Although I felt prepared when I took the plunge into selfemployed-ville, there are many things I wish I’d done from the beginning which I think, is inevitable. However, I thought this handy list makes a good start, leaving you to fine tune procedures and tactics to suit you.
1 Register your business name.
Once you’ve decided on your business name (this could just be your own name), you’ll need to register with the HMRC. You will need to include a registered address and trading address. Once you’ve done this you can then register for self assessment which enables you submit your tax returns. At this point you don’t need to be VAT registered.
1 Keep track of ALL your income and expenses.
Organise your income and outgoings into a monthly spread sheet so you can add up figures easily. I literally update these things daily and it makes it so much easier to keep on top of. Keep all your receipts, invoices and bank statements which will act as supporting documents for your tax return.
2 Start your tax return early.
The deadline for an online tax return is 31 January (for tax year ending the previous April). If it’s your first year you’ll need to register, wait for a letter which takes up to 30 days, then register again in order to activate your account, wait for an activation code which takes up to week and then once you’re finally logged in to your account you have to wait 72 hours before you can file a tax return. Leave yourself plenty of time!
3 Spend as little as possible.
If you’ve decided to become freelance or self employed, when you start out try and keep your overheads as low as possible. Later on, your expenses will be deducted before tax making it more affordable to invest in your business. However, at the beginning having fewer outgoings will mean profit is more likely. This being said, don’t deprive yourself of things that are necessary to get your business off the ground.
4 Get yourself a free website.
Following on from the above point, make use of the free web services such as WordPress, Weebly and Wix. Do a bit of research and work out how to get the best out of it. While you’re setting up as a freelancer an online presence is imperative. However, spending a lot on it isn’t.
5 Set up your social media pages.
Make sure to regularly update your social media and interlink all your accounts with your website. This is a really important part of digital marketing AND it’s free to set up and maintain so go for it! It’s worthwhile doing a bit of research to find out some tips and hacks about how to get the most out of social media.
Put some money aside for your looming tax bill and for any holiday/sick days. The worst thing for me is definitely unpaid holidays, although the freedom self employment brings outweighs it! Regardless, it is necessary to have some money saved.
7 Create a business plan
This will be time consuming at the beginning and probably involve a lot of researching but it will give you an idea of what you want from your business and keep you on track in regards to goals and ambitions. It will ensure you identify competition and how to beat them, while securing your unique selling point.
I absolutely love being self employed and I can’t see myself ever successfully working for anyone else again. I realise it’s not for everyone but if you think it’s the right route for you, go for it and take the risk!
Would you ever go self employed?
If you are already, what’s your favourite aspect of it?