I’ll say it right now. I was in favour of the UK remaining in the EU. I wrote a post about it yesterday and it’s a bit lacking in that positive, confident tone that all business articles are supposed to have. My apologies.
So, here’s a looking-forward post with reassurances and useful advice.
Brexit for the Client-Centred
The large-scale purchase and sale of goods in the UK is about to hit rough waters, because the UK will now have to renegotiate treaties without the clout of the world’s largest trading bloc. But the sale and purchase of services (and small scale sale of products) across borders is another issue.
Many independent workers have customers, clients or employers overseas. The drop in the value of the pound means that the American dollar, the Australian dollar, the Canadian dollar and pretty much every other currency is suddenly worth more in comparison to the pound than it was before June 24th. At least some of this loss in value will probably be long-term. That means the pound will buy less, but it also means British products and labour will be less expensive for people overseas.
If the cost of living goes up, then independent workers may be in a better position to weather the change than people in more traditional jobs. While the traditional economy may falter because of uncertainty and less favourable treaties, the freelance economy will flourish. The US dollar is especially strong right now, with the Australian and Canadian dollars worth approximately 30% less.
Advice for UK Freelancers and Entrepreneurs
British freelancers and entrepreneurs can take advantage of the weak pound by concentrating on foreign clients and customers.
- If you already have clients or customers overseas, value them. Build on your relationships.
- If most or all of your work is UK-based, consider selling your goods or services overseas. It may be easier than you think.
- Give some serious thought to how you can do more business with clients or customers in the US. Now is the time. The strong US dollar and weak pound will make your work more affordable in the US market than ever before, and the US is huge. Its economy is six and a half times the size of the UK’s, its population is five times the size, and it is making a strong recovery from the recession.
As freelancers, our ability to choose clients and markets makes us flexible, and it will help us weather any trouble that comes out of the referendum results.
Stay strong, stay hopeful and watch this space. I’ll be posting an address and design details for Minor Oak, Nottingham’s new (and awesome) coworking space, soon.
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You made a lot of good points. While I have seen a lot of emphasis on the negatives of Brexit for business, it will also bring opportunities. In the case of our business, the lower value of the pound will make our services even better value for our foreign clients. And in the longer term, any lessening of business regulation may also be beneficial. It is important that we position ourselves to take full advantage of any changes that are coming.
I agree that a weak pound makes it easy to sell overseas, but a loosening of regulations can turn into a race to the bottom: firms that continue to follow best practices and act ethically may have to compete with firms that are willing to do anything to cut costs.