“Working to live, not living to work, with more of a laid-back approach,” says Holly Hudson, a community lead at WeWork 64 York St in Sydney, is the focus of the typical Australian when it comes to work. Australia is home to more than 24 million citizens, one of the top economies in the world. It was ranked #12 by the World Bank for GDP in 2015. Australia’s economy is positively showing growth but one key factor of this prosperity is because of the people who work in the labour market.
Nearly 1 in 3 Australians are freelancing. That is almost 32% (versus 30% in 2014) of Australia’s population. Now, with this statistic of gig work and workers available, it is also important for one to understand the laws regulating Australia in regards to employers protecting contractual employees. Freelancers in Australia are recognised as independent contractors. As a freelance worker they will have to secure their own Australian Business Number (ABN) and be required to pay their own superannuation, tax and GST.
Steps to being a freelancer in Australia:
- Secure Your ABN
A unique 11-digit code that distinguishes you from other businesses. Getting an ABN is free and easy, just access the abr.gov.au website and register yourself as a sole trader. This process can take up to 28 days for the Australian Business Register to review and approve it.
- Find Work
With multiple sites and applications to find a job from, fretting to look for a job is unnecessary as there are millions of opportunities that await you on the internet.
- Flexibility Check
Being a freelancer involves a lot of time management. You may therefore find it helpful to research productivity techniques and find a methodology that works for you. Getting work done in time is a way to build a nicer name, and promote your brand in your freelancing career.
- Manage Invoices
Being a freelancer in Australia requires you to settle tax. However, gig workers are eligible for the ATO’s pay-as-you-go service, which allows you to spread your tax payments across the financial year instead of getting hit by a lump sum at the end of June. Some other important details to include in your list of priorities are to learn new skills and managing your invoices (which includes):
- Your ABN
- Your contact details
- The name of the company that has commissioned your work
- A description of the work completed
- The fee or hourly rate and number of hours worked (plus GST if required)
- Your bank details
- An invoice number and date
- Payment terms (i.e. a deadline for processing the invoice)
- Know Your Value
Of course, as a freelancer, you will be your own boss which means that you won’t always be reliant on someone else to determine your salary (although some companies provide fixed rates) and one effective way to sell your skills in the gig market is to know how much is the standard or preferred rate offered for somebody with your skills. Having this idea would give you a general knowledge to know how much you should be earning for a specific task you will be offering thus, knowing your worth.