Becoming self-employed is one of the most exciting, yet daunting things you can ever do.
With many people now looking to become self-employed, whether as a sideline to another role or maybe as their next career, you may be starting to realise there are a lot of things you need to balance. Being your own boss has so many rewards, but I know it can be scary too with all the bits you need to remember and do.
Don’t let the admin and financial side of businesses put you off, even if you are not business-minded, there is help for you.
Here are my 3 top tips to remember when becoming self-employed
Keep your finances in order!
As an accountant by trade, so many people get into a pickle when it comes to their taxes.
Firstly, I just wanted to say there is absolutely no need to. Yes, you need to make sure you pay the tax man but there are some easy solutions for doing this that do not require you to have an accountancy qualification to do!
If you are completely out of your depth, I would highly recommend paying for an accountant to help you out with your taxes and accounts. There are some great accountants for freelancers out there who will help guide you through the process and make sure everything is filed on time with HMRC.
Whether you choose to file your own tax returns or get assistance, making sure you keep a record of all your finances is the most important thing. Keeping a tracker of all your incoming and outgoings will make your year-end paperwork so much easier. I personally just track in on an excel document, with dates, amount, company and work carried out, then again another tab for outgoings in a similar format.
This just allows me to calculate everything so much easier at the end of the year with minimal fuss. If you hire an accountant they will want to see any receipts for purchases, with online purchases just print the payment email confirmations. They will also want to see the income, now depending on if you are online or in a physical store, this could be your PayPal/bank transactions or till receipts.
If in doubt, keep it all, you will be told if you don’t need it. Don’t forget also that HMRC can ask to do a check and can ask for the last 6 years’ records, so make sure you hold on to them!
Marketing is key
No matter what business you are planning to launch, marketing is the key to making it a success.
Just like with the finances above, you do not need to be an expert in this field to become successful. If you choose to do it yourself (like many of us do!) then start small and learn as you go along. Your best tool in marketing your business is going to be customers and word of mouth. Making sure you stand out from the crowd and share regularly will make sure that you are in people’s minds.
If you get a chance to plan ahead with the campaigns that come up then that would be a great benefit. For example, if you produce personalised products, making sure you have your plans lined up for things such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter and Christmas, for example, will give you time to plan the product and the marketing that will come with it.
Don’t expect to get it right every time, social media is a fickle thing and they are always changing the algorithm. It is a learning curve at all times and even 11 years on I am still learning as I go along!
Stick with it
Business is tough, there are no lies there.
Some people think they are going to launch a business such as a blog and within a few weeks are going to be rolling in review items and sponsored posts but that really is not the reality. Now, there are some occasions where something just flies, but for every one of those, there are thousands of us slogging at it in the background and I have learned so much in the time I have been blogging.
Don’t give up though! If you are passionate about your business, why would you give up?
Now for businesses that require a financial investment, you do need to set yourself a limit as to when you call it a day, simply because it is not a financially viable business if you need to constantly bankroll it. Before you start any business, you need to sit down and produce a business plan that includes costing for setting up and running costs for a start-up period.
This will allow you to get set up and running, whilst accepting it may cost a bit to keep running whilst you grow. Past this point, you will need to look at the business model and its future. That is not to say the business would need to close but it may work to bring things more in-house or make other savings where possible.
If like me you are working on an online store/business, the running costs are relatively low to get going. All you really need to do is give it time to grow and you grow also. There is so much to learn out there that I am still learning today and think I always will until I stop writing.
Being self-employed can bring so much to your life and sometimes you have to roll with the cards you are dealt, it is what makes you and your brand so much stronger. Good luck if you are taking those first few steps toward becoming self-employed.