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Captain Ahab Jr Captain Ahab Jr is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: England and Slovenia
Posts: 1,585
Thank you all for the sage advice and to you Angela for your detailed reply, much appreciated

Originally Posted by Laneco View Post
I opened my own business a few years ago as a consultant. I got some good advice from the Pelican flock so I'll share it with you (plus a few other tidbits I learned the hard way).

1. Setup your business with the advice of your tax professional. I realize things are different over the pond than here - but taxes are taxes... and the choice of your business structure and pricing needs to involve your tax professional.
Check!, We have a very good tax professional, company bought 1/43 scale model race cars come under 'office display' or 'company heritage' spending

2. Your time is always worth something. The time that you do not bill a client for such has invoicing time, incidental research, personal professional training/certifications, etc., are time that you take away from what you DO bill the client for and are a necessary part of your business. Think of it as overhead. You need to charge enough money billable to cover your "overhead."

3. Charge a retainer that is at least enough to cover all your hard expenses. If you get stiffed for least you are not out "hard money" for the expenses.
I've not gone this route before, I normally send an invoice for my hours, for this consultancy role we have yet to discuss payment terms, I leave this subject to last after I know I'm the right person they are after and if I want to do it, still need to thrash out the scope of the project too.

4. Keep on top of the billing. Though you run the risk of chilling the relationship, don't let people straggle to pay. I had a customer that was out a huge amount of money with me (27% of my total year's work). My house was going into foreclosure before I finally got pay...
Check! Learnt the hard way too, had to send a 'if my invoice is not paid in full within x working days I will be charging x% a day until the total amount is paid in full', don't think my customer was trying to get out of paying but it focused them enough to pay the same day

5. Treat every day as a workday. I have often been tempted to stay in my pajamas but I found that when I did...I tended to take more breaks and my attention wandered badly. Dressing for work even when no one was around put me in the mindset of WORKING.
Check! I don't work from home, my home is my home not an out sourced office and I enjoy/need an office/factory environment to get stuff done but one day I may work from home so thanks for the valuable advice

6. Take the off time to heart. Shut the phone off and close the computer up entirely if you are off and at night (if possible). I tended to never take the time completely off. The result was that I was often close to burn out.
Check! I went way beyond burn out Have new approach to work and leave more me time, I'll do everything I can for my clients but will not attempt to make up for bad planning or lack of resource by burning myself into an early grave again

Hope some of that helps you. I loved the time that I did this and will likely do it again. I only stopped because a most remarkable offer came along from one of my customers (whom I now work for full time).
I'm really enjoying freelance work with no regrets 4 yrs in, the freedom, work has been more interesting and varied, increased my skill set, knowledge/experience far more than I'd find working full time for one company.

1988 Toyota 4Runner Gen1
1989 Porsche 930
1990 Porsche 964
1994 Toyota 4Runner Gen 2
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