• N I K A N I K A •

PERSONAL BLOG OF A CREATIVE FREELANCER

WORKING WITH CREATIVE RECRUITERS

FreelancingRosa KoolhovenComment

HOW A RECRUITING AGENCY WORKS

A Recruiter is like a match-maker between a Freelancer/Contractor and a Creative Agency. When an agency needs an extra pair of hands for a pitch or client presentation, they send a request out to one (or many) of the recruiting agencies they work with. The recruiter will then select a few freelancers from their database who are available and fit the job description and day rate. As a freelancer you will always need to give permission before the recruiter can send over your portfolio to their client. When an match is made and the booking is confirmed, the recruiting agency will handle the contract, timesheets and payments. Within just a few hours you can be secured with a job for the following week. At the end of every week, you send the Recruiting Agency a timesheet with your invoice and most of them pay you within 7 days. The Recruiter invoices the Creative Agency and charge their own fee on top.

 


PROS AND CONS


CONS

  • Lower day rate, as the recruiter will add their own fee on top of yours.
  • Not allowed to work directly with a client within 6 (sometimes 12) months of them introducing you. 
  • Recruiters get paid when you work, so they can sometimes be a bit overeager. 
  • If you have Freelancer in your LinkedIn description, you will get bombarded with invites from recruiters. Be selective.
  • Communicate exactly what work you want to do, or they might book you for the wrong job. (No pwp!)
  • You need to keep track of which recruiter introduced you to which agency, to prevent being put forward for the same job.

PROS

  • Acces to the biggest creative agencies via their network. This will help build yours. LinkedIn is your friend!
  • These big agencies trust them to only send over their best talent for the job. So you have a higher change to get in.
  • Most of them pay you within a week, even if the client takes forever to pay them.
  • Recruiters get paid when you work, so they are eager to get you on a job.
  • They will negotiate your day rate and overtime fees, so you don't have to deal this.
  • You can work whenever you want, for as long as you want. Just let them know and they will contact you with the right jobs. 
  • You can have multiple recruiters working for you, talking to multiple agencies at the same time. You the boss!

LONDON - Night Tales Bar

PlacesRosa KoolhovenComment
NT's

Night Tales or NT's is a new neighbourhood bar and cafe in London Fields, Hackney. NT’s is an impressive, open plan New York loft style warehouse with gritty urban views looking out onto the railway tracks. The interior is cosy and I love the massive amounts of plants inside the space. The food is done by Morty & Bobs, who serve delicious grilled cheese toasties and salads for lunch. This is an excellent hangout in the center of Hackney and with a bit of luck, you will be treated on a spectacular sunset.

LIMITED, SOLE TRADE OR UMBRELLA? WHAT TO know WHEN GOING FREELANCE.

BusinessRosa KoolhovenComment

In the UK there are three different ways to work as a freelancer or contractor; As a Sole Trader, through an Umbrella Company or as a Limited Company. What the best option for you is, depends on your situation. In this blog post I will try to explain in a simple way the differences between them. I also made a list of the Pros and Cons on each one of them. 

Sole Trader

This is a small business owned by one person. A Sole Trader takes on all the responsibility for running the business and is allowed to keep the profits after Tax is paid, but... she is also fully liable for any losses the business makes! Setting yourself up as a Sole Trader is very simple, you only have to register your company and you can start trading straight away. Being a Sole Trader also allows you to hire staff, because even though it is run by one individual, it doesn't mean that you have to work alone. 

Umbrella company

An Umbrella Company basically acts as your employer. You submit the amount of hours you worked online and they handle the rest. They invoice the client and pay you after the deduction of Tax, National Insurance, any expenses you made and of course.. their own fee. This way you don't have to deal with the paperwork. You enjoy the freelance lifestyle, but technically you are an employee of the Umbrella Company.

Limited company

When you set up a Limited Company you become the Director of your own business. You can also set up a company with multiple people / shareholders. There is quite a bit of paper work that goes into it, but in this way your company is responsible for its own legal and financial decisions. It's finances are separated from your personal finances and your company pays you a salary. Any profit that you make is owned by the company and Corporation Tax has to be paid on this. Whatever is left can be withdrawn from the business by the Director as Dividends. And this is more tax-efficient! 


pros and cons


SOLE TRADE

Pros

  • Any profit after tax is yours to keep
  • You have control over your own business
  • Less paperwork
  • Accountants charge less for sole traders
  • Maximum privacy

Cons

  • You are fully liable for any debt or losses
  • No distinction between private and business assets
  • Scalability is limited
  • Difficult to get large contracts as it has less professional credibility 
  • Limited lifespan 

UMBRELLA

Pros

  • Very easy to use
  • No paperwork or dealing with HMRC
  • Ideal for when you are in between permanent jobs or unsure if freelancing is for you
  • The ability to claim back expenses such as travel, meals, tools etc.

Cons 

  • You take less money home as there are greater tax charges
  • Low status. Clients might think you are not as established or experienced
  • Less control

LIMITED

Pros

  • Most tax-efficient
  • Claim a wide range of expenses
  • No personal risk
  • High status 
  • Able to set up a pension scheme
  • Complete control of your business
  • Protection of company name

Cons

  • The paperwork and administration
  • Less privacy. Accounts and other details are held on public records 
  • Accountancy fees are high
  • Paying Corporation Tax

When I started working as a contractor and freelancer, I was advised to set up as a Limited Company. It is a bit more paperwork and it took me some time to get my head around dividends, taxes and expenses. But once I had it all going, it is easy! Also being the 'Director' of my your company made me feel great and it gave me a confidence boost. It separated me as a person from my work and it became easier to negotiate with clients. Because now the decisions I was making, wouldn't impact just me but also my business! 

LONDON - Flat Planet

PlacesRosa KoolhovenComment
Flat Planet

I found myself super early on a Monday in Soho, London, waiting for an appointment at 10.30.. so I was looking for a place to work. Luckily coffee shop Flat Planet opens its doors at 8am. The interior is cosy and the atmosphere is relaxed and laid back. Downstairs they have more spaces where you can work quietly and the staff will just leave you be. I didn't have any of their flatbread, since I was there only for breakfast, but I might go back sometime and try it out. 

CREATIVE RECRUITERS - RECOGNISE THE GOOD AND THE BAD

FreelancingRosa Koolhoven1 Comment

Some freelancers love them, some hate them. In the past 3 years of freelancing in London I have worked with many recruiting agencies and had good and bad experiences. In the end it all comes down to the person you are dealing with, but there are some things that I have learned along the way that might be helpful if you are thinking about working with a recruiting agency. 

WHAT IS A GOOD CREATIVE RECRUITER?

I was very lucky to come across one of the best recruiters in London when I started out. He really guided me into the world of freelancing and pushed my confidence and with that my day rate upwards. Recognising a good recruiter is easy. First make sure the recruiter wants to meet you face to face. You should treat this meeting as a job interview. A good recruiter wants to get to know you and your skill set, what you like to do and how you want to grow. Be honest about your experience and knowledge. There is no point in over or under selling yourself, this won't benefit anyone. If you feel that you have a good connection with this person, you can then sign up to their agency and let them know about your availability. A good recruiter will always ask your permission to send your portfolio over to their clients. This way you can check out the agency first, look at the work and decide if it will be a good fit. Sometimes it happens, you get booked and the job wasn't for you. Just communicate this to your recruiter. A good recruiter will work for and with you, and will be happy with the feedback. Most of the time they will check in with you after your first day on the job and see how everything is going. It is important to them that they place you at the right job. See it as a cycle upwards; they get you a job, you give feedback, so they will get you a better job next time. 

A GOOD RECRUITER WANTS TO GET TO KNOW YOU AND YOUR SKILL SET.

AND A BAD ONE?

This comes from a personal experience to show you how a recruiter or recruiting company shouldn't behave. 

I once got a call out of the blue by someone working for a recruiting agency with already a bit of a bad reputation. The guy told me I was perfect for a job he had going at a big agency. Since I cycle everywhere in London, I always want to know the location of the place and this one was extremely far out. I was just getting on my bike when he called, so I asked him to send me the details to look at and have a think. Not much later I got a call back that he already put me forward and this advertising agency wanted to book me, again stating I was perfect for the job. Remember..  I wasn't even signed up to his recruitment agency yet and I've never met him! By this point I was already a bit annoyed with him, but since I was still available for that time period and the creative agency was quite a big name.. I  said Yes. Even though I had to cycle over 50 minutes across the city up and down everyday. Also the booking wouldn't start for another two weeks.
Normally a good recruiter will check in with you before and after your first day. I didn't hear from this guy the week upcoming from my booking and I didn't hear from him for over a week when I started. Apparently he was on holiday, but still.. someone from the recruiting agency could've checked in on me.
When it came to sending my invoice and timesheet, I heard that their payment terms are three weeks...! This maybe doesn't seem that long, but almost every other recruiting agency I work with, pays within a week. At that time I really needed the money faster (I think my Corporation Tax was due) so I asked if it was possible to pay my invoice earlier then that. They could, but they would charge me out £25 out of my own fee! 

I'm not going to name drop.. but I will soon post a list of my favourite recruiting agencies in London!