Whether it’s watching an episode of The Apprentice or Dragon’s Den, or getting fed up of having to juggle personal commitments around an inflexible shift pattern, there are lots of things that inspire people to go it alone and become self-employed. Here are some things to consider if you’re thinking of working for yourself.
According to an article published in the Huffington Post, one in every seven people that make up the UK’s workforce is self-employed. That’s one in seven people who benefit from the work-life balance that self-employment has to offer. Being your own boss often means that you can tailor your work around your lifestyle, childcare or health constraints, and work at a time that suits you and your customers.
Working on something that you love is the perfect way to banish the Monday morning blues for good. Perhaps you have a hobby or a craft that you enjoy, or are often receiving compliments on a skill that could form the foundation of your new business. Whatever you do, self-employment provides an opportunity for people to combine their passion with their profession.
A downside of having the flexibility to take holiday at a time that suits you is the lack of holiday pay and annual leave allowance when you work for yourself. The same goes for sick pay and other employee benefits. It’s crucial for self-employed people to budget for these periods.
It’s also really important to be aware of the fluctuating markets and seasons. Small business owners often find that they have busier periods that are balanced out by quieter weeks or months, and they need to plan holidays etc. accordingly.
‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’
A good business plan creates a strong foundation for any new start-up. Try including a SWOT analysis of your business idea, you can find a useful summary of a SWOT analysis here.
As a self-employed person you are responsible for registering your business with HMRC within 90 days of starting up by calling 0300 200 3504. You’ll also need to complete an annual tax return – accurate record keeping of your income and expenses will be enormously helpful in completing this.
Going it alone can be one of the most empowering things a person can do. It can, however, feel lonely at times. It may help to make contact with other local business people who are in a similar situation. There are many events and workshops aimed at self-employed people at all stages of their business. Try speaking to a Business Advisor at your local library or contacting your local Chamber of Commerce. There are often networking events or breakfast meetings in your local area. You can find your local Chamber here: http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/find-your-chamber/