It’s a good time to be self employed in London

4.5mn Britons work for themselves and nearly half freelance.
4.5mn Britons work for themselves and nearly half freelance.

Many people have the freelancing dream: Wake up late, get some coffee, play with the cat for a bit, then get paid lots and lots of money for a couple of hours’ work. The good news is, the reality is sometimes exactly like that. Other times though, it’s a lot tougher. It really all depends on how you go about it. Now here’s a second piece of good news: there’s never been a better time than now to take the plunge into self employment.

Whether you’re a recent graduate taking that first step into the working world, an established worker looking for a change of scenery, a retiree with too much time on your hands, or a parent looking for the flexibility of working from home, you can join the more than 4.5 million Britons who’ve already taken that plunge. ‘But wait’, you say, ‘That all sounds good, but will I (or my cat) starve? And will I be able to do it?’ Well, Prospective Freelancer/Entrepreneur, the answers to your questions are respectively: ‘Not if you’re smart about it’ and ‘Yes, definitely’. Here’s why:

You have one of the most powerful freelancing tools in the world launching in your city. Right now. It’s an app called Kalido which is completely free for download, that matches service providers and clients, and (here’s the important bit) let’s them get on with working together, without charging either of them one pence. ‘Oh, that sounds like [insert platform here]’, you say. Yes, but here’s the difference:

1. You can offer any service you want

Work with who you want, when you want, on the things you are good at.
Work with who you want, when you want, on the things you are good at.

Whereas many professional platforms focus exclusively on white-collar or creative jobs, Kalido is for everyone. You can offer legal or accounting services, design and web development, dog walking, house cleaning, yoga or language tutoring — basically any service that’s legal is welcome on Kalido. So, set up a home tutoring business, or turn your photography hobby into an income stream, or try your hand at creating gorgeous dresses. Whatever your talent, skill, or expertise, Kalido will help you turn it into a viable business.

2. You don’t have to pay any service fees or commission

We don’t charge any commission or service fees. What you make is what you keep.
We don’t charge any commission or service fees. What you make is what you keep.

Many networking platforms are notorious for charging exorbitant service fees or commission, which force freelancers to inflate their prices to recover costs. This can put potential clients off, as it might put you outside of their budget. Kalido doesn’t charge any service fees or commission. In other words, whatever money you make is yours. So, you can set a rate that clients will accept, and that also makes you happy .

3. You can set your own rates

An alternative scenario common to many networking platforms is forcing service providers into a race to the bottom, with providers undercutting each other just to get business. Kalido thinks this is as ridiculous as you do. If you’re better than the next guy (or gal), your profile can help you showcase that, and justify your fees. You can personalise your profile with all the information and media you need to, to properly showcase your skills and talent. So, set your own rates, and show potential clients exactly why you’re worth it.

4. You can find trustworthy clients

Kalido is built around the concept of trust. Users are matched, not just according to their needs, but also through common contacts and networks, and their location. This means that the app won’t just be connecting you to any client. It will match you with clients who know someone you know (perhaps their neighbour is actually your good friend), who shares a common network (you might both belong to the same running club), and who is nearby (no good trying to offer tailoring services to someone in another region). Having points of commonality helps you build rapport, and establishes a degree of trust that’s absent in most networking platforms.

5. You can ask common contacts for referrals and introductions

Common contacts can help you break the ice with new clients by referring you or introducing you.
Common contacts can help you break the ice with new clients by referring you or introducing you.

A major benefit of knowing who or what you have in common with a potential client, is the ability to suss them out, before committing to working with them. If you see that your good friend knows your match, ask them for their opinion. Kalido lets you call and chat for free from the app, so you can get as much information as you need to feel comfortable. You can also ask your friend to make an introduction, to help you break the ice. Instead of accepting any job from some anonymous anyone, you can get a good sense of your client, to see if you’ll enjoy working with them, before you’re stuck with them.

6. You can build a local reputation

Kalido regularly showcases users as Featured Providers. This is a free service that’s built into the platform and helps you market yourself without lifting a finger. When you’re selected as a Featured Provider, you’ll automatically show up in the feeds of any users nearby, without them having to search for you or your service. This means that someone browsing through their feed, who didn’t even know private decoupage lessons were a thing, will suddenly be aware of your unique service, and will probably wonder where you’ve been all their life.

Featured Providers also show you what other services are being offered in your area, to see if you can pick up any business from them. For example, if you see that there are a lot of art directors nearby, and you’re a budding photographer, you can reach out and offer your service. So, the Featured Provider function serves the dual purposes of giving you free marketing, and helping you find new opportunities yourself.

7. You can network without networking

The most powerful network is not the one you have, but the one you are yet to create
The most powerful network is not the one you have, but the one you are yet to create

One of the drawbacks of being on your own is that there’s no one around to bounce ideas off of, or to teach you new techniques, or even to high five a job well done. Many freelancers become increasingly isolated, with every day being a pyjama day, and social interactions dwindling to the extent that your most serious relationship is with the pizza delivery guy.

To help you ‘get out there’, you can a) ask common contacts to introduce you to someone interesting without seeming creepy b) reach out to Featured Providers whose service is similar or complementary to yours or c) connect with other Kalido users through common networks. Networks show you users who have backgrounds or interests similar to yours, so why not reach out, share ideas, chat, and generally stay human and connected. You can create your own, or join existing ones. So, as much as you enjoy your own company, Kalido also helps you enjoy the company of others.

So, with your dual fears of whether you’ll be able to do it, and whether you’ll make enough money doing it, put to rest, there’s only one thing left to do, isn’t there? Download Kalido and get cracking on your new life as your own boss. Here’s to you — the CEO of Happy Working Life Inc!