There are many pros to being a freelancer; it truly is one of the best decisions I ever made. However, like with all good things, there is the odd downside, and with me, that has to be from time to time the feeling of isolation. I’ve always maintained that my home office will be my main office however when loneliness sets in I love to venture to a local co-working space to hang with fellow creatives. [Read more…] about 5 Best Co-working Spaces In Leeds
Life, freelancing & advice from Ryan Gibson
Having lived in Leeds for close to 8 years my wife and I decided on Sandal, Wakefield as the place we wanted to live and bring up our family. With a daughter on the way (Now here) we moved to Sandal in November of 2015. There were a number of reasons for the move including my wife’s parents in Nottingham (2 junctions closer), a nice suburban environment, good schools and of course the surrounding walking pleasures the area had to offer.
I think the parks, greenways and walking opportunities throughout Wakefield are understated. I’m not talking hiking here but places you can walk with the family and enjoy the scenery. Wakefield has some wonderful spots available. [Read more…] about Best parks & places to walk in Wakefield
Every now and then there is nothing better than getting out with family and friends for a good meal. I am of the mindset that if you work hard then you should treat yourself to some downtime, and my favourite way to do that is to explore the local cuisine of my hometown of Wakefield.
From unique coffee shops to some of the most varied independent eateries, Wakefield has some great options locally when wanting to eat out. Luckily for me, some of the best places are just a stones throw away from home, but I have been fortunate to venture further afield and sample many of Wakefield’s finest independent menus.
I have managed to put together a list of my top 10 independent restaurants in Wakefield that I wouldn’t hesitate to return to, and recommend to anyone visiting the area!
#1 Lakeside Café
Now, this isn’t the first time I have talked about this place, regardless of the fact that it is within walking distance from my front door, it also happens to be one of the most stunning restaurants in Wakefield. From the inside out, the Lakeside café has a wonderful rustic vibe that matches the setting perfectly.
If the idea of eating locally sourced and professionally cooked food amongst nature appeals to you, then Lakeside café is definitely a must try! With indoor and outdoor eating facilities, there really is no finer place to dine.
I personally love a good steak, but there is literally something on the menu here to suit everyone, with options for both meat eaters and herbivores and an excellent range of options for the little ones. The food is freshly prepared, locally sourced, organic and delicious – what more could you want?
Rinaldis has been going for a long time but had seen better days as it was left to grow dated over the years. In February 2010 it was taken over by a regular customer, Glyn, who vowed to restore the restaurant to its former glory and this has been achieved ten-fold! From appearance, staff and food the changes have led to it now being one of the most vibrant eateries in Wakefield.
The passion behind a quality service is obvious from the moment you enter Rinaldis, and the atmosphere is incredible. The team, both new and old has made Rinaldis one of the liveliest and most friendly places I have eaten at. I have always been a big fan of Italian cuisine, and Rinaldis serves one of the best freshly made lasagne I have ever tasted – trust me you need to try it!
With a great selection of dishes, as well as a regularly updated specials board, you will be hard-pressed to come away disappointed. Glyn and the team have done an incredible job at modernising this place into a hub of delicious food and drink that will not disappoint.
#3 The Pledwick Well Inn
Sometimes you can’t beat a decent Gastro Pub, and The Pledwick Well Inn is one of my favourites! The menu boasts some classing comfort food dishes as well as some seasonal offerings for the more adventurous diner, and overall the whole experience goes above and beyond your average pub grub!
The dishes are said to be influenced from all around the world, and this comes across in their menu choices, with a variety of options from fresh fish to steak, vegetarian options and seafood! There is even a ‘healthy living’ lunch menu for those who are watching their diet but still want to experience eating out with friends.
Perhaps my favourite thing about The Pledwick is their vast selection of craft beers! They offer a fantastic range so that there is something there for everyone to enjoy, along with loads of wines, gins and ciders.
The interior of The Pledwick is super slick and modern without ruining that traditional cosy pub feeling we all know and love. This is definitely my go-to for ‘pub grub’!
Cosy and intimate, this is a perfect date spot if you are looking for somewhere new to try! Whether you are going with your significant other or the family, The Cowshed offers a relaxed atmosphere with local, great tasting food!
The Cowshed offers some great traditional English dishes cooked with a modern twist to bring something a little different to the table. Not only is the food great, but they do a couple of awesome deals such as the set lunch menu and early bird menu which both offer two courses for £15.95 or three for £18.95!
I love coming here for the value but also the chilled out atmosphere and friendly staff! They also supply a great selection of wine that compliments their menu perfectly!
#5 La Fortezza
Situated at the entrance of the Newmillerdam Country Park, La Fortezza is in a great location; particularly for those warm days in the summer (3 a year?)! Whether you choose to dine al-fresco, or inside, the rustic Italian feel of this place is incredible!
Authentic Italian cuisine served by a team of highly qualified staff, the head chef has even worked under a classically trained French chef, and the food here is exquisite! Even during those colder months, eating indoors here will leave you feeling at home immediately, the cosy atmosphere is so relaxing and intimate, and the whole vibe is just great.
If you love a rustic Italian dish then La Fortezza is the one for you, perhaps one of my favourite Italians in Wakefield, their pizzas are to die for, and they have a fantastic selection of wines!
Run by couple Liam and Laura, Iris a great restaurant for those who love to sample the local Yorkshire cuisine! Liam happens to be the head chef as well as the owner, and over the past 5 years together with his partner, they have managed to create a family-friendly restaurant that serves all the best homemade foods, straight from their hometown!
Along with their work alongside some of the best regional suppliers, Iris is also great value for money considering how fresh and delicious their food is! Whilst they prefer to keep in line with what is current, their menu changes regularly in keeping with the seasonal foods, which means you can never get bored coming here!
I love the whole ethos behind Iris, and if the food alone wasn’t enough to draw you in, they also host regular monthly events, usually a delicious looking taster session!
#7 Amaia Restaurant
There is nothing better than a freshly made Indian meal, and Amaia offers a homemade, traditional menu that is second to none. The cutting-edge Indian food style and methodology is so unique and the dishes are just delicious, if you are a curry lover like me then you will love it here!
The award-winning chefs go above and beyond to deliver interesting flavours that are fresh and above all else, absolutely incredible! Considering Amaia only opened in 2015, they have come a long way in such a short time frame, there is no other Indian quite like it in Wakefield.
The fresh and vibrant interior of Amaia is inviting and airy, it really is the perfect place to sit down to a meal with friends. If all this wasn’t enough, they also offer a variety of promotional deals and you can even order to take away!
#8 Jose’s Tapas Restaurant
If you are looking for something a little different Jose’s family run tapas is a must-try! This is without a doubt the most friendly and welcoming family I have met, the personal touches that are put into the dining experience here really make it stand out from the crowd!
Situated in the heart of Wakefield, Jose and his wife Sofia have created a Spanish hub of great food and drink, that will certainly have you coming back again! From authentic tapas and paella alongside other Spanish dishes, the food here is lovingly cooked and it really shows!
The food aside, the service here is one of the best I have received, every member of staff are so helpful and really go out of their way to be informative and make your experience a great one – Once you leave Jose’s you will feel like part of the family!
Yes, another Italian restaurant has made the list – as I said, I am really lucky to be situated amongst so many independent restaurants, so many of which happen to be incredible Italians! Sloanes is a fine dining experience that delivers amazing fresh and high-quality ingredients that are all locally sourced!
The expert chefs here really know their way around Italian cuisine, from the homemade pasta to the Fillet steak – everything is insanely delicious! With many of the specialist ingredients coming directly from Italy, there is real authenticity behind the meals here, which comes across!
Situated alongside the lovely York House Hotel, every day is a different deal at Sloanes, making it excellent value for money! So, whether it’s 3 for £10 cocktails you are after or a cheaper lunch, Sloanes has you covered!
#10 Moccha Pizzeria
Last but by no means least is the hidden gem that is Moccha, nestled in the centre of Wakefield since 2010, offering delicious homemade pizza in a family-friendly establishment!
You only have to have a look online to see the glowing reviews for Moccha, their authentic pizza and pasta dishes have sent their reputation skyrocketing, making them now one of the most popular eateries in the centre of Wakefield!
The team here are extremely accommodating and friendly, which is of course exactly what you want when dining out, and the interior is well lit for a relaxed atmosphere. The smell of stone baked pizza hits you when you step through the door and from there on in the whole experience are an Italian delight from start to finish!
One of the perks of being a freelancer is the freedom to work from anywhere! At times I can find myself developing cabin fever from long hours in my office, on these occasions, there is nothing I love more than venturing out for a coffee or some lunch! Whether it is a break from the screen or a remote working session, a change of scenery can work wonders!
I am lucky enough to be surrounded by independent coffee shops, and I have tried and tested a range of them! Whilst there are plenty to choose from, I have my favourites when it comes to the best coffee and cake! Here is a run down of five of the best coffee shops in Wakefield, perfect for a brew and to blow away the cobwebs.
There are many ways to reduce your tax bill if you are self-employed and be efficient with your finances.
For those who are new to the freelancing industry, it can be easy to get blind sighted by the perceived glamour of working to your own schedule. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of perks to being your own boss, and coming and going as you please may sound like the ideal scenario, but of course, there is so much more to it than that!
One of the biggest challenges for most freelancers (especially those new to the industry) is being in charge of your own finances! It can often come as an afterthought, and when the tax year rolls around many of us are left floundering with no real clue where to begin!
Unfortunately, most of us only learn how to manage a business the hard way, but if you have found yourself here then this may be able to save you from following in so many freelancers’ footsteps!
Being Self-Employed isn’t just about your Service. . .
Without question, the biggest eye-opener for me at the start was learning how much actually went into running a business. I have met so many freelancers who have said the same thing, you get so wrapped up in your specific niche and perfecting it, that you don’t even consider the other things needed to become a success!
When you enter the world of freelancing it can be incredibly intimidating, you start to notice those around you with years of experience, established websites, portfolios, contracts, accountants, insurances (you name it, they have it!). The first thing to mention here is that this stuff isn’t the be all and end all of becoming a success, you can make a brilliant business without all the bells and whistles that some people choose to have.
What I would suggest, especially for those new to the Industry is to not try and take on everything yourself all at once! There are some incredibly helpful tools out there to help you stay on top of your finances! Accounting software such as Freshbooks and Free Agent are brilliant options if you are looking for support without spending loads of money! If you have a slightly bigger budget then hiring an accountant can be an excellent option, you can get the support that you need which is likely to save you making any expensive mistakes – remember an accountant will know all the tips and tricks that you can use to save yourself some money!
Regardless of the route you go down be it software or an accountant; I would stress the importance of tracking your own finances along the way! It is important that you have a full understanding of your financial situation so that perhaps later down the line an accountant won’t be necessary! I personally track mileage, invoices and anything else I need to through invoicely.com, which works great for me!
Why Should You Bother Learning About Taxes?
If you have ever been in normal employment, you likely know that at that time you have very little to do with your taxes. For most jobs, a portion of your wage is removed every month before you even get to see it, out of sight out of mind.
However, when you make that switch to self-employment you quickly discover that if you want to stay on the right side of the law, there are things you will need to do! Self-employment isn’t just about being great at what you do; it means learning how to monitor your incomings, outgoings, and expenses. It also means that you will need to learn how to calculate tax deductions, and fill in a self-assessment form!
I bet by now you are beginning to see why so many Freelancers opt for an accountant to manage their finances! In truth, it really doesn’t have to be so scary and complicated, I really believe that by taking the time to do your research and organising yourself in a particular way, you can save hundreds of pounds in service fees as well as in your overall tax bill!
How to reduce your tax bill?
Any freelancer will tell you that the end of tax year is always going to be a struggle. With all the perks that come with working for yourself, you do miss out on a couple of the benefits of regular employment – which often include things such as pension schemes and automatic tax deductions with limited extra effort on your part!
To get yourself in a financially stable position, there are plenty of things you can do to help you along the way! Let’s face it – paying your taxes is never going to be appealing, but you can make it a hell of a lot less hard on yourself!
Investing In Your Future Self!
It may seem like an obvious place to start, but you would be surprised how many freelancers I know who have either taken out no pension at all or taken years to start one up! Not only will a pension secure a comfortable future for you and your family, but also it can actually help to reduce your tax bill in the process!
Let me explain, if you are self-employed you can get tax relief on money that goes into your pension. Essentially it means that the money that would be going to the government would instead be going into your pension pot! You can claim up to 20% tax relief on cash that goes into your pension, which means more financial stability for you in the future!
This is one of the biggest ways that you can reduce your tax bill, and it is also one of the most common things freelancers get wrong! Many of us who are self-employed struggle to know what is and isn’t acceptable to claim for. I would say that if you are going to do your research on anything, it should be how to do your expenses!
I know of freelancers who try and claim for everything they possibly can, which can have the potential to land them in hot water – there are strict penalties in place for those who try and blur the line between business and pleasure expenses!
On the flip-side, I know freelancers who for one reason or another simply don’t account for nearly half the things they could do, which leaves them unnecessarily out of pocket!
The HMRC states that those who are self-employed can claim expenses on the following areas:
- Office Costs
- Travel Costs
- Clothing Expenses
- Staff Costs
- Things you buy to sell on (e.g. stock or raw materials)
- Financial Costs (e.g. insurance)
- Costs of your business premises (e.g. heating, lighting etc)
- Advertising or marketing (e.g. website costs)
This leads me on to my next tip for keeping your tax bill down, which is to keep on top of your admin!
It sounds like a given, but it is so much harder than you may think to keep organisation over every aspect of your business. The fact is that being a freelancer means having the ability to perform a constant juggling act.
Between your life admin (which includes all your personal ingoing’s and outgoings) and your business admin, things can easily become confusing and this is usually when things get messy.
At the beginning, I wouldn’t worry too much, although it is obviously best to have a system right from the get-go so you aren’t sifting through months of documentation and screwed up receipts! Keep it simple, by following some straightforward guidelines.
- Have a separate bank account for your business: This will save you precious time when you are doing your self-assessment!
- Keep a filing system for your receipts, which is separate from your personal documents.
- Make your own monitoring system for all your clients, that way you can easily see who has and hasn’t paid you, in the long-run, this will save you loads of hassle when it comes to sorting out your finances!
I guess the take-home message for this point is that it doesn’t have to be perfect, or even super professional. It just has to work. Monitoring all the activity of your business will save you time, and most importantly help you avoid mistakes, which will lead to surprising savings when April rolls around!
Be Smart With Your Tax Payments
This won’t apply to everyone, but a brilliant way to reduce your tax bill is by ‘employing’ members of your family. Of course, if you don’t wish to go down this route (not everyone wants to work with family, I understand this!) then feel free to skip this part!
If you are currently earning over your basic 20% rate for income tax you could employ your partner, parent or child (if they are of a working age!) to help out with the business. By doing this, they are earning some money, which is tax-free up to £11,500, and you are getting an allowable expense!
Invest In Yourself
If you are employed by traditional means, you are safe in the knowledge that you are covered at work for many things. However, when you go at it by yourself you are vulnerable to all kinds of issues. If you fall ill, or work is slow, you don’t get paid – It is as simple as that.
Perhaps the less appealing piece of advice I have for you is to insure yourself. A sure-fire way to not pay tax is to not have an income, and during these times where you are not working, you want to know you are getting some protection. While your premiums won’t get tax relief, your payments will be tax-free which will be a welcome relief during those trickier times that all freelancers go through!
This is something I have always done, however, I understand that not everyone’s circumstances allow for it – but where you can I would highly recommend putting a percentage of your earnings into a savings account as and when you receive it. Having that money tucked away for when the tax man comes knocking not only gives you peace of mind, but it will also give you a sense of your income and if you are hitting the targets you set out to achieve.
Word of warning to those who decide to go down this route: Don’t dip your hand into this money pot! Tax money is not your money, and it can be so hard to forget that, especially in times of financial strain. My advice would be to always look for extra work if you are struggling, as “borrowing” from your tax savings will only do you harm in the long run.
The Internet is a wealth of knowledge, and you can find so many useful resources for helping you on your way to a more financially stable business. There is never a right or wrong answer to the way someone wishes to run their own business, but every little helps in this industry and I have learned the hard way that little tips and tricks like these can make all the difference!
After all, who doesn’t want to see more money in their pockets at the end of the year?
If you have been freelancing for any length of time, then I am certain you will have come across clients who work to a 30-day invoice period. Over the years that I have been working for myself, I have experienced this type of invoicing and whilst my experiences haven’t been all bad, there have been occasions where clients haven’t paid within the set time frame. Not only is this off-putting for me as a freelancer, but it can often be detrimental to be business!
If you are new to the industry, or perhaps you have simply been lucky so far with your clients, then you may not have come across the 30-day invoice or understand why it can be such a bad thing for those trying to build their own business!