Freelancers: How to find new clients

Freelancers: How to find new clients

There has been a lot of press coverage lately around freelancers. IPSE released data in February that shows London has the highest level of freelancers. IPSE reported that are 2 million freelancers in the UK, and 21% of them live in Greater London. Their report also found that since 2008 the number of freelancers has grown by a staggering 59%.

We have talked to numerous freelancers over the years and they all say that they love the freelancing lifestyle, particularly having the freedom to work with different clients on varying projects and having the option to earn more money working less hours.

If you are thinking of becoming a freelancer the chances are that the main thought on your mind is how I am going to make money.

The solution is to find the right clients.

Sound’s easy doesn’t it! Follow our tips and it should be:

Contact your contacts

You may see no value in your reaching out to your contacts but they should be the first people you reach out to, including family and friends.

Once you have decided to go freelance, put together a letter or email explaining that you are working for yourself and outline what services you are offering.

You can send this letter or email out before you quit your job, and fit in some freelance work around your job.

If your friends and family do have some work for you, consider reducing your rates or even doing some work for free in return for showcasing the work on your portfolio and getting a testimonial from them.

Network, network, network

We all hate doing it, but if you want to become a successful freelancer, you will have to view it as a necessary evil.

The tip to successful networking is to go into a networking event with no agenda. See it as an opportunity to meet people, have a chat and possibly get their contact details.

Identifying the right networking events to attend is key. There are so many different types that you don’t want to spend hours at events that have connection to the industries you cover.

Connect with other freelancers

Connecting to people who may possibly be your competition does sound strange. But, they can be a source of work.

A freelancer may take on a large project and find they need to outsource some of it to another freelancer. If they think that you can do, they could send it your way.

Search social media

Having a presence on social media is a must for freelancers. You don’t have to have a profile on every channel. Instead, pick the ones that you are comfortable with, or know best. It is more constructive to focus your efforts on 2/3 channels. If you have more than this it can become unmanageable.

As well as posting on social media, make use of their search functions.

Individuals and businesses frequently post that they are looking for freelancers and by typing this into the search box you could find opportunities that are relevant to you.

Establish your own brand

The freelance industry is very competitive and there are numerous other freelancers who will be offering a similar service to you.

Creating your own personal brand will help you stand out in the marketplace and help with finding clients.

If you don’t have the resources to create your own website, use a free hosting site to create an online portfolio. Clients will ask to see examples of your work and an online portfolio is the most professional way to display it.

Get in touch with us if you are looking for expert tax and accountancy advice for your freelance business. Call us on 020 8952 2234 or Request a Call Back.

Suffering from Monday morning blues?

Are you sick of suffering from Monday morning blues? Then, become a contractor or a freelancer. According to research conducted in 2016 by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), contractors and freelancers are the happiest workers around.

MGI’s survey found that 97% of contractors are happier with their working lives than their permanent employee counterparts.

So if you want to be a happy worker, become a contractor or freelancer. But, what is it about the freelance or contracting lifestyle that makes people so happy?

Through our 20 years’ experience of working with contractors and freelancers we have learned that contractors and freelancers enjoy been able to choose:

  • who they work with
  • when they work
  • where they work, and
  • what projects they work on

Freelancers and contractors are also able to earn substantially more than they did as employees.

Why isn’t everyone becoming a contractor or freelancer?

There is a certain element of risk with being a freelancer or a contractor. A client could decide that they no longer require your services and end your contract with little or no warning. Some people are not comfortable taking on this risk. However, a job for life no longer exists and permanent jobs come with their own level of risk as well.

What also makes some people wary of becoming self-employed, is having to get their head around the UK tax system. As a permanent employee, the taxes you owe are handled for you through PAYE. As somebody who is self-employed you have to take on a greater level of responsibility for working out and paying the taxes that are owed.

Ready to make the change to self-employment?

If you are looking for a happier work life and think becoming a contractor or a freelancer could hold the answer, then our suggestion is to take your time and think about the pros and cons before making the change.

It is advantageous to find out from other contractors or freelancers what the lifestyle is really like. If you do not know anyone who is a contractor or freelancer then try and connect to people through LinkedIn. There are a number of LinkedIn groups that are aimed specifically at contractors or freelancers. Here at Cogent Accountants we have our own LinkedIn group – The Contractor & Freelance Network. The aim of our group is to encourage contractors and freelancers to connect with each other and discuss issues that may be affecting them, in a supportive environment.

You’ve made the change but feel de-motivated

This can happen and often does. After making the decision to become a contractor or freelancer, adrenaline kicks in and spurs people on to find their first client. They then start the project and everything goes great for the first couple of months and then their enthusiasm weans.

The question is ‘is it possible to stop this feeling from occurring?’

We asked this question to a number of our clients and their response was ‘Yes it is possible’. They even came up with great tips, which we are sharing with you below:

  • mix with members of the team
  • learn from others
  • do a job that you are proud of
  • challenge yourself
  • try new ways of doing something

If you are ready to make the switch to contracting or freelancing, give us a call on 020 8952 2234 and we can talk you through the process of setting up your own limited company. 

Should you stay or go?

Changes to the Flat Rate Scheme

There has been lots of coverage in the UK press about changes that are taking place to the Flat Rate Scheme (FRS) on 1st April.

The change has made many contractors (who operate via their own limited company) question if they should stay in the scheme, or if they will be better off leaving the scheme.

Our team has been working hard giving our clients advice on this. We thought we would share with you this straightforward flowchart that shows if you should consider staying in the Flat Rate Scheme, or if you may be better off leaving it.

This post also includes a brief background on why Flat Rate Scheme is changing.

Reason for the change

The Flat Rate Scheme was introduced to simplify the process that businesses with an expected turnover of less than £150,000 use to calculate the amount of VAT that they have to pay to HMRC. At present, users ignore VAT incurred on purchases when reporting VAT payable, with the exception of capital items costing £2,000 or more. Users only need to multiply the gross turnover (including VAT charged at the normal rates) by the FRS percentage set for the particular trade sector of their business.

HMRC became aware that some businesses were setting up composite companies to abuse the Flat Rate Scheme for monetary gains.

From 1st April 2017, a new 16.5% rate will be introduced for businesses with limited costs, such as businesses providing services. Businesses will now be required to determine if they are a ‘limited cost trader’ by completing a simple test. If their business, matches the criteria set out for a ‘limited cost trader’ they will have to use the 16.5%, instead of the percentage they previously used as outlined in HMRC’s trade sector list, commonly 12% or 14.5%.

What is a limited cost trader?

A limited cost trader is defined as one that spends less than 2% of its VAT inclusive turnover on relevant goods (and not services such as Accountancy fees) during a VAT period or £1,000 per annum (pro rata for the duration of the VAT period).

When working out the amount spent on goods, it cannot include purchases of:

  • capital expenditure (such as new equipment used in a business)
  • food and drink
  • vehicles or parts for vehicles including fuel and mileage
  • good that you intend to re-sell or hire out
  • gifts or promotional items

Examples of Relevant Goods include:

  • stationary and office supplies exclusively for the business
  • gas and electricity exclusively for the business
  • book, magazines – hard copies
  • software on a physical disc

Please note these are not exhaustive lists.

Flat Rate Scheme Flowchart

The flowchart is intended to give you an overview of your position in relation to the Flat Rate Scheme. It is imperative that you seek advice from an experienced team of contractor accountants to assist you in making your decision. Get in touch with us on 020 8952 2234 and speak to a highly qualified team member.

You can download a pdf version of the flowchart here.


FRS flow chart


























Is being happy at work important?

The reasons why we have asked this question is that today is International Day of Happiness.

International Day of Happiness was an idea put forward by the United Nations and is co-ordinated by the organisation Action for Happiness.

Action for Happiness believes that progress in life and business can be made through happiness and well-being and not solely through economic strategies.

Their campaigns look at how we can be a happier as a global community.  They have previously covered topics like relationships, (personal and professional) and how to improve social interactions (getting away from interacting online and connecting with people face to face).

With this in mind, we thought is being happy at work really important?

What is happiness?

Defining happiness is actually quite difficult and scientists have spent years trying to work out what happiness is (yes, really). They have come up with the following definition “happiness is when your life fulfils your needs”.

In other words, when you feel content with your life you are in a state of happiness.

Happiness isn’t…

Happiness is not earning lots of money, owning a large house, driving a sports car, owning an expensive bag, travelling first class, or, going on exotic holidays. All these things we listed give us ‘pleasure’. Pleasure is a fleeting feeling and over time fades. Once it’s gone, we then seek out new things that will bring this feeling back.

What creates happiness?

This is not easy to list as different things make people happy. There is not one universal thing that makes us all happy. For example in your personal life it could be owning a house in an area you always wanted to live, or, taking up a new hobby that you really like doing.

In your professional live it could be learning a new skill that will make doing the work you do easier, working on a project that you find rewarding or challenging, or, working alongside colleagues that you can learn from.

Is happiness at work important?

Yes, it is. If we are unhappy at work this can impact your personal life. No matter how hard you try it is difficult to leave work at the office and not bring it home with you. It is not fun to be around someone who vents their frustrations to family and friends.

Feeling happy can make us better at our jobs. When we feel happy the brain releases certain chemicals, these include Serotonin, Dopamine and Norepinephrine.

Serotonin gets the body ready for sleep. If you lack Seratonin you will not be able to rest properly. Low levels of Serotonin is also linked to depression and anxiety.

Dopamine controls the body’s energy and alertness levels. If you are producing Dopamine you are likely to more alert and enthusiastic.

When the body is producing Norepinephrine your attention and motivation levels are greater.

So, as you can see being happy at work can make you better at your job!

Spruce up your freelance business for Spring

The gloom and doom of winter are supposedly behind us and we can look forward to warmer days and lighter nights. It’s a time that you may start planning your summer holiday or decide to get out in the garden and start on the jobs that you can’t do in winter.

Spring time gives you a new lease of life. Why not inject some of this feeling and enthusiasm into your freelance business.

In this article we give you our top 5 tips for sprucing up your freelance business for spring:

Sort out your invoices

One freelancer described invoicing as a ‘necessary evil’. They know they need to do it in order to get paid but they can find any excuse not to get it done.

Invoicing isn’t difficult but the way you are doing it maybe. If you are keeping track of invoices and finances using an excel spreadsheet, maybe its time to consider upgrading to a more seamless system. Cloud accountancy software now has the option for you to send out invoices automatically. Here at Cogent, we use FreeAgent, and we have had great feedback from freelancers who find using the system seamless.

Touch base with your accountant

The dreaded self-assessment is over for now. But, this doesn’t mean you should slink off your accountant’s radar.

Someone once said that your accountant should be your business’s best friend. Yet, many freelancers’ put off reaching out to their accountant. Why? They are not scary! Well, we aren’t!

Accountants are not just there to sort out your tax return’s they are also a source of important and helpful information. Importantly, for freelancer’s they can offer advice on how to run your business more tax efficiently.

Reconnect with contacts

If your business was booming in 2016, and it looks like it will be in 2017 as well. It’s still important for freelancers to keep their pipeline of your work flowing.

Who knows what might happen. For instance, your main client may have to cut back on budgets and this means cutting back on the number of hours they engage your services. If this happened, what impact would it have on your business and revenue?

Use spring as a time to send out a ‘what have you been up to?’ email to past clients and colleagues. And, speak to other freelancers to see they are up to. Or, spend some prospecting for new clients on social media.

Strive to keep your pipeline flowing to stop a revenue drought.

Update your portfolio

When you first started freelancing you would have been told by other freelancers that having a portfolio is essential. You would have probably gone off searching for examples of your work that you could showcase to potential clients.

As you become more established in your work, and you find clients through word of mouth recommendations, your portfolio can take a back seat and you might have become slack with keeping it up to date.

How long has it been since you looked at your portfolio? Do the examples you have on there reflect the type and quality of work you produce now?

If not, take a couple of hours to go through it and add new examples of your work.

Get some training

Spring is the time when new life is developed, put some new life into your freelance business by brushing up on your skills.

Even if your business is booming and you feel at the top of our game. There is always something you can be doing better or you could learn a new skill that you can offer as an extra service to your clients.

Maybe, you need some tips on how to stay motivated, or how to switch off and relax. These are things that freelancers are not very good at. Being a freelancer can consume your life, but thinking about work 24/7 is not good for the mind and body. Learning techniques that allow you to disconnect from your business could actually help it.

Is your freelance business looking for a new accountant? Speak to Cogent 020 952 2234 and find out how we can help you. 

Spring Budget 2017 Round-Up

Various rumours were swirling around Westminster in the days before Philip Hammond rose to deliver his first Budget – confirmed as the last time a major fiscal statement will be made in the spring.

The Chancellor, still scarcely nine months in the job, has a reputation as a cautious man and in advance many expected that much of today’s speech would be laying the ground for the Prime Minister to begin formal negotiations for the UK to leave the EU.

That said, the day before Mr Hammond stood up to address the Commons, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) upgraded Britain’s growth forecast, which inevitably raised questions about whether there was yet room for manoeuvre.

Would the Government prove willing to make money available to shore up struggling services or answer the growing criticism over business rates reforms? Would it be tax rises or surprise giveaways bothering the headline writers?

Economic overview

In his opening statement, the Chancellor said that the resilience of the UK economy had continued to defy expectations and the country had enjoyed robust growth. Indeed, he noted that last year Britain’s growth was behind only Germany’s among the world’s biggest economies.

Mr Hammond confirmed that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had raised its growth forecasts for the year, with the economy now projected to grow by two per cent in 2017, compared with the previous estimate of 1.4 per cent. The independent body suggests growth next year will be 1.6 per cent and in 2019, 1.7 per cent.

But he made clear that there was no place for complacency in the current climate, acknowledging that levels of debt were still too high (peaking at 88.8 per cent next year), productivity needs to be improved and many families up and down the country continued to feel the pinch almost a decade on from the financial crash.

OBR figures also suggest that inflation will peak at 2.4 per cent this year, with expectations that it will drop off as we approach the end of the decade.

Trying to strike a balance between prudence and positivity, the Chancellor told MPs that the Budget presented an opportunity to put money into public services while ensuring that the nation continued to live within its means. Crucially, he said, the tax and spending plans would form the bedrock of the EU negotiations ahead.

Business and enterprise

Following several weeks of sustained criticism over the burden that business rates changes would place on many enterprises, Mr Hammond announced a three-point plan which he said would amount to an additional £435million support.

Any firm losing existing rate relief will be guaranteed that their bill will not rise by more than £50 a month next year. In addition, there will be a £1,000 discount for pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 and the creation of a £300million fund which will enable local authorities to offer discretional relief.

The Chancellor made clear that a fair tax system was one of the best ways to make Britain a top destination for businesses. He reiterated the commitment made by his predecessor, George Osborne, to bring the Corporation Tax rate down to 17 per cent by 2020. A reduction to 19 per cent will take effect from next month.

Following concerns about the current timetable, he confirmed that quarterly reporting would be delayed for small businesses for a year (at a cost of £280million).

Transport and infrastructure

Acknowledging that congestion was an issue in large parts of the country, Mr Hammond said that some £690million would be made available to tackle traffic problems in urban areas and get local networks moving more freely.

The Chancellor also announced a £270million investment to keep Britain at the forefront of research into biotechnology, robotic systems and driverless cars.

An additional £200million will be ploughed into projects to help secure private sector investment in full-fibre broadband networks and £16million put aside for a 5G mobile technology hub.

Personal tax

Controversially, it was revealed that National Insurance contributions will rise for the self-employed.

Under proposals, Class 4 NICs will increase from nine per cent to 10 per cent next April and to 11 per cent in 2019.

Trying to defend what will undoubtedly be a contentious move, the Chancellor said that the “unfair discrepancy” in contributions between different groups of workers could no longer be justified. Critics have suggested the move has broken with a commitment in the 2015 manifesto.

In more positive news, the personal allowance will rise to £11,500 – the seventh consecutive increase.

The Chancellor reiterated the Government’s previous commitment to increase the allowance to £12,500 and the higher rate threshold to £50,000 by the end of the Parliament in 2020.

There was a boost for road users with confirmation that vehicle excise duty for hauliers and the HGV road user levy will both be frozen.

The Chancellor also announced there would be no change to the previous planned duties on alcohol and tobacco. There will, however, be a new minimum excise duty on cigarettes based on a £7.35 packet price.

Pensions and savings

In what is likely to be an unpopular move, Mr Hammond confirmed that the tax-free dividend allowance for shareholders would be cut from £5,000 to £2,000 as of April 2018.

The Treasury said that the change would “ensure that support for investors is more effectively targeted”, but critics fear it will could further hurt entrepreneurs.

Public spending

Mr Hammond had faced some pressure from his own MPs to plough more revenue into public services.

In an attempt to address criticism that institutions were buckling beneath the strain, the Chancellor confirmed an extra £260million for improving school buildings and funding for an additional 110 free schools (on top of the 500 previously announced). There has been some controversy, however, that some of these are set to be selective.

In an attempt to address the mounting crisis in social care, Mr Hammond announced there would be an extra £2billion in funding over the course of the next three years. A Green Paper will be published later this year with a view to drawing up a long-term funding plan.

Tax evasion, avoidance and aggressive tax planning

The Chancellor said that a fair tax system required people to pay their dues and a series of measures to curb abuses of the system are expected to raise an additional £820million for the Treasury.

A raft of measures to tackle non-compliance were announced, including preventing businesses converting capital losses into trading losses, curbing abuse of foreign pension schemes, introducing UK VAT on roaming telecoms services and imposing new financial penalties for professionals who help facilitate a tax avoidance arrangement that is later defeated by HM Revenue & Customs.


In his closing remarks, Mr Hammond struck an optimistic tone. Whatever the uncertainties surrounding Brexit, he told MPs that the UK should be confident that our best days lie ahead of us.

It would be fair to say that the Budget was not strewn with giveaways, but the Chancellor did try and take the sting out of some of the main criticisms levelled at the Government in recent months – including its handling of business rates reform and the sluggish response to a mounting care crisis.

That said he is also likely to have stirred up fresh controversies and the decision to increase National Insurance for the self-employed is perhaps evidence that in the current climate tough choices will still have to be made.

International Women’s Day

8th March is a special day for many women across the globe, as it is International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day celebrates the economic and cultural achievements of women from all backgrounds.

In celebration of this special day, our article looks at ‘Women in Contracting’.

Contracting – open to everyone

For a long time contracting was seen as a career path for men. Thankfully, this perception is changing and more women are choosing to go down the contracting route.

There are many reasons why women choose to become a contractor, they want to reap the economic benefit’s that can be achieved by contracting, they want more control over their career or they might be stepping their foot back into the working world after a period of leave and have decided to go down a different route other than the traditional ’employee’ one.

It’s fantastic news that more women are becoming contractors, but there is still a lot of work to be done until the number of women contractors equals that of men. For those women who are thinking of becoming a contractor, there has never been a better time to do it.

Many industries are experiencing a skills shortage and one of the ways to plug the skills shortage is to encourage women to enter these industries as contractors.

The construction and engineering sector is one such industry that is experiencing a massive skills shortage. The lack of skilled workers could have a catastrophic effect on the industry in as little as 5 years. The effects of this shortage are already been felt by housebuilders and engineering firms who are struggling to find enough skilled workers to fill open positions.

Trade bodies, construction and engineering firms and colleges are coming together to create a co-ordinated approach to encourage more women to work in the industry. This includes grass root projects in schools and colleges and also targeting women who are looking to return to work after taking a career break.

The demand for skilled contractors has also been helped by Brexit. A number of businesses have been put off taking on permanent members of staff due to the uncertain political environment we find ourselves in, and have turned to the flexible workforce to fill employment gaps.

Ready to take the leap?

If you are ready to enter into the contracting world, there are a couple of ways you can choose to go.

These are via an umbrella company or through your own limited company.

If you are unsure if contracting is the right option for you, maybe working through an umbrella company is the best option until you are sure that this is what you want to do long-term.

If you already know that you want to be a contractor for the foreseeable future then working via your own limited company could be the most tax efficient option.

There are a number of factors to consider with setting up your own limited company and it is best to gain expert advice from a firm of contractor accountants, such as ourselves.

You are not on your own

Everybody needs a helping hand now and again, and we are here to guide you through the process of becoming a contractor. Our News section contains numerous articles that detail what is involved in becoming a contractor, such as how to choose your limited company name, if you need to become VAT registered and much more.

If you want further information, our downloadable guides go into these things in greater depth. Or, if you simply want to talk an expert, give us a call on 020 8952 2234 and we will be delighted to discuss your requirements in further detail.

Join our new LinkedIn Group

Group together to stay ahead

There’s no need to be out there all on your own. Come and join us!

Here at Cogent Accountants, we are thrilled to let you know that we have recently set up our own LinkedIn group. The Contractor & Freelancer Network has been created to allow professional individuals who are involved in the contractor and freelancer arena to connect and discuss issues that are important to them.

The group is open to anyone who is a contractor or freelancer and also to people who are connected to these sectors.
We also encourage people who are thinking of becoming a contractor or freelancer to join and connect with others in their industry.

With over 20 years’ experience in the freelance contractor market, we have supported thousands of contractors and freelancers starting out on their chosen career path. We understand that it can be a daunting thought to leave a job and become a self-employed contractor or freelancer, and that’s one of the reasons why we created the group.

Our vision is to create a supportive group where contractors, freelancers, recruiters, hiring managers…can come together to connect and support each other.

We encourage the members to ask questions, make suggestions, post relevant news articles, post links to articles they have written and to use the group as a forum to grow their own connections.

There’s no need to be shy, join the conversation!

Invoicing tips for contractors

Invoice your way to success

As a contractor working via your ow

Invoice your way to success

n limited company submitting invoices is a very important part of your working life. It’s the way that you receive payment for all the hard work you have done for the client.

Creating and submitting an invoice sounds easy, and it is once you have done a few, but at first it can seem like a daunting task as you want to make sure that you have included everything you have to on the invoice.

Preparing a professional looking invoice is not just about creating a good impression for the client there is certain information that for legal reasons has to be included.

Of course, there are numerous accountancy software packages that create and send invoices for you, but it is still important that you know what has to be included on an invoice.

The following are legal requirements for an invoice:

  • Unique identification number – this can be numbers, or letters, or a mixture of both
  • Company name, address and contact information
  • Company name and address of the person you are invoicing
  • Description of what you are charging for – be as detailed as you can
  • Date that the goods / services were provided
  • Date of the invoice
  • The amount being charged
  • VAT amount (if applicable)
  • Total amount owed

As a limited company you must include the full company name as it appears on the  Certificate of Incorporation. If you put the name of the limited company director on the invoice, you must include the names of all the company directors (if there is more than 1 director).

How can an invoice be sent?

You can send an invoice either via post, in person or electronically. Most invoices are sent electronically via email. If you are sending an invoice by email, it is good practice to convert the invoice to a pdf, so that it can’t be altered in anyway.

The client usually tells you how they prefer to receive the invoice. If you are unsure it is probably best to check with them.

An important point to remember is that most clients / agencies require a signed timesheet to be included with the invoice. Without this, they may not be able to process the invoice and you might not be able to get paid.


Contractors can set their own payment terms, but 30 days is the standard payment term. If it is not stated on the invoice, the customer must pay the invoice amount within 30 days of receiving the invoice.

Late payment

It is expected that the client will pay the invoice within the stated time. However, if you find yourself in a position where payment has not been received, don’t sit on it. Get in touch with the client as soon as possible to get the matter resolved.

Tip tops for creating and sending invoices

One of the main reasons why invoices go unpaid is because they don’t contain clear instructions on how to process the invoice. Make it easy for the client to pay your invoice, by:

  • Keeping it simple and avoid adding unnecessary information.
  • Sending it to the right person – The person who needs the invoice may not necessarily be your contact at the company. It is often somebody in accounts / payroll.
  • Highlighting payment terms and providing instructions on how payment should be made.
  • Being prompt with issuing invoices.

Cogent Accountants online accounting portal makes it easy for you raise invoices quickly and in a professional manner. If you are interested to find out how to reduce the time you are spending on invoicing each month, give our team a call on 020 8952 2234 and ask about the services that we offer to contractors.

Love your heart

Every February the British Heart Foundation celebrates Heart Month.

Heart Month was created to inform and highlight the dangers of Heart Disease. Heart Disease is responsible for more than 73,000 deaths a year. 2.3 million people are living with CHD (Coronary Heart Disease) and 2 million people are affected by Angina.

Sadly, Heart Disease is known as the ‘silent killer’. Unlike many other serious conditions, you can have a heart condition but you may not suffer from any symptoms. Therefore, people are unaware that they are suffering from it.

If symptoms do appear they could include:

  • Chest pains
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Faintness

However, not everybody would have these as they vary from person to person.

What is the risk to me?

Not to put a doom and gloom on things, but Heart Disease could affect everybody. It is not an old person’s disease. If you are or have been suffering from any of the above symptoms, it is advisable to get it checked out by your doctor.

As a freelancer or contractor, we know how much energy you put into working on your client’s projects. A recent survey showed that 53% of contractors had not taken a sick day in the last 2 years. This doesn’t mean that contractors don’t get sick. It means that even when they are sick they carry on working, even if it means that it could take them longer to recuperate.

Your busy lifestyle means that it is very easy for you to ignore or not notice when you don’t feel well.

It’s important to stop and take stock of our health every now and again. It could save your life.

Prevention is always better than cure.

Consider doing the following to help prevent Heart Disease:

  • Having a balanced diet
    Incorporate lots of fruit and veg into your diet.
    Cut back on sugary foods and drinks.
    Reduce the amount of saturated fats you eat.
    Include foods that contain unsaturated foods.
  • Get active
    Be aware of how often (or not) you move.
    Go out for a walk at lunchtime.
    Take the stairs instead of the lift (maybe not if you are on the 14th floor, though!)
    Join a gym.
  • Maintain a healthy weight
    If you eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly you should be able to maintain a healthy weight. If you are unsure what your ideal weight should be, ask your doctor. Avoid fad diets and extreme exercise routines.

And, if you do smoke, it is best to think about stopping.

For more information on Heart Month and Heart Disease, visit the British Heart Foundation website.