I have been working as a freelancer for many years. At the start I had no contacts, nor did I register a company. And later on I registered my own company and things started to pick up. There are routines you have to take to maintain your company, such as submitting accounting reports and filing for tax payment, and you need sufficient amount in your bank to keep your current account up and running.
While other freelancers find these routines to be troublesome, I see them as a must to keep my business on track. And there are many advantages too.
First, you will have a systemic way of issuing quotations and invoices. How many invoices you have issued this month, and how much money you are expecting to receive this month and next – all in all, you will have a clear picture.
Some companies accept invoices issued by individual freelancers, but many prefer to work with suppliers which have company status. Stricter client companies only work with private limited or limited companies. If you don’t register your own company, sooner or later your personal invoice is likely to be rejected by bigger companies who mean business.
Second, things are easier when you have an accountant. You can maintain simple book-keeping, and your accountant will take care of the rest. Accountants are also becoming freelancers nowadays, and their charges go down quite a lot even in Hong Kong. The point is, it is no longer very expensive to hire an accountant.
Also, if you are invited to the tax office, bring your accountant along so that you can better argue your case.
Third, things are easier when you file your tax. File your tax report and pay tax on time. No government in the world is going to let you off the hook, for most governments depend a lot on internal debts to run their administration. When tax income reduces, that would spell trouble for them. To avoid such trouble, they will chase every dollar and cent from the tax payers. Simple as that.
Fourth, your own company for sense of belonging. We want to excel in commercial art and make a living. We blend art values in our works and sell them. When we have our own company, it attracts business opportunities so that we can shine in what we do best.
Do not sacrifice your normal life and income for the sake of becoming an artist of romanticism. Hunger and poverty do not help you in becoming a good artist. When you are poor and hungry, when people are ignoring you because you have been borrowing money everywhere for years, that does not make you a better artist.
If you think your art means business, why not start from your company?
Fifth, a sole proprietor or personal company is just a start. Laws differ in one place and another, but the general rule is that partnership and private limited / limited company status provides more protection of your personal assets. When the business is improving, you will definitely want more protection for yourself and family.
Lastly, hold your head high when you are running your own company, for you are your own boss and need not return to rat race of the cruel corporate world.