Having spent an extensive career in the retail banking and investment world, Denise diversified into accounting. She decided to begin her freelance career after she successfully worked as a Management Accountant for five years and realised it was time to quit the nine ‘til five life and become a freelance business support professional. She offers all the elements of business and administration that were the nuts and bolts of her working life – Busy Business Support.
Her mantra is 'everything in order, everything balancing and everybody happy' and we caught up with her about experience of freelancing so far…
Moxie & Mettle: Why did you want to become a freelancer?
Denise Beckingham: I’ve had a fairly long career and wanted to benefit personally from the expertise I was providing to employers and be able to govern how much time I wanted to put into my working life.
Moxie & Mettle: What do you need to get started as a freelancer?
Denise Beckingham: I registered with HMRC for self-assessment and set up a website, email address and logo. I also bought a laptop. I initially contacted my LinkedIn contacts who I had relevant history with and previous business contacts. I also registered with recruitment agencies for temporary work and these in turn led to more lasting relationships and assignments.
Moxie & Mettle: What's your freelance work like?
Denise Beckingham: I thoroughly enjoy the freedom to choose when I work and what time of day I start! It gives me the freedom to arrange leisure pursuits and also to decide how much work I take on.
Moxie & Mettle: What gave you the courage to quit your job and start freelancing?
Denise Beckingham: I received a lot of encouragement from family when I proposed the idea and I think this is extremely important. I also have a family member who had successfully freelanced for 3 years and I was able to gain an insight and get a lot of useful advice.
Moxie & Mettle: What are the benefits?
Denise Beckingham: Having more flexibility is my main benefit. I’m also able to have more variety of work.
Moxie & Mettle: Are there any downsides?
Denise Beckingham: I think you have to be prepared for peaks and troughs. The peaks mean you have to be realistic as to how much work you can actually take on at any one time and it’s best to be totally honest and try to negotiate a longer timescale if possible. When there is a lull, I fall back on temporary recruitment opportunities.
Moxie & Mettle: What advice could you give to other freelancers?
Denise Beckingham: Plan exactly what your business is going to be and who your target market is. Definitely put at least 25% of your income aside for tax and national insurance and if you’re a student you may need to think about student loan payments. Be confident, be prepared and take the plunge!
On a side note, if you are thinking about freelancing/are a freelancer we have a Facebook page dedicated to just that click here to join.
If any other freelancers are interested in featuring in 'our chat with' series of how to be successful at freelancing, please email: [email protected]
Written by Isabelle Peters