Despite all of the Brexit news and IR35 updates, the news has been quiet on the freelance front for a while. But at A Freelance Life, we like to keep you in the know about things that might affect your life as a freelancer. So, here’s your quarterly freelance news update for Autumn 2019.
#1 Freelancing on the up
The most recent stats suggest that freelancing is growing rapidly. In fact, the UK freelance market working via platforms such as Upwork has risen from 2.3 million people in 2016 to 4.8 million in 2019. Plus with the Brexit uncertainly preventing many employers from hiring permanently, freelancers are well-placed to complete projects and plug the gap.
#2 IR35 getting closer
The April 2020 implementation of the IR35 reform gets ever nearer, yet seemingly no clearer. The risk of IR35 for freelancers is that clients will be wary of hiring self-employed people and put a blanket ban on it. However, the reality is this is less likely to apply to small, flexible, creative freelancers who work for multiple clients. It’s also worth noting that sole traders aren’t affected by IR35, so you only need to be concerned if you operate as a company—in which case start looking into IR35 more carefully.
#3 Brexit implications
Likewise, the possible impacts of Brexit are difficult to predict for freelancers. If you travel for work as a freelancer, such as interpreters or translators, then you may have to apply for visas in the future and deal with increased flight prices. If you source materials from the EU, this may also be affected by tariffs. Finally, if you work with EU clients, you may need accreditation recognised by the EU after Brexit. That said, we won’t know for sure until Brexit happens, so the best you can do for now is set aside a Brexit buffer to cover any unexpected costs.
#4 Freelance ghosting
While “ghosting” is often talked about in relation to the employed world, it seems that freelancers aren’t immune to it either. According to a recent study, the creative industries are particularly bad for ghosting, whether it’s successful candidates failing to turn up for jobs they’ve been offered or companies disappearing on their candidates. You can’t do much to prevent a client from ghosting on you, but it’s always good practice to be honest with clients about whether you can and want to do the work—don’t just vanish on them.
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