Wednesday, March 04, 2020

10 Top Tips to Remember When You’re Going Self Employed ♥

Going self employed may seem like all fun and games, but it’s important to bear in mind a few key considerations. For some top tips on tackling self-employment, read on…

Millennials and Generation-Z are changing the face of employment. Their comparative ambition, compared to their predecessors, means that going self employed is now a common and growing career path. In fact, self employment is now at a record high, reaching 15 percent of the UK population!

Once you’ve registered as self employed, there are a number of important steps to bear in mind to ensure a happy and healthy career. If you’re feeling unsure about the nitty gritty details, there are avenues you can take. For example, a financial adviser or solicitor in Dublin, Cardiff, London, or wherever else you are based, will be able to help you out.

That said, when it comes to the more personal coping mechanisms, there are many at-home tips you can try. So, for now, take a look at my top tips to remember when going self-employed to get you started…

1. Sort out Your Taxes and Insurance
Oftentimes, the idea of working for yourself can seem idyllic, but there are some all-important and tricky details you mustn’t forget. Taxes and insurance are two of these most important considerations when it comes to being self-employed.

The key points to bear in mind are that you shouldn’t be either overpaying or underpaying. If you’re overpaying, you’ll be losing out on money, and will have to apply for a rebate. That said, if you’re underpaying, this is perhaps more sinister, as you may need to pay more tax at the end of the year, or even a penalty fine!

All-in-all, the values you pay depend on whether your self-employed job is your second job, how much you earn, and what your profits are. To make sure you do it all right, you’ll need to fill out a Self Assessment tax return at the end of each tax year. Just make sure to set a reminder each year, and give yourself plenty of time to organise your finances.

2. Set Up a Pension
When setting up your own business, it can be easy to think only about what’s around the corner. Whether it be financial goals, client numbers, or personal achievements, the imminent future is often the most pressing concern.

That said, it’s so important to also remember to plan for the distant future, and this comes in the form of a pension. The three pension options you have are:

  • A personal pension, which is managed by a large investment company, and which most pension providers offer.
  • An SIPP, or self-invested personal pension, where you manage your investments.
    A government-backed pension, which accepts very low contributions.

The general rule of thumb for starting your pension pot is to half your age, and that’s the percentage of your income you should save. So, a 24-year-old beginning their pension pot should put 12 percent of their income aside each month.

3. Manage Your Money Effectively
With top tips one and two in mind, it’s vital that you have systems in place to manage your money. For starters, it’s very important that you separate your work funds from your personal funds, and pay yourself a salary. In doing so, you can be sure as to how much your company is earning, how much profit you’re making, and how much you’ll be taking away each month.

Naturally, all of this can be very confusing, which is why most self-employed people will hire an accountant for the job. This way, you can be sure you don’t miss a thing. After all, you can’t be an expert at everything!

4. Stay Organised
Now that we’ve discussed the much scarier money side of things, let’s get on to the good part; the work. Granted, it may be overwhelming to work for yourself but, if you’ve taken it this far, you’re definitely ready for the challenge.

Staying organised is the best way to equip yourself every day for what’s to come. You can do this by:

  • Using a planner to write down upcoming events and deadlines, and planning your to-do list accordingly.
  • As emails come in, organise them into folders, delete any unnecessary ones, and just ensure to keep your mailbox clean.
  • Prioritise the most important tasks, and make sure to get these done first.
  • That said, there’s no harm in decluttering your to-do list of all the small tasks, which won’t take long, so as to clear your mind a little.
  • Break up bigger tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks, so you can tick each aspect off as you go, keeping a positive mindset.
  • Make sure all your work is backed up somewhere, either on a hard-drive or in the cloud.

5. Outsource Where Necessary
We can’t all be experts at everything. In fact, the likelihood is that you’ll have a certain aspect of your job that you’re much more knowledgeable at. This is probably the part you enjoy more too so, if your budget allows, don’t be afraid to outsource.

There will be people or companies out there who can do exactly what you need, quickly and efficiently. All you need to do is find the person or people for the job, and don’t be afraid to loosen the reins a little. You never know, you might just learn something from them along the way.

6. Dress for Success
A lot of being self-employed is down to mental attitude. If you’re not in a positive mindset, it can have a real effect on your productivity. So, one of the best ways to tackle this - and one of the simplest ways too – is to just take a shower!

If you stay in your pyjamas all day, it’s likely that you won’t be in a productive mindset, and there won’t be any notable difference between work and home. So, set an alarm each morning, hop in the shower, and put some different clothes on. They don’t even have to be smart clothes –another set of comfies will do the trick. It’s all about the mindset.

7. Get a Change of Scenery
In a similar way, it might be useful to get out of the house every so often. As someone who works from home, it can be easy for the two to merge together. So, whether it be designating a room in your house purely for work, or heading to coffee shop or local library every so often, separating the two is paramount for a positive mental attitude.

8. Go on Holiday
Being self-employed can be stressful, and often relies on your own personal work to get things done. That said, whether it be a short break, or a full-on two-week holiday, getting away from your desk is super important.

The beauty of working for yourself is that you really can just a take a break when you see fit! Make the most of this unique situation, and treat yourself every once in a while. Just make sure you notify clients, and have everything in order before going, and you can rest easy.

9. Get a Good Work/Life Balance
This is an extremely important element of self-employment, which can be achieved through a number of the top tips above. That said, this doesn’t just come from separating your work and home scenery. It also comes from switching off when you’re with family and friends.

Making sure you’re doing a 9 to 5 shift on weekdays is certainly important, so you don’t fall behind. But, also remember that, once the clock hits “home time”, finish up, close your laptop, and say goodbye to work for the day. It goes both ways; making sure you work when it’s “work time”, and that you switch off entirely when it’s “home time”.

Some good ideas for separating work life and home life include:
  • Have separate laptops for work stuff and home.
  • Don’t log into your emails on your phone, so that you’re not looking at them in your downtime.
    Try not to talk about work with your friends and family.
    Communicate to clients that you won’t take work calls during down-time hours.

10. Prioritise Your Mental Health
As we’ve seen already, having a positive mental attitude is one of the keys to self-employment success. That said, you can’t be positive all the time, and working from home can take its toll.
Tackling this can definitely be done through a number of our top tips above. But, if things really do get too much, it’s so important to take time off. After all, you can only work as effectively and successfully as your mind allows.

Still Up for Going Self Employed?
So, there we have it – some of my top tips for tackling self-employment in the most effective and productive way possible. If you’re still unsure about the detailed ins-and-outs about going self employed, then the internet is your best friend. For official advice, head to the UK government website for all the intricate details.

Have you got any experience working self-employed? I’d love to hear about how you managed, and what organisational and mindful actions you took. Let’s get inspired through each other’s successes and failures, and help each other out along the way!

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