From chimney sweepers to copywriters, dog walkers to filmmakers, the freelance community includes all sorts of different professions. Each of them might enjoy the freedom of being their own boss or a flexible working week. Yet what they might also have in common is a struggle to be paid on time, stress over the uncertainty of finding work and hours of financial admin.

That’s why Starling Bank is joining forces with UnderPinned, the digital community and management portal for freelancers. We share the same goal: to make life easier for freelancers.

As a Starling Marketplace partner, UnderPinned can provide Starling business account holders and sole traders with an even quicker, slicker sign up to its freelance management portal. It includes tools to create contracts, find new projects, track deadlines and store contacts.

Customers who sign up through Starling’s Marketplace will receive a 10% discount for either the annual or monthly membership. With the 10% discount, the cost is £80.89 per year or £8.09 per month. There’s also a 14-day free trial if you want to test UnderPinned out for your business before signing up for a subscription.

Flexible, fee-free banking for freelancers

Like UnderPinned, Starling’s mission is to make financial admin less of a burden - we want to do the categorising and calculations for you so that you can do the work you enjoy or take some time to meet up with friends after a long, difficult, and often isolating day. We don’t want you to be sitting at home working out which invoices to chase.

“I use Starling as my business bank account because it makes managing my freelance money easy,” says freelancer Anna Codrea-Rado. “Saving for tax and tracking my expenses straight in the app is super simple, removing the biggest headaches of managing the daily self-employed finances.”

Anna is a writer, podcaster and campaigner for #FairPayForFreelancers. Helping freelancers to thrive is the common thread that runs through her community and network FJ&Co, her newsletter The Professional Freelancer and her podcast Is This Working?, co-hosted with Tiffany Philippou.

Digital tools, tips and tricks

When UnderPinned launched in 2018, Anna was among the first to sign up, not only for her own freelance work but also so that she could spread the word. “I've been a big fan of UnderPinned since it launched. It's a much needed digital space for freelancers where they can connect with others, showcase their work and access tools to make running their businesses easier,” she says.

At the heart of UnderPinned is its one-stop management portal, known as The Virtual Office. The cloud-based space is designed to help you keep on top of your to-do list. It includes:

  • A portfolio and proposal builder
  • Contacts management
  • Access to the UnderPinned network of freelancers
  • A project management suite including a to-do list and work tracking tool, calendar, notes and project file storage
  • A system to create and store e-contracts
  • Access to partners for accounting, insurance, co-working space and legal advice
  • Educational resources on topics such as day rates and working remotely
  • Free access to events

Within its digital community, you’ll find freelancers from all walks of life. You can ask questions, find answers and grow your network. It could even lead to your next gig.

Further advice is provided through the UnderPinned online magazine, which is free. It covers in-depth educational pieces, for example on getting a mortgage if you’re pregnant and freelance, or how to navigate a freelance career without using social media. It also shares updates, news and politics relating to freelancing, such as IR35 tax reforms and statistics on the number of people who are self-employed and don’t pay into a pension.

Face to face meetups

UnderPinned doesn’t just exist in the cloud. It’s a community space too. UnderPinned HQ is their event space in Cambridge Heath, East London. It’s where the team hosts events and works with the community to accelerate freelance careers. Free for members, UnderPinned provides workshops, mentoring sessions and drop-in surgeries, all with the aim of connecting you to the right support so that you can clear any freelance hurdle that comes your way.

It also runs meetups in association with businesses such as Rebel Book Club, Sofar Sounds for music gigs and followers of the podcast and community Being Freelance. Events are included in the monthly subscription to the management portal.

Putting freelancers first

If you sign up to UnderPinned through Starling, we won’t charge you more than if you had signed up directly. In fact, you’ll receive a 10% discount if you join UnderPinned through the Starling Marketplace. With your permission, Starling will then fill out basic details such as your name and address, plus your account and sort code to save you the form filling when you create your first invoice.

“UnderPinned partnering with Starling are two of my favourite freelance tools coming together,” says Anna. “I'm really excited to see them serve this important sector of the modern UK workforce.”

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