Albert in Lancashire Evening Telegraph

A fantastic story about the self-employed journey of Albert user Harriet.

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Lancashire Evening Standard
September 11, 2018

Trade body IPSE reports solo self-employed freelancers contributed a whopping £271 bn to the UK economy, enough to fund the NHS twice over.

The North West boasts the UK’s fourth biggest cluster of freelancers, after London, the South East, and South West, but more than Scotland and Yorkshire.

There is no professional barrier to being a freelance. Today’s self-employed workforce comprise those working in the arts and music, technicians, teachers, carers, childminders, dog walkers, tech stars, health and social workers, sparkies, and tradespeople.

Cake makers too! One in seven freelancers are working mums.

Demand for independent professionals comes not only from the customer, but from SMEs and other employers that want access to talent on flexible terms. IPSE, a trade body representing freelancers, reports that freelancers love how they work and make an active choice to do it their way.

They reporting not to somebody else, but to themselves.

Getting your finances right is the key to a successful business, whatever sector you work in, whether you’re self employed or a contractor working for a single or for multiple employers.

That is regardless or whether you’re being paid electronically by BACS, direct debit or of course in cash.

Lack of financial skills and planning is the single biggest reason for small business failure.

Invoicing, expensing, gathering receipts, bundling info for an accountant are all part and parcel of the job, and cannot be ignored. This can take a couple of hours a week, usually on the weekend, but get it right, and you’re more that halfway there.

Establishing yourself with your bank is another issue - do you open up a business bank account, or work with your own personal account.

In 2015, Harriet Gingell left her job as a professional dancer to open her own studio. Before long, Sparkle Dance Studio was born and Harriet never been busier. The studio on Greenbank Street In Preston has grown from strength to strength and now lists over 150 students. Harriet said": “I teach over 50 classes a week, so anything is better then sitting down invoicing 150-plus sets of parents for their offsprings’ dance classes!

To do that, I use an app I found on the App Store, called Albert, which helps me create and send invoices and catalogue my expenses on the go.

With the app, I track what goes out, what comes in, and what’s pending in real time. I get more done now with Albert than I ever could. Anything is better that spending Sunday evening watching Word crash!”.

Here are Harriet’s top tips for freelancers:

  • Technology can help you - check it out

  • Provide exceptional customer service

  • Set realistic goals

  • PR - Word of mouth is the best source of advertising and it’s FREE!

  • Make sure you have a great support network around you

  • Stay up to date with all the latest trends in your field

  • Have a strong presence on social media

  • Know your product & what makes it unique

  • When its get tough don’t give up

  • Love your business & in return it will love you.”

Lucy Watson