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Setting Up My Own Company

Oliver Sarfas • June 23, 2019

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How do you go about setting up your own company? Making money? What about tax? Balancing freelance with full time work? I've been through all this, and more over the last months.

This month I took the dive and setup my own Limited Company, CleverEgg Digital

It's been a stressful month, with lots of legal pieces and conversations with accountants. But we're there now! Registered, operating, and ready to trade.

Why did you got for a Limited Company?

The only reason I went Ltd is that it's becoming more and more common that Agencies, and Clients, require you to be a Ltd company. More often that not now, you'll find this a requirement as companies prefer to have the knowledge that you're a registered company, with certain legal backings and insurance.

Ltd works out well for us as well as I can put myself and my partner down as directors and share the tax requirements. She does work for the company as she handles all our inbound enquiries and invoicing at the moment.

Accounting

For this I went with a UK company, based in Brighton, called Crunch. I get a dedicated team who I can call / contact at any time to confirm something I'm unsure about. Funnily enough, the team responsible for me is called The Incredibles; it does turn some heads when I ask for them on the phone!

These guys handle and advise on the best routes for me to take the company down financially. Tax efficiency, legal outlines for expenses, VAT, etc etc. They're great.

They provide an online application where you can submit payments, invoices, dividends, etc., which is also a nice bonus.

Banking

I really wanted to use one of the new FinTechs that are currently rising out of London's banking scene, however as we have a dual-directorship - we were unable to. Starling Bank has said that this is "in progress" at the moment, however no word of an ETA just yet.

In the end, we went with NatWest. My personal banking has always been with these guys, and I've never had faults. Their business accounts come with a free subscription to FreeAgent - which has come highly recommended by friends and colleagues alike.

Getting Paid

Issuing my first invoice was scary. Was I too expensive? Too cheap? Would the client pay? It's crazy the thoughts that go through your head when you're sending that invoice over for the first time.

Having done the hard work and time, just send the invoice. Worst case, it get's challenged, and you arrange for the payment anyway.

Balancing Full Time and Freelance

I'm employed full time as a Head Of Software Development at the the moment. This locks out my 9-5:30 Monday-Friday away from contracting. Which is a major disadvantage for me. It removes me from client calls, major / critical issues, and more importantly, client's often feel left alone as I'm not available. However, my approach is simple;

Outside of my core FT hours, I'm available. I'm available on emails, or Slack should something be urgent, and I'll always do my best to at least acknowledge or respond to the request.

Due to the fact that I work freelance outside of "business hours", it means that when I'm working - I'm uninterrupted and can really push out changes at a great pace. It also means that when my client's go home at 5:30, their changes can be ready for review, or even launched, by the time they get in just before 9am. Effectively turning their business into a 24/7 workshop.

Any Regrets / changes?

Not yet! We've submitted our first few invoices, 3 of which have been settled. We're profitable for at least the next 6 months already, and things are going up all the time.

If anyone would like some non-legal, but personal advise on this situation, let me know in the comments / on Twitter