November 3, 2021

Freelancer News October: the Autumn Budget 2021

Written by Jack Lewis

So, spooky season has been and gone and the smell of bonfires and toffee apples lingers in the air. Here at Dinghy HQ, we’re still trying to get our heads around the clock change, and the fact that it’s dark at 5pm has us wanting to hibernate for the rest of the winter. But of course, there’s no rest for the wicked, so it’s been another busy month on the Dinghy blog. Find out our verdict on whether the Chancellor’s Budget on the 27th contained more tricks or treats for freelancers. We’ve also got the latest on how to turn your interests into your freelancing specialism, what insurances are essential for web designers, and we found a way to legitimately spend work time watching YouTube (no cat videos, sorry). And finally, because we’re trying to be organised this year, and there are only 51 sleeps til Santa comes…we’ve mentioned the dreaded ‘C’ word.

Frightening finances

While the Spring Budget was all about weathering the coronavirus crisis, Rishi Sunak’s Autumn Budget was able to be a bit more forward-looking. The overall news about the economy was largely positive – unemployment is set to peak far lower than expected, and the economy is set to be back to pre-Covid levels as early as the beginning of 2022. This should be good news for freelancers seeking new work and projects. Coming out particularly strongly was the arts, culture and heritage sector, which has been promised £850 million of investment, and an extension of tax relief schemes to 2023. This is great news for freelancers working in creative industries, which were often overlooked in the main packages of coronavirus support last year. You can find out more about the key points of the Budget and how they affect freelancers in our handy summary.

If you pay your taxes by completing a Self-Assessment form, you may have received an email from HMRC about how to declare your SEISS grants. Cast your mind back to the beginning of the pandemic – and if you claimed in the first few rounds of income support grants, then this should be included on your 20/21 tax return – due for completion by 31st January 2022. The email outlines that there will be a special section for declaring income from a SEISS grant: it should NOT be included as “any other income” or as part of your turnover, or you may be taxed twice. There is further guidance available on the government website. Another thing to bear in mind as you gear up to fill in that tax return is that new Making Tax Digital rules have been delayed by a year – but if you want to start to work in the new system now, you can. Find out more about the changes in our blog.

Build your skills

This October, we’ve also had our minds on learning and development. The most successful freelancers are constantly developing their professional skillset, honing their craft, and keeping up-to-date with developments in their field. One easy and no-cost way to build your skills is to look to YouTube. We’ve found that, if you know the right channels to head to, there’s a wealth of freelance business knowledge on there, as well as some cool discipline-specific tricks like working with Photoshop filters and email marketing tips. We’ve sorted out the likes from the unsubscribes to compile you a list of the best YouTubers for freelancers to learn from.

This month, we also looked at the art of specialisation – how you can command higher rates as a freelancer by finding your niche and developing advanced skills and expertise in one focused area. This is a great way to think strategically about how you’re developing your freelance business and to guide investment in your education and training. We also put our web designers in the spotlight this month, by thinking about what insurances are essential for freelancers working in this area.

Christmas is coming

The sight of pumpkins rotting on doorsteps and 75% off witches’ hats in the local supermarket can only mean one thing…we’re on the countdown to Christmas! Whether you’re already decking the halls or feeling a bit bah humbug, we have an exciting festive opportunity for our graphic designers – we want you to design this year’s Dinghy Christmas card! We’re looking for a creative Crimbo design to send out to all our freelancers as an e-card, and the winning design will win an iPad mini! See our article for full details.

Whatever October threw at you, we hope that freelance life is treating you well, and you’re managing to navigate these still uncertain times with strength and resilience. Freelance life can be a lonely business, which is where Dinghy comes in. We created our specialist freelance business insurance policies because we understand how important it is to have someone on your side when things go wrong. Whatever insurances you need to protect your business, Dinghy offers low-cost, flexible policies that you can pause, pay monthly, with no hidden fees. Get your quote on our website today.

About Jack Lewis

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