Five signs you’ve been freelancing too long

Posted on Jul 15th, 2015 | Running a business

Are you a grizzled veteran of the freelancing world? Does your contracting history stretch back into the dark ages?

We know plenty of hardcore, career freelancers and we’ve polled a few of them to bring you the five surest signs you’ve been working for yourself for perhaps a bit too long.

1. You’ve secretly become a tax expert

The myriad tax jargon faced by freelancers is a constant source of agony for newbies, which is why most freelancers become relatively adept with accounting and bookkeeping after their first year. For some seasoned freelancers, though, accountancy could just about be their second job. If you know the following accountancy and tax terms, you’re quite possibly over the freelancing hill:

2. You do your accounts in a spreadsheet

It seems a head for figures is what truly separates the freelancing men from the contracting boys, as this quirk was the second most popular indicator of veteran status.

Sure, you could use some desktop or online accounting software, but why bother when a good old-fashioned spreadsheet will do? All those cells and formulas in glorious organised uniformity – what’s not to love?

3. You’re an end-of-week desk drinker

Nothing says “My work here is done” quite like cracking open your bevvie of choice right then and there at your desk when 5pm on Friday rolls around, and many old-timers seem to find this the perfect way to bookend the working week (work-life balance is an important skill, remember!).

A few of the freelancers we spoke to even keep a snifter of their favourite tipple close at hand for such occasions which is, depending on your point of view, impressively efficient or borderline problematic.

4. You have a killer repartee with your dog

I’ll readily admit that my dog is a big part of my freelancing career – however I’m also careful to get out of the house and socialise as often as possible. If you live in a remote area, or have lots of work on, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to get out. Idle chit-chat with a furry companion is fine (it could also be a cat – if you’re a weirdo), but if you find yourself holding lengthy one-sided conversations it might be time to think about a desk in a coworking space. Any of these sound familiar?

“Daddy scored a new contract, yes he did! Who’s a puppy?”

“Do you like this kerning, Fido? I really like this kerning.”

“What’s 8% interest on top of £1,500? What do you mean you don’t know?!”

5. You have go-to people in every conceivable niche

It’s always a great idea to have an inner circle of fellow freelancers you can throw work to once in a while if you can’t take it on yourself. The worldly, seasoned freelancer, however, will have a contact list of encyclopaedic length.

You need someone to consult on the Derivatives market in Papua New Guinea? I know just the person!

An industrial waste disposal expert in the West Midlands with Public Sector experience, you say? Let me put you in touch!

Are you a veteran freelancer? Show off your…err…quirks in the comments!

Useful tools and resources

Business guides

From understanding expenses to starting a limited company, we've a range of jargon-free business guides for you to download and keep.

Invoicing software and templates

Create, send and store sole trader invoices in a snap with our free invoice software. You can also download a selection of invoice templates for all business types.

Take-home pay calculator

Use our Take-Home Pay Calculator to work out your true earnings and see if you could save money with a different company set up.