Paperwork all freelancers need

When we think of freelancers, we think of people who have taken the plunge and escaped the rat race.

They’ve gone rogue so that they can carry out their work in a way that suits them and isn’t shackled down by so many company policies. However, freelancers and contractors aren’t always as free as we might think that they are. In fact, most of their working life is ruled by paperwork and legal documents.

Are you thinking of packing it all in and becoming a freelancer? Make sure you have all of the following paperwork before you start working.

Business license

Before you can start trading and working as a freelancer or contractor, you need to get a business license or register as a freelancer. Before you become self-employed, you will need to choose whether to create your own little business or stay as a sole trader. If you go with the former, then you will need a business license. If you choose the latter then you will need to register as a sole trader. Either way, these are very important pieces of paperwork that you need to start trading.


Once you are working for yourself, you will need to take care of your own payroll and your taxes. Don’t worry if you aren’t a finance whizz, there are plenty of apps and software that can help you track all your finances. ThePayStubs offer tools that help you create your own paystubs for your payroll. Plus, you will find that there are now lots of accounting computer software for reasonable prices, which can help you do your taxes without paying an extortionate fee for an accountant.

Project contracts

Once you find a potential client, you need to write up a contract between the two of you. It’s a good idea to create a template so that you always have a contract on hand whenever you need one. Some big companies and agencies might have their own that they get you to sign. It’s crucial that you have a contract in place before you start working as this sets out the scope of the project and payment. This document will protect you if you ever need to take a client to court.


Ready to get paid? You need an invoice template so that you can fill one out for each client at the end of your projects. Your clients will only be able to pay you once they have received this document. Make sure that you mention your preferred payment terms so that you don’t have to wait around too long for your money!

Confidentiality agreement

You might find that some clients want you to sign a confidentiality agreement (sometimes known as an NDA) before you get to work. This is just so they have peace of mind that you won’t tell anyone else of their competitors what exactly you have been working on.

Once you have all of the above paperwork ready to go, you are good to start your new life as a freelancer!

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