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Saving For Your Tax Bill: Fran Swaine's Story

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January is when most people pay their tax bill. It can be painful if you aren’t expecting it.

A big welcome to Fran Swaine who tells her story about starting out with a new freelance business.

Tell us about yourself

I’m a marketing consultant without the jargon! I work primarily with charities, not for profits and small to medium sized organisations. I love what I do because I get to meet so many amazing, passionate people!

Why did you start your own business?

I started freelancing in June 2012. I’d love to say I was completely fearless and awesome and just decided to be brave and do it but sadly that’s not true! Like many self employed people I was made redundant. The difference being I suffer with chronic migraine and at the time my health was so bad I knew I’d never handle the probation period of a new full time job so I decided to look into freelancing and I’ve never looked back. I adore it!

What was the biggest leap you needed to make?

Realising I’m good at what I do and believing in myself. When I started out I had so much self-doubt – could I actually do this? I still have it from time to time but at least now I can look back at all my successes and prove to myself I’m not terrible!

What scared you the most and why?

Accounts! I am terrible at maths so I was completely panic stricken about this. I thought it would be really complicated – all the tax and NI stuff and doing a tax return – arghhh! Luckily my stepdad is a bookkeeper so I could ask him all of my stupid questions!

How did you get past that fear?

I got a lot of support from my stepdad and took the time to understand it all. It’s actually incredibly simple! I make a note of everything I earn and everything I spend. I was convinced I wouldn’t have enough money, but at tax bill time I’d oversaved and had an extra 4k! But it’s so daunting when you have no idea how much money they are going to ask you for and you’ve always been used to it being dealt with before you got paid! Now it’s just the norm for me.

What’s your best piece of money and tax advice for a new freelancer and business owner?

Make sure you save for your tax. I’ve seen so many people not bother and then be landed with a 3/4k bill. Don’t think of it as your money. Also – make a note of everything as you go along. Lots of people just stuff all of their receipts into a drawer and sort it at tax return time. It’s far easier just to make a note of that ink cartridge and train ticket at the time, and then file it than pile them all up!


@FranSwaine is a marketing consultant based in Brighton. When she’s not busy helping her clients you can find her sewing or crocheting with a cat on her lap or out adventuring in the countryside.

If you’re feeling like Fran did, contact me to book a no obligation 20 minute call to explore how to save your your tax bill and still have money to have a life!

How do you save for your tax bill?

For how to save, read Save 2%: Don’t be In The Workhouse When You Retire


Start your business, help you do your sole trader tax return, expenses, explaining limited companies.

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