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The opportunities inherent in IR35 reform

Written by: Matt Craven of The CV & Interview Advisors
Published on: Apr 30, 2021

The opportunities inherent in IR35 reform

Unfortunately, there was no last-minute moratorium on IR35/off payroll working rules reform. From April 6, all public authorities and medium and large-sized businesses will be responsible for deciding the employment status of workers. Unfortunately, many of these organisations have made blanket status determinations and effectively mothballed their hiring of independent workers operating through personal services companies.

So, after a period of disappointment and reflection, all that’s left is to either wave the white flag or find a way to capitalise on the new landscape.

Whenever there’s significant economic turbulence, some businesses cease to exist, some tread water and some thrive. For those who thrive, some of this comes down to luck, but much comes down to the determination and strategy of the business leaders.

If you are a freelancer, contractor, interim or consultant, you can draw some parallels from this! The essence of IR35 reform is to ascertain who is operating as a ‘true’ business. True businesses have leaders who are responsible for developing strategies to survive and thrive. So, the first box to tick for those gig workers looking to carve an outside IR35 future is to embrace this task.

You are the leader of your business, so what’s your strategy for survival?

For many gig workers, this will require a shift in thinking. Being a ‘true’ business isn’t just an empty claim and the ticking of boxes; it’s about genuinely operating as a proper business.

Let’s have a look at some of the things that proper businesses do.

  • They have a website and marketing materials
  • They have a proper business domain for emails
  • They indulge in sales and marketing activity
  • They have marketing collateral, not job seeker CVs
  • They have a budget and resources for acquiring clients
  • They trade under their company’s name and brand
  • They use social media to build relationships with clients
  • Their database of prospects is crucial to their success
  • They have multiple revenue streams for different services
  • They work with multiple and concurrent clients
  • Repeat business and referrals are the lifeblood of success

Ask yourself, how many of these things you are doing?

It’s genuinely a significant shift in thinking, but for gig workers who are determined to work outside-IR35, operating as a true business can make this a reality. Perhaps the future is a combination of inside-IR35, umbrella, payrolled and outside-IR35 work. But, over time, an alternative strategy can achieve a growing portfolio of outside-IR35 work.

The first hurdle is to start thinking like a ‘true’ business and everything else will follow from there.

Further help

Look out for our upcoming webinars and if you are interested in working with a professional CV/resume writer or career coach to give yourself the edge, The Association has negotiated some discounted services on your behalf which you can explore here.


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