Final considerations


For those freelancers working in the fast-paced media and creative sectors, one of the dangers of freelancing is that skills may become outdated. This especially applies to freelancer working on long contracts or projects that limit their chances to invest in learning. While the same could be said for permanent staff, they often have access to free training and have more of a say in the development of new skills on-site.

It is worth investing in 'weekender' training courses to keep up-to-date with changes in technology and trends, or using the increasing number of free online based training courses. If you have time, why not learn basic internet skills (such as HTML), you could build your own website to advertise your skills online, and pick up some skills along the way.

It is worth bearing in mind that in December 1999, the Paymaster General announced that 'training expenses' would have to form part of the '5% allowance' for those caught by IR35. Clearly, this proportion of a contractor's income is not sufficient to cover any meaningful training courses, so if you are caught by the new rules, we'd recommend looking at the vast range of free (or low cost) online technology courses.

What happens if I can’t work through illness?

As a permanent employee would probably have had private healthcare, sickness and life insurances as part of your salary package. As a contractor you will not be given any of these, therefore you ought to provide for them yourself. This is a complicated area and we recommend that you seek professional advice from an Independent Financial Adviser or Insurance broker

More on insurance for freelancers and starting up as a freelancer.