Tips for becoming self-employed

Working for yourself is a very appealing prospect to many people. I for one have always admired those who are self-employed. My husband, Nigel, is a self-employed painter and decorator, and I see first hand just how much hard work, dedication and motivation is required. It would be easy to wake up one morning and decide to have the day off, but of course in doing that, you wouldn’t earn any money!

Being self-employed isn’t easy. It really does take a lot of hard work, especially in the early days when you need to research your idea, make sure there is a demand for it, look into small business loans, figure out if it’s sustainable and also find out how to build a regular customer base.

It’s certainly not for those who want to make a quick buck. It takes time to build up a business from nothing. Whilst many people are brave and decide to take the plunge voluntarily, others, like myself, find themselves forced into making the decision to go self-employed.

After accepting redundancy last year, I spent a good number of weeks looking for similar jobs. However, I quickly discovered that all of the ‘part-time’ jobs out there usually meant working a few hours a day spread across five days a week. To me this isn’t part time! Plus it would be impossible to work everyday with two small children, especially during school holidays.

It soon became apparent that working for myself just may be the answer I had been looking for. Whilst working full time, before I’d had children, I’d often thought about setting up my own business, but I was never brave enough.

Facing redundancy really gave me the push I needed, and I’m pleased to say that since starting my business back in October 2017, it now gives me the income I require, as well as the flexibility to chose my own hours.

I don’t have to answer to anyone. There’s no yearly appraisal, no one-to-ones, or awkward team-building  activities! Just me, my customers and I! Just the way I like it!

So without further ado, here are my top tips for taking the plunge and going self-employed:

First things first – decide what you want to do. What’s your idea? What’s your business model? Who are your customers?

Do your research! Is there anyone else out there doing what you want to do? If so, how are they doing it? Are they doing well? How much do they charge? How does their business operate? Knowing your competitors will help to give you a head start.

Expenses – Are there any expenses required to set up your business? If so, what? How can you pay for these, and will you make the money back? Do you need to buy products on a regular basis to keep your business going? If so, find out where to get them cheapest, but don’t lack on quality!

Get Customers – Start advertising your business. I started by asking in a local group online if anyone would be interested in my business, and the uptake was huge! Ask online, create a website and social media pages for your businesses etc. Print off leaflets and deliver them door-to-door, advertise in local shops and magazines, use word of mouth to get your business out there.

Be good – My business is reliant upon me providing the best service I can to my customers, and that’s the best way to make your business grow. Customers will talk to their friends and family, and recommend you to others who may also be interested in your business.

Register as self-employed – Becoming self-employed is completely to different to working for anyone else. You’ll need to manage your own books, taxes, insurance etc. Make sure you’re registered and seek advice if you’re struggling with this.

These are my top tips for becoming self-employed! Good luck!

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