This article was written in collaboration with our partner Coconut.
Being a freelancer chef has many benefits : flexibility, control over your hours and finances and the opportunity to develop your skills by working in different venues.
But what does it take for a chef or a hospitality professional to start their own business?
Organisation. Passion. But above all make sure you have the best tools at your disposable to go freelance easily. We have asked Clyde, an independent chef working with Brigad for two years now to share his top tips to be a freelance chef today.
Clyde is a chef working in London. He used to work in the kitchen of one of Britain’s top private banks before he decided to make the move to self-employment.
He was tired of working long hours every week and felt that he never had enough time for himself or with his family.
Clyde was looking for a new challenge, something more exciting but also more rewarding. Something that would allow him to continue to learn and improve his skills whilst working in a flexible way that suited him.
For many people like Clyde, knowing how and where to find good jobs can be a challenge. And the money management aspect of being self-employed can be a daunting prospect for some. We spoke to Clyde to hear how he made it work for him.
“Over the last few years, I’ve really built up my experience and skills as a chef. All l needed was the courage to leave the safety of full-time employment and get myself out there! I joined a local temp agency at first but it didn’t amount to much.”
“Then, one-night I came across an advert for chefs from a company called Brigad. I hadn’t heard of them before but one quick look on their website and it sounded pretty interesting. They essentially match hospitality businesses with qualified staff.”
“I filled in the application form and the following day l woke up to a request for a phone interview and was later invited to sign up as a Brigader.”
“It has a number of advantages. One of the key things for me is staying in control of my work/life balance. I can choose when and where I work. l get notified about potential shifts on the app and if l like it (and l am free) then l take it.”
“As a chef, your food and skills speak for themselves. Which means you need to make sure you’re on top of your game at all times! The great thing about being self-employed is the variety – I get to work with so many different types of cuisine as well as work alongside lots of other talented chefs. It’s a great way to gain experience, learn new skills, and build up a network of industry contacts along the way.”
“There is a lot to consider when it comes to the financial side of being self-employed. You have to be very organised in order to manage your own cash flow well. Keeping track of all your income and expenses is really key. Which can be especially tricky when you’re busy working and always jumping between new jobs.”
“When I joined Brigad they introduced me to Coconut, a banking and accounting platform designed for self-employed people. It’s perfect for someone like me – all my business income is paid into this account and I get a notification every time money comes in. It automatically categorises all my expenses and stores all my receipts. It even calculates how much tax I owe throughout the year so I know how much so save.”
“On top of that, there’s lots of useful information in the app that tells you what you can and can’t claim on your tax bill which has been really helpful. As someone new to self-employment, I didn’t really know much about the accounting and tax side of things. Coconut make it super simple to understand.”
“With Brigad taking care of finding me work and Coconut in charge of sorting out my finances, I get to focus on what I love most – creating great food!”
“Make sure you separate your self-employed expenses from your personal expenses. I set up a separate business bank account which has the sole purpose of managing my business finances from the very start. It makes it easier to keep track of everything and will really make a difference when it comes to completing your tax return.”
Clyde has always wanted to promote health and quality food through his chef position. He has launched his business called the Calorie Finder to help & support food businesses nutritional analysis of recipes and menus. As he said himself “working as an independent chef with Brigad gave me this boost of confidence to go further and develop my own business.”
Moreover, the flexibility he gets through Brigad has helped him to focus on his website and train as a registered nutritionist.