 20 years ago that today you’d be posting pictures of what you’re eating, where you are and how you’re feeling on public platforms, I think you’d have raised an eyebrow. “There will probably be a shift over time where if people perceive benefits from sharing the different kinds of data we’re talking about, they will start to change their attitudes. If they don’t, they won’t.” As Jyoti drags herself out of the tunnel and stumbles into an elevator, there’s just one more question: what about the wider workforce beyond freelancers? What about artificial intelligence (AI)? Freeman says: “You can’t pick up a newspaper without reading about these huge numbers of jobs that are going to be made redundant because machines are going to do them. modern work
“I think the reality is there are a huge number of jobs where human intelligence and emotional intelligence are extremely important. There may be some jobs that will be automated or become obsolete, but there is a massive proportion of the workforce, especially knowledge economy workers, that I don’t believe is at risk from AI and technology replacement – any time in the near future, at least.” For most freelancers then, there is a future, and it’s bright… or dark, or sepia-toned – or whatever palette their VR headset thinks most appropriate. This magazine’s editor finally escaped her VR trial. Readers can be assured she is now sitting at her desk, mostly recovered.
Editor, Jyoti Rambhai (right), tests out the latest virtual reality tech with Jonny Freeman (left and centre) at his lab , Goldsmiths University
July / August 2018
Your monthly briefing BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE FOR FREELANCERS On 5 July the government announced a new “Bytes and Mortar” deal to boost the UK’s construction sector. The joint government-industry deal is for £420 million to be invested in new technologies to get the sector building homes faster. It forms part of the government’s plan to build 1.5 million new homes by 2022. The construction sector is the UK’s biggest engager of self-employed people – because of the major productivity boost their flexible labour provides. Organisations such as IPSE, has warned the government that to boost productivity, it should not just invest in new technologies, but also support the self-employed in the construction sector.
UBER ‘FIT AND PROPER’ TO OPERATE IN LONDON Uber can continue to operate in London until at least September 2019 after a magistrate concluded that the ride-hailing company was ‘fit and proper’ to hold a licence. London’s transport’s authority, TfL, had in September last year suspended Uber’s operating licence over safety concerns. July / August 2018
Uber appealed the decision, giving evidence that it had made several “wholesale reforms” to its governance, safety and reporting procedures. In a separate legal action, Uber is also appealing a decision of the employment appeal tribunal that found two Uber drivers were workers. Uber is arguing that its drivers are correctly engaged on a self-employed basis.
POLICYMAKERS NEED TO ‘RESPECT’ NATURE OF SELF-EMPLOYMENT, SAYS NEW REPORT “Good Work” was the central message of the Taylor Review - leading to a focus on the quality, not just the quantity, of work. What good work means for the self-employed is the key question that IPSE and IPA have addressed in a new piece of research, Working Well for Yourself. As the debate about good work grows, the new report stresses the importance of policymakers and business leaders to understand and respect the distinctive nature of self-employment. It reveals good self-employment is about much more than money. For instance, the self-employed see developing skills and knowledge as a vital measure of career progression – above increasing earnings.
UNIVERSAL CREDIT IS FAILING THE SELF-EMPLOYED The self-employed are losing out on Universal Credit payments because of the system of monthly reporting, a major government audit of the program has said. The National Audit Office released it’s ‘Rolling out Universal Credit’ report in June, examining whether the roll-out of the program – which provides payments to help people with living costs – was achieving its aims. The self-employed “lose out”, the report said, because Universal Payments are calculated on a monthly basis, which does not take into account fluctuating incomes. A self-employed person can therefore end up £3,000 worse off each year under Universal Credit compared with an employee earning the same amount.
A FAIRER DEAL FOR SELF-EMPLOYED TRAINING The government closed its consultation on extending tax relief for training to the self-employed last month. It had been running since March. Covering self-funded training not just for the self-employed, but also for employees, the consultation set out to understand how the government could “design an extension to the existing tax relief that focuses on supporting good quality training for those wanting to upskill or retrain”. IPSE and a number of other leading business representatives submitted responses to the consultation, particularly focusing on opening up tax relief for self-employed people who want to broaden or extend their skills. 23
With friends like these, who needs enemies… By Alex Massie Freelance columnist for The Times and Spectator
total bloody mess.” Only a very few people are privy to Theresa May’s thoughts – the Prime Minister is as reticent in private as she is uncomfortable in public – but that’s how one person, who knows May well, recently described the overall situation in which the Prime Minister finds herself. And with good reason. Two years on from the Brexit referendum and the waters, far from clearing, seem as murky as ever. The doctrine of collective responsibility, hitherto considered crucial to any government’s ability to function, has broken down completely. Ministers have always briefed against their rivals in private, but the new fashion for openly criticising colleagues in public is as startling as it is corrosive. Brexit, meanwhile, threatens the Conservative party’s core strengths. For most of the past century the Tories have built their fortunes on a reputation for economic competence. You might not love the Conservative party, indeed you might not even like it, but you could respect it and know the country was, more or less, in re“
liable hands. There would be no reckless adventuring while the Tories were at the helm. That, in the age of Brexit, can no longer be said with any great certainty and it is only the presence of Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of the opposition that is keeping the party afloat at all. Even so, if you thought you would see the day when a former Conservative foreign secretary would respond to business’s concerns by saying, “*** business” then I congratulate you on your powerful imagination. To the extent the Tory party remains the party of business, both small and large, it is only because there is no alternative party petitioning business for support. The days when George Osborne promised to lead a ‘march of the makers’ seem to belong to some dusty, ancient era. Perhaps the rot set in when David Cameron, prizing the unity of the Conservative party
above all else, allowed ministers to campaign against the government’s position on the Brexit referendum while remaining in post. True, Cameron was only following the example set by Harold Wilson in 1975, but it was a decision which seemed bold at the time and now seems ruinous. Ministers who voted remain look across the cabinet table at their colleagues who campaigned for leave and blame them for the predicament in which the government finds itself. Those who sought a leave vote suspect the cabinet’s remainers – whether ardent or reluctant – are doing their utmost to sabotage a clean, fast and clear Brexit. In these circumstances, the government’s inability to form a view on its preferred outcome, let alone on how to achieve it, becomes easier to understand if no less easy to forgive. Where there should be leadership, there is confusion; where there should be vision there is only fog. Every treasury analysis of the economic impact of Brexit chimes with the analysis of independent bodies such as the Institute for Fiscal Studies: it is going to hurt. Just as the public finances are restored to something like order after a decade of retrenchment, Brexit will reduce the prospects for future growth. At the same time, a public weary of austerity demands a different, more optimistic vision for the future. The Prime Minister is not, by temperament, well placed to offer that kind of sun-splashed cheerfulness.
“The days when George Osborne promised to lead a ‘march of the makers’ seem to belong to some dusty, ancient era.”
Chief executive at IPSE
The private sector is under threat. It is time to save it.
But this, and the need to claim some kind of ‘Brexit dividend’, has already forced the government to commit to increased spending on the NHS. A £20 billion boost for the health service, however, only goes some way towards matching historic levels of real-terms spending increases. It will not be enough, on its own, to ease the pain endured by a creaking, even arthritic system. Sauce for the NHS goose is sauce for ganders in other departments too. Already Gavin Williamson, the remarkable defence secretary, is demanding increased spending for his department. This too may be justified, at least in terms of repairing Britain’s declining defence capabilities. But, again, the money must come from somewhere. Meanwhile, the country’s transport infrastructure is overdue major overhaul. Add this to the cost of a rapidly ageing population and you swiftly reach a situation in which Brexit becomes a short-term crisis overshadowing long-term challenges that will be wincingly difficult to solve. There are already, for the first time, more pensioners in Britain than there are teenagers. The implications for the NHS, for pensions, and the public purse more generally are both obvious and dramatic. All this, then, in a period of economic growth that is sluggish at best. No wonder the Brexit ‘dividend’ comes with the weighty caveat that it will be supplemented by increased borrowing and taxation. That in turn means long-standing treasury ploys that have previously been July / August 2018
shelved for reasons of political expediency will be taken out of storage and given a fresh airing. Philip Hammond’s attempt to increase National Insurance Contributions for the self-employed failed last time – partly because it was met with strong resistance from IPSE and some further resistance from political commentators, many of whom, coincidentally, are self-employed freelancers – but it has not, I am afraid, gone away. It will, indeed, be back. Similarly, the treasury has its covetous eye on pension tax relief. And with good reason, since this is now worth more than £50 billion a year and two thirds of that sum goes to people earning more than £45,000 a year. Additionally, much of the benefit is enjoyed by workers fortunate enough to be enrolled in generous final-salary schemes. Pension relief on this scale has only survived so long because so few people are truly aware of its generosity and the manner in which it is loaded in favour of the salaried affluent. A Labour government will want to change this; a Conservative one might have to. Difficult and unpleasant choices are unavoidable, then. Brexit may compound many of these issues but it is neither the sole cause of, nor any kind of solution for, them. In the absence of vigorous growth, tax increases are unavoidable. A decade of grinding austerity may be coming to an end; that merely means a new kind of pain is on the way.
IR35. I’VE spoken about it in this column many times. Opposing it was, after all, the founding cause of IPSE. And perhaps, like Brexit, there is a risk it is mentioned so much that people lose the sense of its importance. But again, just like Brexit, that means sometimes you must cut through that malaise to stress something truly momentous. Now is one of those times. In May, the government announced it would be holding a consultation on extending the disastrous changes to IR35 to the private sector. And based on past instances, what this really means is that the government’s mind is mostly made up. I’m sure you’ve heard the arguments before, but it’s worth re-stating what’s at stake here. Switching responsibility for determining IR35 status from the self-employed themselves to their engagers caused havoc in the public sector. With thousands of contractors unfairly caught under IR35, there were walkouts across the sector. Major projects were delayed and even cancelled in TfL and a host of other public bodies. There is even evidence it contributed to the NHS staffing crisis. That’s the reality found by our research with CIPD. The trouble is the government’s own deeply flawed research just doesn’t reflect what’s happening. And if it continues to ignore the reality in the public sector and pushes the changes out to the private sector, the consequences will be catastrophic. The biggest fear is that engagers start making blanket IR35 judgements, treating all contractors and freelancers as temporary employees without any of the same rights. If that happens, there’s a real risk many self-employed people will simply stop offering their services, either retiring, heading overseas or moving into full-time employment. That would be a disaster for the whole UK economy. But this isn’t a done deal. No matter what’s happened with consultations in the past, this isn’t set in stone. We overturned Hammond’s unjust and ill-considered NICs hike, and we’ll overturn this. This is where the fightback begins.
Co-working comes to Coventry
Meet The Wheelhouse, the midlands city’s first co-working space By Tristan Grove
oventry. It may not be a name you automatically associate with glamour and culture. No Manchester or Brighton, automatically buzzing up in the mind’s eye with images of trendy bars and alternative art scenes. In fact, the first thing many people associate Coventry with is bombs – after Hitler singled out the city for some of the worst bombing raids of the Second World War. The ruins of its medieval cathedral still stand in the city centre as testament to its darkest hour. But around those ruins, Coventry is changing at an unheard-of rate. Named UK City of Culture 2021, Coventry is now in a frenzy. Awash with entrepreneurial energy, there are new bars, shops and restaurants springing up across the city. And not only that: to serve a growing self-employed community, it now has its first major co-working space. Launched in April this year, The Wheelhouse is based in Coventry’s historic city hall. It’s the second branch of The Wheelhouse co-working space following on from the one in Oxford. As the space’s community and sales executive Annabel Johnson explained: “We saw there was a gap in the market. Coventry’s a city on the rise – it’s even going to be the UK’s city of culture – and there just wasn’t anything here for freelancers.” So the Wheelhouse team met Coventry City Council and started a partnership to bring co-working to Coventry.
The result? The Wheelhouse is a bright, airy space occupying one wing of the Tudor-style council building. It consists of a large, open hotdesk space, several spacious meeting rooms, a compact but well-stocked kitchen and a relaxed casual working space. In short, the ideal place to bring Coventry’s growing freelancer population together. Of course, The Wheelhouse is no corporate hipster hub. There aren’t craft beers and nitro-brew coffee flowing endlessly. There’s no café stocked with a bottomless supply of raw balls and vegan muffins. But it’s not trying to be that – and that’s probably not what Coventry needs. What it has even at this stage though, is community. And that’s much more important. Johnson added: “We’re big on community and low on cost – we want everyone to feel included.” So, to build up that sense of community and bring their members together, they hold a range of events throughout the week. “We do ‘Lunch and Learns’, where we get a member to talk about a project or something else they’re doing. And we always get a local takeaway in for it, to help promote local business. “We’ve also got Wheelhouse Workshops, where people can practise a pitch, get feedback from other co-workers, or if they have any kind of work problem, they can put it to the group for advice.”
The sense of community is almost palpable when you visit. Because the space is in its early days, it hasn’t got close to a full complement of members yet. So when I came, I found its core group of eight members gathered in free-flowing, friendly conversation at one end of the airy hotdesk space. It felt as if they’d known each other for years, not months. As Johnson said: “It’s not the kind of place where people just come in and put their heads down. They’re there as part of a community, re-creating that office camaraderie. Because I really believe part of being mentally healthy is being part of a community and conversing with people.” It’s not just about the community though, and the Wheelhouse team are working hard to build up a relaxing environment, as well as hightech, reliable facilities for their members. There’s still some way to go, though – and a few rough edges to smooth out – but what can you expect a couple of months into the life of Coventry’s first co-working space? And its dedicated team have more than enough passion, determination and genuine enthusiasm to turn it into a modern work
Co-working from London to Lisbon
thriving centre for Coventry’s freelance future. And what about the cost? Well, as you might hope from the first co-working space in the area, the barrier to entry is very low. Prices start at £49 plus VAT for 25 hours of access a month. There’s also a very reasonable £79 plus VAT option for 50 hours a month. Prices then go up to £179 plus VAT for a dedicated desk. There’s also a charity rate of just £159 per month for dedicated desk. That’s perhaps the other most important thing about The Wheelhouse: its commitment to charity and ethics. With its low prices, its charity rates and its prioritisation of community – not to mention its commitment to local business – The Wheelhouse is a co-working space that’s overtly ethical. And right now, that’s probably what the UK’s up and coming city of culture needs. Not a hipster hub, but a down-to-earth centre committed to values and community. This hard-working, ethical co-working space is guaranteed to go far. July / August 2018
Overall rating Price Location Facilities Wi-Fi Coffee
LISBON is a city already known for its thriving co-working and start-up scene, with some even calling it the ‘California of Europe’. Well, now a British-Portuguese chain of co-working spaces is opening up the latest addition to this buzzing scene. House of Maria Amalia is opening a new co-working space near Avenida da Liberdade, right in the heart of Lisbon. It is an addition to House of Maria Amalia’s existing space near Spitalfields Market in Shoreditch, London. It’s all part of Maria Amalia’s plan to open bright, modern spaces in the centre of Europe’s busiest, best connected cities. The airy Lisbon co-working space includes fixed desks, as well as high-tech facilities, a kitchenette and a dedicated cleaning service. Most of all, like any co-working space, the aim is to give anyone coming into it access to a tight-knit community of freelancers. It’s also handy that, situated near Avenida da Liberdade, the space is within walking distance of countless restaurants, cafes and bars – not to mention Lisbon’s stunning historical centre. So much for the space, but what about the eye-catching name? Well, apparently, it came from founder Kiko Gaspar’s Weimaraner dog named – you guessed it – Amalia. Details: mariaamaliahouse.com
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The side-hustle: All in a day’s work
By Tom Purvis Economic correspondent
t has never been easier to embark on a self-employed ‘side-hustle’. You could be driving for Uber, delivering for Deliveroo or selling cakes at a local market stall. You may have wanted to supplement your income, develop your business skills or make money from a hobby. Whatever the reason, there are a few considerations that you will have to keep in mind. If you are starting a ‘side-hustle’, you might be asking yourself two questions: how do I get started, and what about my employer? GETTING STARTED The first thing you will have to do is register as self-employed with HMRC. If you decide to set up a private limited company, you will also need to register the business with Companies House. If you choose to go down the sole trader route, you will just have to register with HMRC. If you are looking for simplicity, then the sole trader model would be better suited for you. There is less paperwork and administration involved with running your business as a sole trader. However, if you are taking on debt to run the business, you should avoid going down this route as you will become personally liable for the repayment. Setting up and running a limited company brings with it a lot of administration and responsibilities. However, the company is separate to you as an individual, so you wouldn’t become personally liable for any company debts. July / August 2018
Illustrations: Madeleine Stuart WHAT ABOUT MY EMPLOYER? A lot of people that do some self-employment on the side often have a nagging doubt that what they are doing will not be well received by their employer. Typically, it would not be a problem, unless it interferes with your employment, but it is understandable that you may have some concerns. The first point of call should be reading your contract of employment. Some contracts may have restrictions that limit what work you can do on the side. Others will say it is fine to do work on the side, so long as your line manager clears it. If you are worried that registering as self-employed with HMRC will trigger something with your employer, it won’t. Your tax affairs are entirely confidential. But, if you decide to form a limited company, your details will be publicly available at Companies House.
CONNECTING WITH OTHER SELFEMPLOYED PEOPLE Depending on what you do, you might want to connect with other self-employed people. If your skills are in baking cakes, but not social media or website design, you may want to use other self-employed people to help you with those. Second, you might want to build relations so that you can deal with any issues that might occur with your side-hustle. It is not uncommon to see cyclists from Deliveroo congregate in one area or graphic designers attend industry-related conferences. Starting something on the side is a major step for you, and it may lead to you becoming fully self-employed further down the line. Whatever you are doing, whether it be baking cakes or selling goods on Etsy, you should build connections along the way. The most important thing to know is that while you are striking out on your own, you don’t have to feel alone. 29
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Cheat’s miso soup
By Rose Parkin
July / August 2018
o you often find yourself resorting to a slice of dry toast for lunch when you work from home? With a bit of cheese from the back of the fridge, if you’re feeling fancy? You’re not alone. Many freelancers who work from home find that, despite the proximity to the kitchen, it’s often tricky to take time out to make something substantial for lunch. But this quick miso soup recipe packs a punch – it’s big on taste, with an intense umami flavour, and filled with carbohydrates and protein, helping to fuel a productive working day. Miso soup is a traditional Japanese dish, made using fermented soya beans, fish stock, tofu and seaweed. This recipe is a simplified, cheat’s version that is much quicker to make, with different toppings added. And luckily, there’s no messing about with fermentation, as miso paste is now readily available from most supermarkets. If you’re lucky enough to be near your kitchen this lunchtime, make the most of it and indulge in a bowl of rich miso soup with silky noodles, mushrooms, edamame beans and a soft-boiled egg, topped with chilli for an extra kick!
SERVES 1 MAKE IN 10 MINUTES SUITABLE FOR VEGETARIANS Ingredients 1 medium egg 21g sachet of miso paste 50g frozen shelled edamame beans 50g mushrooms, sliced 150g cooked noodles 1 tsp soy sauce 1 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped (optional) 1/4 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced (optional) Method 1. Place the egg in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for six minutes. 2. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, stir the miso paste into 300ml boiling water. 3. Then add in the frozen edamame beans, simmer for two minutes, before stirring in the mushrooms. Cook for a further minute. 4. Remove the egg from the pan using a slotted spoon and run under cold water. Gently peel the egg when cool and cut in half. 5. Pour the miso mushroom broth into a serving bowl. Add in the noodles, season with the soy sauce and top with the egg, fresh coriander and chilli to serve, if you like.
Tips You can play around with different vegetables in this versatile dish, depending on what you have in the fridge. Thinly sliced carrots or spinach leaves work really well added just before serving. Alternatively, top with sliced spring onion or sesame seeds. For an even deeper flavour, mix the miso with 300ml vegetable stock in place of the boiling water.
The freelancer’s guide to...
By Jyoti Rambhai
he city was once one of the busiest seaports in Britain. Its Clydeside shipyards, which built some of the most famous ocean liners, saw Glasgow become one of the richest cities in the world in the nineteenth century. Today, aside from its distinctive Scottish dialect, most people associate Glasgow with being the home of football’s most intense rivalry: Celtic versus Rangers. But what they may not know is that Glasgow also hosted the very first official international match between Scotland and England. Glasgow, a city steeped in history, is increasingly becoming a cosmopolitan and fertile ground for the UK’s growing self-employed population. Strathclyde, a region on Scotland’s west coast that stretches from the Highlands in the north to the southern Uplands, has 158,000 people working in solo self-employment, many of whom are based in Glasgow. With the cost of living much cheaper than London, and Glasgow Airport just a 20-minute taxi ride or a short bus journey away from the city centre, it is no wonder freelancers find it an attractive place to work from. LIFE AS A FREELANCER There are number of affordable co-working spaces around the city, many of which encom-
pass Glasgow’s rich heritage. Based in the Savoy Tower in the heart of Glasgow’s city centre is Clockwise. The space opened last year and has flourisehd very quickly. It offers a range of workspaces, from hotdesks and dedicated desks to private offices. It even has a 5,000 square foot terrace, for when the weather heats up. For those freelancers who are just passing through, CitizenM offers more flexible options. A quirky co-working space-cum-hotel is free to use for all guests. Prices start around £63 per night. And even if you are not staying at the hotel, you are still able to use the space at no cost, as long as you buy a coffee. Both Clockwise and CitizenM are a short walk from Glasgow Central and Queen Street stations. Other shared workspaces include The Distillery; RookieOven – a space for tech start-ups; and Ninja Unicorn, which is aimed at creative freelancers. All are based a little further away from the centre, but are still only 15–20 minutes away by car or by the subway. WHERE TO STAY Generally, Glasgow is a fairly inexpensive place to live. The West End and South Side seem to be the two most popular areas, despite being very different from each other.
The West End has a somewhat Bohemian allure with trendy cafés, charity shops and art venues. Rent prices, according to Rightmove, are also rather reasonable, with a two-bedroom flat costing roughly £750pcm. South Side, on the other hand, tends to appeal to families as it is a little quieter and also home to the city’s biggest green space, Pollok Country Park. It is also cheaper to rent compared with the West End, costing approximately £650pcm for a two-bedroom flat. For short stays, aside from CitizenM, there is also Grand Central Hotel, which adjoins Central Station – a four-star establishment with prices starting from £100 per night. The Z Hotel is an alternative, cheaper option. It is another four-star hotel located centrally, and prices start from just £60 per night. THINGS TO DO For football fans, there is the Scottish Football Museum, where you can discover Glasgow’s rich sporting heritage. Buchanan Street is the place to head for a spot of shopping. As well as your usual high street retailers, it is also home to a number of designer brands in what is known as Glasgow’s ‘style mile’. Near Buchanan Street there are also a number of trendy bars, pubs and restaurants. If modern work
you are looking for something authentic, dine at La Lanterna in Hope Street, a family-run Italian restaurant, which was voted the best in Scotland for two years running. If you are after a drink, overlooking the historic George Square is Georgics Bar, which has an extensive cocktail menu. For whiskey lovers, just around the corner in Cochrane Street is the Piper Whisky Bar, which stocks the popular spirit from every Scottish distillery. Famous for its 104-foot long bar, the Horseshoe Bar in Drury Street is a pub with character and certainly worth a visit. If these pubs and bars donâ€™t take your fancy, there are plenty of alternatives to the West End, just a short subway ride away. So combined with the cheap cost of living, the various co-working space options and an abundance of things to do, there is no good reason not to freelance from Glasgow. The only difficulty will be deciding if youâ€™re blue or green and white.
July//August July August2018 2018
Are freelance holidays just a flight of fancy?
By Benedict Smith
won’t lie: before going self-employed, I was under the impression – perhaps naively – that as my own boss I’d be free to go on holiday whenever I wanted, at the drop of a hat. If I fancied a break, then hey, I’d book a flight and shut my laptop for a few days. Nothing like making the most of that brilliant work-life balance everyone talks about, is there? 34
But soon enough, work got busy, and keen to build my reputation and a client base that offered some form of security through recurring projects and retainers, getting away for one week – let alone two – felt virtually impossible. Luckily, it didn’t take me long to realise that I needed to take back control. Why work for yourself if you can’t enjoy the flexibility it offers?
With the remote working revolution well and truly upon us, millions of self-employed people like you and me are now in the fortunate position of being able to mix work with play and even holiday. Sure, these holidays aren’t necessarily holidays in the traditional sense. And for me, work usually plays some part in my trips away. But my modern work
Illustrations: Madeleine Stuart
point is that you don’t need to lose clients or stop earning money the moment you go on holiday. Far from it, actually. In my experience, holidays as a freelancer just take a little extra planning, communication with clients before you go and coming to terms with the possibility that you might spend time working – unless you have someone to take care of business in your absence that is. Unfortunately, I – like plenty of small business owners – don’t at this moment in time. So if you find yourself in the same boat, a quick read of my tips for taking a freelance holiday should help.
GET AHEAD Let’s say you produce assets or set deliverables for clients – whether it’s content, apps or design – it’s worth getting ahead of the game and completing the work due when you’re away before you even go. Granted, this might entail early starts and late nights in the lead-up to your trip, but it does mean your work will effectively be complete before you clock off – barring any emergencies. Do this and theoretically you can switch off for a few days, or as much as you’ll ever be able to when you’re self-employed...
PLAN AHEAD Get an idea of your clients’ busiest periods and, if possible, pencil in a break when they’re away themselves or, when you’re less likely to be called into action. Don’t clear your holiday as if you’re an employee asking a boss, simply let your client know out of professional courtesy that you’re taking a break. If you’re valued, more often than not, your client will understand that you – just like anyone else – need to recharge the batteries. The more time you give them, however, the better, and the less likely you are to take a holiday when you’re in high demand.
CHOOSE CAREFULLY We small business owners are so-called digital nomads, free to work from wherever we want. If you aren’t making the most of this, maybe it’s time you did. I would, however, suggest checking that your villa, hotel or Airbnb has all the tech you need to be able to work from it – however much that might be. You really don’t want to be trekking around looking for reliable Wi-Fi and a half-decent mobile signal, trust me.
July / August 2018
PACK WISELY In fairness, the world caters for remote workers much better these days, but make sure
you’re armed with everything you need, nonetheless. Free data roaming in Europe has been a lifesaver for me on countless occasions, and so has the nifty portable charger I bought for my iPhone, which I take wherever I go. It goes without saying that my laptop comes on holiday too, and I usually spend the journey there tying up any loose ends. RECCE THE AREA The moment I arrive, I go scouting for a bar or restaurant where I can work from for a few hours if needs be. I know a holiday is meant to be a break from work – something my girlfriend often reminds me – but I have to say, there’s something quite liberating about firing up your laptop, ordering a glass of rosé and looking out to sea. Come to think of it, I should probably do it more often. Above all, remember that as a freelancer you no longer live your life in compartments. In my opinion, the boundaries between work and play will always be blurred. But if you ask me, there’s something special about this, and since taking back control, I’ll never take the freedom I have for granted. 35
Ask the expert
Paul Uppal Small Business Commissioner
What advice would you give if a client is late or has not paid you for a job, despite repeated reminders?
irst, where payment is outstanding adopt the check and chase approach. Check the invoice has the correct purchase order number, amount, and has been sent to the correct person or department responsible for paying you. If you have made an error, contact your customer and resend the invoice – don’t assume they will contact you if your invoice is in query. Chase the invoice. Telephone your customer to remind them payment is due and follow up by email. Where monies remain outstanding, write to your customer to request immediate payment and remind them of your right to charge statutory interest. If this does not work, contact the small business commissioner’s office. We can offer a range of options to resolve the dispute and, at no risk to you or your business, investigate the matter on your behalf. We have a free complaints investigation scheme where we can investigate instances of late or unfair payment practices while protecting the identity of the complainant. Furthermore, we can make non-legally binding recommendations for the resolution of the complaint and may in certain circumstances decide to publish those recommendations. Remember, you also have the right to charge statutory interest at eight per cent above the Bank of England base rate from the date that payment of the invoice became due. Charges for late payment need to be invoiced to the business on a new invoice with any interest costs set at statutory limits dependent on the amount of money owed.
Dr Kate Duabney Head of Careers, King’s College London
What advice would you give new freelances who are feeling as if their client is taking advantage of them?
aving worked as a freelancer myself, I know that one of the biggest challenges when you first start up is being clear about exactly what you are offering, and what it is worth. Being unsure or unclear about that is one of the reasons that clients sometimes take advantage, though not necessarily out of malice, just uncertainty! Just as you would if you were applying for an employed role, think carefully about exactly where your skills and knowledge capital lie, and focus on how the scope of any project you are doing aligns with that. It’s helpful to be able to identify the difference between times when you can add additional value to the scope because you think it may generate a longer-term benefit, and when the client has changed the scope or is asking either for something you can’t deliver or that feels unreasonable. Be confident in your own ability and in what you offer, and do be clear with clients early on about any misalignment of expectation or ability to deliver. If the client has not structured the project outline well enough, or if you think there is more exploration or discussion needed to firm that up, be clear about what you can do in the existing scope that feels well aligned to what you offer, and what will require extra resource from you (or others) in time or money.
Reasons to consider private healthcare
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IPSE is introducing AXA PPP healthcare to provide private healthcare insurance.
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A Personal Health plan covers eligible treatments of new conditions that arise after you join. *Terms and conditions Lines are open 9am to 8pm weekdays. Calls may be recorded and/or monitored for quality assurance, training and as a record of the conversation. *Terms and conditions apply. Two months’ discount on private healthcare insurance is available to customers of IPSE only on the purchase of a Personal Health or Health for You plan. Offer limited to customers who are not, and have not in the last three months, been a member of any AXA PPP healthcare Limited individual or corporate plan or policy, or a member of a trust scheme administered by AXA PPP healthcare Administration Services Limited or AXA PPP Administration Services Limited. Offer is non-transferable with no cash alternative. If paying annually, you will only be charged for 10 months of cover. If you pay monthly, the last two months of cover will be free. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, apart from our 5% discount for paying annually. Offer may be withdrawn at any time. The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) is an Introducer Appointed Representative of AXA PPP healthcare Limited. Personal Health is underwritten by AXA PPP healthcare Limited. August 2018 37 AXA July PPP /Healthcare Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England number 3148119. Registered office: AXA PPP healthcare, 5 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1AD.
Networking, seminars & events
WEALTH MANAGEMENT AND FINANCIAL PLANNING SEMINAR WITH CLOSE BROTHERS
WE, THE CREATORS OF MANCHESTER
In celebration of WeWork’s Creator Awards, join them for an evening of conversation, inspiration and networking. They will be hosting a panel discussion followed by a Q&A featuring luminaries from various business sectors.
This full day workshop will cover the essentials of what you need to do to set up and launch a business. It will cover: • A self-assessment of whether you are ready to launch a business or not
Details: Wednesday, 25 July, 18.30-20.00, WeWork 1 St Peter’s Square, Manchester, wethecreatorsmanchester2018.splashthat.com
This seminar is specifically for people who are looking to make the most of their existing pensions, savings and investment portfolios. (IPSE membership required)
• Finding the facts and answering some of the typical questions that arise when starting in business
Details: Wednesday, 26 September, 17.0018.30 Close Brothers, Room 506, Crown Place, EC2A 4FT
• Must-know marketing – find out how marketing to the right customers and in the right marketplace can ensure your success
MY MONEY MANCHESTER
• Financing a new business – start-up funding options you can consider • Demystifying business finances and explaining what the key accounting terms mean
HOW CAN I PROTECT MY BUSINESS IDEA? Learn how intellectual property can protect you and help you profit from your business idea. An understanding of intellectual property and its protection is vital for anyone with an idea, whether it’s a business, an invention, a brand name or a song. This session will introduce the four areas of intellectual property and help you understand which ones may apply to your business. The session provides a basic introduction to patents, trademarks, registered designs and copyright. Details: Monday, 13 August, 14.00-17.00, Business & IP Centre, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB
• Bringing it all together and getting your business plan started Details: Wednesday, 15 August, 10.00-17.00, Business & IP Centre, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB HOW TO HARNESS THE POWER OF YOUR PERSONAL BRAND IN A SOCIAL MEDIA WEBINAR In this session, chartered marketer and independent consultant Luan Wise will introduce the concept of personal branding and how social media can be used to help you show your strengths, build trust, make connections and become a thought leader in your industry.
My Money in Manchester will bring you tailored financial advice from a range of industry experts. There will also be networking opportunities, and the chance to ask the experts your personal finance questions. Details: Wednesday 17 October, 18.00 – 21.00 WeWork No. 1 Spinningfields, Quay St, Manchester M3 3JE IMPROVING FINANCIAL WELLBEING WEBINAR WITH CLOSE BROTHERS This webinar is designed for people who are looking to make their money work harder from budgeting and debt management through to effective savings. (IPSE members only) Details: Monday, 24 October, 13.00 -14.00, ipse.co.uk
Details: Monday 10 September, 12.30- 13.30, online ipse.co.uk
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IPSE - Association of Independent Professionals andÂ the Self-Employed
July / August 2018
Aon is proud to announce our new partnership with IPSE Working together to provide IPSE members with access to exclusive insurance benefits Current insurance offers for IPSE members: Exclusive 10% discount off Professional Indemnity1 and Office2 insurance. Exclusive enhancements to Cyber3 cover at no additional cost.
Professional Indemnity Insurance Protects those who provide professional advice, offer consulting services or handle client data and want to protect against the cost of allegations of professional negligence.
Office Insurance A range of Office products that provide comprehensive cover for your legal liabilities, damage to your property or interruption to your business. Office cover also extends to include damage to documents and, where required for certain businesses, breakdown of any equipment, the cost of legal expenses, and theft by any of your employees*.
Cyber Insurance Covers both your businessâ€™s liability following the loss of personal data, and the cost of meeting your obligations when personal data is lost. Cover can also be extended** to cover the cost of interruption to your business if your systems are unavailable, and the impact of cyber fraud.
Donâ€™t take the risk, ensure you have adequate cover Get in touch to find out more about the special offers for IPSE members or to arrange a no obligation quote. Call our team on
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1 10% discount on current rates applies to clients who have had no Professional Indemnity claims in the last 5 years, subject to minimum policy premiums and underwriting acceptance. 2 10% discount on current rates applies to clients who have had no related Office Insurance claims in the last 3 years, subject to minimum policy premiums and underwriting acceptance. 3
Inclusion of Fraudulent Transfer and Criminal Rewards Costs covers at no additional cost and is subject to underwriting acceptance.
*Breakdown of any equipment, the cost of legal expenses, and theft by any of your employees is available through Office Elite Insurance only ** At an additional premium These offers are open to IPSE members only. You must identify yourself as an IPSE member in order to qualify for these offers at point of quotation. New customers only, offers can be withdrawn at any time. Professional Indemnity, Cyber for Professionals, Office Elite and Office Essentials Insurances are arranged by Aon UK Limited and underwritten by Maven Underwriters, which is a Managing General Agent operating under a delegated underwriting authority on behalf of insurers. Maven Underwriters is a trading name of Aon UK Limited. The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed is an introducer appointed representative of Aon UK Limited which is authorised and
40regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. FP.ENT.2362.TP.
We have a very special cover this edition. Two women. Both freelancers. Both at the top of their game. With research showing women are more...