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Running your own business

As a freelancer there is plenty to consider in terms of setting up your own business, will you set up a company or act as a sole trader for example?   What are your legal obligations in terms or record keeping and tax?   How can you ensure you make the most of your hard earned money?  An exploration of the nitty gritty of setting up your own journalism/writing business.

Martin Ince, President ABSW, Freelance journalist

Toby Murcott, Freelance journalist and sole trader

Richard Hollingham, Boffin Media

Martin Connell, Accountant

Liveblog will appear here.

The session begin!
14:00 Toby Murcott is sharing his secret of being a successful freelancer. This is having separate business account for all income from the job minus 40 percent of them for the living expense. Although he could earn more than he is now, Toby didn’t do that because he want to spent time for other things. Toby said the balance of life is really important to him and he suggested other freelancers think abut it too.

Richard Hollingham said there are many kind of cost for doing an own business. But he also agree that having business account is necessary.

14:20 Martin Connell talk about tax aspect, a vital things when doing your own business. He emphasised that many freelancers forget that as a self-employee, a person need to pay 50% of the the next year tax in advance. And the company owner need to register his/her business. Beside that, if troubles appeared, he suggested that looking for professional advice is necessary in some particular cases.

14:37 Toby Murcott: Introduces himself and his background as a sole trader. His path to freelancing started when the previous business he was working for went bust.

Toby says, you do not want to get on the wrong side of the Inland Revenue. So he puts a large percentage of his income every month into a separate bank account. This means at the end of the year he can pay off the tax man and pay himself a nice bonus. This is the best piece of advice he has for any budding businessperson.

The key to a good business is a good back up. Make sure your content is backed up offsite, because you never know what could happen.


Richard Hollingham: Get yourself an accountant. It means you don’t have to worry about the money and things are so much easier. When I started I did my own accounts. The rules have got so much more complicated, it is worth getting an accountant.

We’ve offloaded our VAT, partly because we are scared.

I don’t put as much aside as Tony, but I still put 25% into a separate account. Because you do not want to get caught short by the taxman.

If you do go freelance, you need to get some core regular work to get you set up.
Martin Connell: There are two ways you can really operate: either as a sole trader, or as part of a limited company. They both have advantages and disadvantages.

Sole traders don’t necessary need an accountant, but it can get fairly complicated. So I do encourage them to seek the help of an accountant. If you are self employed, your accountant bills will be less than for a limited company.

If you are a limited company, your accountant fees will be higher, but you will pay a lot less in tax.

Limited companies now only need one director and one shareholder. It is a lot easier than it used to be. Being a limited company also means you need to publish your accounts.

Avoid using the big firms of accountants. They are usually very poor value for money. But any accountant you do choose, check they are registered and chartered.

If you are a limited company, you will need a registered office.It can make some people squeamish to register their own home.

14:38 Question: What time is suitable for thinking about opening a own business?

Martin Connell:When earning more than 30.000 pound in a year.

14:52 The session end and many freelancers contacted the panel to discuss problems of doing their own business.


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