I’ve been self employed for over 7 years now, and despite some struggles and bumps in the road, there really hasn’t ever been anything else I want to do. From choosing your own hours, working at your own pace; there’s a lot of positives from going freelance and being self employed, but there’s also a lot of things you should keep in mind.
I know, we’d all love to be able to throw ourselves into a business idea when it comes along, but it’s not always financially viable. While you get set up, it might be worth looking at taking on work as a freelancer on a part time basis. Start out small, and gradually build up the amount of work you take on. That way you can build up a portfolio of work, and use that to drive your growth and bring in more business.
When I started up my shop I continued with my part time job, which meant I always had money coming in to help towards rent and bills, or could put that money back into my business towards stock or other business essentials (like cute stationery!)
If this isn’t enough, and you need to invest in equipment such as a better computer, software or even to help you properly set up a home office it might be worth looking into your options for a small business loan such as the ones provided by organisations such as the Federation of Small Business. This can help give you the financial boost you need to get set up to start working for yourself.
Know your worth
This is SO important these days, and something I see being debated on Twitter a lot. Some brands think they can offer “exposure” for work, and sometimes people take unpaid work in return for such, thinking it’ll help grow their brand.
But exposure don’t pay the bills.
Decide from the get go how much your time is worth and what you’ll be charging for your services. Of course it really depends on what you can offer and how established you are, but consider a flat rate for certain projects, and take EVERYTHING into account. As a blogger, consider the time you’ll spend photographing, writing, editing and sharing a post on social media; get it right, don’t sell yourself short, and you’ll be able to grow more as a result.
Aaaah, tax. The absolute BANE of my life and my most hated thing about being self employed. I know I’m probably not alone in completely forgetting about completing my tax return until the last minute, and then having to catch up on months of accounts.
But seriously, make sure you get it all done on time. No-one wants to be charged a fine and have HMRC on your backs, not to mention how you could be using that money elsewhere to help grow your business.
It’s probably a good idea to look at budgeting, too. It’d be great if the minute we all became self employed the work just kept coming in, but it’s unlikely. There’ll be busy and quiet periods, so try and keep some money aside for those times you might need it.
When to go full time?
You can spend months or years uhm-ing and ahh-ing over when to take the plunge and go self employed, and there’s a lot to consider. Hopefully you’ll get to the point where you’re earning a consistent enough wage from freelance work, or are finding yourself with not enough time to complete all your work.
So, in comes the scary moment. Adjusting to being completely your own boss, relying on YOURSELF completely and needing the drive and focus to keep a business going.
It’s hard work; you never really get a day off, people think you spend most of your days working from bed (only half true), and it can be a little lonely on your own. But really, it is so rewarding being your own boss – are any of you self employed?
*This is a collaborative post