How to Make Sure You’re Earning Enough When Self-Employed

There’s been a lot of controversy over the unfairness of the ‘gig economy’ on workers this week.

This has come to a head with threats to Hermes that they should be investigated by HMRC because of claims self-employed couriers earn less than minimum wage, a Guardian investigation reported.

For those of us who go self-employed voluntarily, this seems to be giving the self-employed business structure a bad name. If you’re worried that your freelance business isn’t going well and that you aren’t earning enough, here are some valuable takeaways for every self-employed worker.

Crunch the numbers

The couriers at Hermes are paid per parcel so their earnings are subject to different variables, including how quickly the parcel can be delivered and non-work related interruptions.

They also pay for their own fuel and car insurance and must go through unpaid training. Once couriers had factored everything in and after expenses, some were earning as little as £3 an hour.

While these are shocking figures, the fact is that the couriers only know this because they took the time to see how money was being spent.

Rather than accepting whatever comes into your bank and being grateful, you should stay on top of your finances and keep a close eye on what you’re earning. It’s only by doing this that you’ll learn if you’re getting enough to pay the bills.

Up your prices

One of the issues that the Guardian report uncovered was that couriers were given a near-impossible schedule. The hefty workload couriers are forced to work under has faced a lot of criticism since the report.

If seems like you’re working around the clock to make ends meet, but still aren’t covering the bills it’s probable that you’re undercharging your clients.

Take the bull by the horns and speak to your clients. They’ll appreciate honesty rather than sneakily raising your rates without notifying them. You might lose a couple on the way but the chances are that you’ll gain more permanent and respectful client-base, so hang in there!

Increase your workload

Hermes couriers are notoriously overworked. The parcel giant has a tight agenda couriers must keep to, otherwise they risk losing the work completely.

All self-employed workers often have a big workload and little time for themselves, so if you’re seeing big gaps of time starting to appear something could be wrong.

Rather than twiddling your thumbs and waiting for work to find you, get marketing and scout out your next potential clients. Try to find the balance between work and marketing and you’ll rarely have to go through a rocky freelancer patch again.

Have you fallen on tough times as a self-employed freelancer? Or are you struggling to understand what all the fuss is about? Leave your comments in the section below!

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