When I talk about my job I like to focus on the exciting bits. People always want to know about what it’s like to write a book, speak at events or have the ability to work from anywhere in the world. And as much as I shout about the creative fulfilment I get from work, the reality is some aspects of my work life are rather boring.
Sure, I can write from anywhere. I’ve been known to work from my brother’s house in Australia, or from a holiday home off the east coast of Scotland. But nine times out of ten you’ll find me at my desk, sipping on a lukewarm coffee. Most likely I’ll be preparing to host a virtual event that only requires clothes from the waist up. Comfortable? Yes. Glamorous? Not exactly.
Instagram vs reality
The thing with social media is that it can paint a false picture of what it means to work for yourself. Whenever I see a photograph of a business owner working from somewhere exotic like the Bahamas I worry that people are getting the wrong end of the stick. Influencers rarely talk about their failures as much as their successes, but I wanted to be honest about freelancing in my book, Out of Office: Ditch the 9-5 and Be Your Own Boss, and with that came my promise to offer solid advice on the less fun aspects of self-employment. Or to be more specific, the admin side of setting up that no one really talks about.
Even though I’d already been freelancing for a few years when I sat down to write my book, the topic of insurance had never really crossed my mind. I knew it was something I should probably look into, but working from home alone I wondered, how could it possibly benefit me? I saw insurance as a thing for people with brick and mortar premises or expensive equipment at risk of being stolen. I thought as a company of one, I was safe to take the risk and plough on without it.
But I felt a sense of responsibility to leave no stone unturned, so after a few months of research, I decided to take a closer look at insurance for freelancers. Thankfully, I was able to ask the experts at Dinghy HQ, to clear up a few common misconceptions about why we need insurance. Our conversation completely changed the way I think about the topic.
Why do freelancers need insurance?
Most freelancers don’t know anything about insurance, and this can mean they either pick the wrong policy or avoid it completely. That’s why I was so relieved when I found out that Dinghy specialises in insurance for freelancers above anyone else. There are some risks for freelancers that many of us don’t think about. For example, you could make a mistake that has a financial impact on your client (this is what Professional Indemnity Cover is for) or accidentally injure a stranger or damage their belongings when you’re working in a co-working space or cafe (cue Public Liability Insurance).
Dinghy’s worldwide equipment insurance means that if your laptop breaks when you’re out and about or travelling for work, the claims handlers will work with you to get a replacement ASAP. What many freelancers don’t know is that home insurance might automatically exclude items used outside of your house, and quite often business gear isn’t covered at all. How would your business function if you lost access to your laptop for more than a few days? Would you need to replace it immediately? And could you afford to do that without financial help?
Reducing the risks
The penny dropped when I realised that no matter how careful I am as a freelancer, there is an endless number of external factors that can impact my work. It’s a no-brainer for me to cover as many bases as possible. If I wasn’t already 100% convinced to get insurance, I then learned about the cherry on top. Something called Freelancer Assist.
This benefit from a Dinghy policy means that you get access to 24/7 helplines for legal matters, tax investigation and counselling. In a 2019 study by Leapers, over 64% of self-employed respondents said that chasing late or unpaid invoices were the top cause of money stressors in their work life. It’s one of the most common issues that freelancers face, and without paying for lawyers to get involved many of us feel helpless when it comes to getting what we’re owed. But with Freelancer Assist, Dinghy’s insurance provider will chase up any late payments over £200 on your behalf, using their legal team to make sure you get what you’re owed.
I may not be working from a beach in the Bahamas anytime soon, but I’ve still got plenty of wins to celebrate. I’ve just about made it through 2021 unscathed, and know that even though the next few years are uncertain, I’ve taken the right steps to protect my business against the future.
Fiona Thomas is a freelance writer with work published in Reader’s Digest, Grazia, Metro and Happiful Magazine. The flexibility of freelancing has had a positive impact on her mental wellbeing and she now seeks to show others that they too can work happily, healthily and have a successful career to boot. Her latest book Out of Office: Ditch the 9-5 and Be Your Own Boss encapsulates this and is out now.