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Freelance while employed!?!

Discussion in 'General Forum' started by chudy-stuey, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. chudy-stuey

    chudy-stuey New Member

    Hi there
    I am a graphic designer and have worked at the same company for 10 years and want to now try freelancing however I can't afford to give up the job just yet. My contract says nothing about freelancing.

    Am I allowed to become a freelancer while working?

    Do I need to declare it to my current boss?

    and if not is it a sackable offence if found out?

    Thanks for your help
  2. MickeyFinn

    MickeyFinn Administrator

    What to do in your own time is up to you. None of your boss' concern. Certainly no need to declare it to him and only be worried if you are pinching his clients. No point pinching clients until you have left the job permanently :grin

    Good luck with finding some freelance work!
  3. chudy-stuey

    chudy-stuey New Member

    Thats what I thought and no I wouldn't even approach any of the clients. Thanks for your reply...now the hard work really begins!
  4. GTFC

    GTFC New Member


    They do say you should never burn your bridges, so I'd be a bit careful about doing anything which might cause you a problem in your current job, especially if you can't afford to be without it while you're building up the freelance work. I'm not saying you should necessarily openly declare that you're freelancing (unless you think they would be 100% OK about it in which case it's always the best bet) but be very careful to stay 'whiter than white' when it comes to avoiding their clients or doing anything which could be classed as poaching, or attempting to. I'm not sure it would give your existing clients a very good impression anyway.

    As to setting up a freelance business whilst employed, the other thing to remember is that if clients are to take you seriously, they are going to want to be able to contact you during the business day. I'm not saying everyone will be put off by the fact that you're working evenings and weekends, but it will make it harder to bring in the kind of work which pays what you need in order to be eventually able to give up work. It's a real catch 22 that all us freelancers face!

    Hope that helps,


  5. chudy-stuey

    chudy-stuey New Member

    Hi Gill
    Thanks for the advice, that was another concern of mine not being in proper contact with the clients during working hours.

    I think for now i just wanted to start up something small with maybe a website for advertisement and take it from there, just to earn a little extra cash and see how things develop.

    I would love to leave the company and throw everything i've got at making it work but i just couldn't afford to do that right now! Not a perfect way of doing things but nevermind.

    Any advice on starting up ie tax issues etc and do you need some form of insurance? Touch wood our company has never been taken to court over a job but not too sure how it works if we were!

    I'm probably jumping the gun with that question but good to know all the facts first!

    Thanks again

  6. GTFC

    GTFC New Member

    Hi Stu,

    I'm sure someone will clarify, but I think I'm right in saying that as soon as you start earning money from freelancing, even if you are still working, you do need to register as self-employed with HM Revenue and Customs, and start paying Class 2 national insurance. You also need to keep records of all your earnings and delare them to the tax office as well as your normal income. However, keep track of all your 'business' expenses as well as you can offset these against tax - stationery, IT equipment, mileage to meetings and so on. I normally put 30% of everything I bill into a separate account and that's always covered it so far. That way you never get caught out when the tax bill arrives!

    On the insuarnce, I know this is a concern for some people, but it's very expensive and I've never needed it in five and a half years of trading. Anything you create will be approved by the client anyway so they would not have a leg to stand on if they later tried to claim that something you had produced for them had damaged their business in some way. This type of thing is really only an issue for a consultant (for example) where the client could argue that your advice (which they followed) had been at fault and had damaged the business or caused them to lose money.


  7. nathski

    nathski New Member

    Employee and Self employed?

    Hi Y'all

    I am in a similar position, although not really wanting to go freelance full time I still dabble at some weekends/evenings and keep up the day job during the week. The kind of jobs that i take on as a freelancer I know we wouldn't take on during my "proper" job anyway.


    In the past I have earned a bit of beer money cash in hand for the odd freelance web/ print/logo job. I have now clocked up quite a large stack of work from one freelance client and would like to go legit and register as self employed and pay the tax due.

    My question is can my employer see that I am registered as self employed? will i have to tell him?

  8. Jog On

    Jog On New Member

    Can you talk to your HR dept in confidence?

    They will be able to clarify exactly what your situation is regarding this and have to be 100% confidential.
  9. nathski

    nathski New Member

    well thats the thing.. its a very small company and the boss is the HR dept.
  10. Jog On

    Jog On New Member

    Aaahhh.... Does it say anything about it in your contract?
  11. nathski

    nathski New Member

    Never had or signed a contract... don't ask.
  12. Jog On

    Jog On New Member

    Sounds like there's nothing legally binding to stop you moonlighting then :banana
  13. Group9293

    Group9293 New Member

    Hi there,

    Was reading your conversation and I have a story of a similar position but the opposite way round. I had a web design company of my own a few years ago and employed a graphic designer but he was self employed and did all his own tax and we werent sure how to go about this as we wanted to employ him, we investigated what the legal thing to do was with tax etc and it worked out that we couldnt it was either one way or the other, so in the beginning he continued as self employed and he billed us for his hours. But as you say if you havent signed anything or no-one actually said to you cant do any freelance work then you are not legally in the wrong.

    Diana :)
  14. nothingisfree

    nothingisfree New Member

    Check your contract!


    A self-employed person doing specific pieces of work for various employers .

    A person who sells services to employers without a long-term commitment to any of them.

    An uncommitted independent, as in politics or social life.[/B]

    Check your contract before assuming this is ok!

    Most employers will not stand for Moonlighting.

    Sorry If I sound old fashioned but it does seem that generation Y needs to listen and learn rather than make dubious assumptions.

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