At some point or another, many of us may have considered ditching the 9 to 5 and going alone into the world of self-employment.
However, there’s more to being self-employed that you might not have considered – just as a start, here are a few things you should consider before deciding whether the self-employed life is really for you.
Not everyone realises just how much work goes into running your own business and, unlike when you work as an employee, there isn’t always someone available to help you manage the workload.
There is also a lot that you will have to keep up with, including maintaining up-to-date financial records, paying National Insurance Contributions and potentially VAT, managing your online presence and chasing up payments from clients.
Another difficulty you might face as a self-employed professional is taking responsibility for challenges and failures. While it’s a great feeling to take the praise for a job well done, a job not-so-well done can make self-employment seem a lot more lonely and intimidating when you have to face the music alone.
Unless you want a nasty surprise when you do finally decide to take the leap and work alone, you need to be prepared to manage it all and do your research to make sure it’s all done right. That way, your self-employed career can get off on the right foot from the start.
While you may have been used to being fairly organised in the past while you were employed, that’s not enough when you’re working for yourself. It’s a whole other level of organisation required when you’re self-employed to keep up with your commitments.
Organisation is key to success and makes running a business a lot easier. Without it, things can fall apart – deadlines are missed, contacts are lost and opportunities fall by the wayside.
To get ahead and get your business running smoothly, you need to set up an organised system that makes it easy for you to manage and keep track of all of your clients and projects.
Organisation is also especially important when you consider that self-employed workers are responsible for paying their own tax.
But being organised isn’t just about keeping a tidy desk and making down your meetings in a calendar – it also means knowing how to manage your life at work and your life at home.
When you are passionate about your work, it can be tempting to put in extra hours to get ahead.
However, this can easily get out of control and result in people ditching anything resembling a healthy work-life balance for the sake of their business.
Consider setting yourself work hours to avoid overworking.
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry
Self-employed and freelance insurance products might not be the most interesting aspect of becoming self-employed, but they can be vital to protecting not only your business but yourself and your family.
While many self-employed workers think to insure their business in various ways, from covering vehicles and premises to getting Public Liability Insurance, they often forget to insure the person at the heart of it all – themselves.
With most self-employed professionals in the UK not having any sick pay, if they were ill or injured and couldn’t work there’s nothing to fall back on.
It’s also clear that a lot of UK families simply don’t have enough savings to live off for more than a few weeks. This leaves self-employed workers very few options if they ever need to take a break from work due to their health.
It’s important to plan for hard times when you are self-employed. Without the support of an employer, self-employed professionals need to think seriously about what they might do if they were unable to work or how their family might survive without their income.
Relying on meagre government benefits and depleting savings aren’t the only options for the self-employed if they were ill or injured and couldn’t work, however.
Self-Employed Sickness Insurance is an insurance product that is designed specifically to protect your income if an injury or illness prevents you from working by providing you with monthly benefit until you get back on your feet.
Long-term policies can provide you with these benefits for as long as you need them and an own occupation definition of incapacity means that you can claim for practically any health problem that prevents you from doing your particular job.
For the sake of your family and how they might afford to live without you, it’s also worthwhile to consider a Life Insurance policy that will either provide them with income, cover a funeral, or pay off a substantial loan like a mortgage.
Part of taking responsibility for your business is that you also take responsibility for any failures. This can be both a good and bad thing, but ultimately it’s something you need to learn to accept before you decide to commit to being self-employed.
Taking risks is an important part of getting your business off the ground and, being self-employed, you need to know which risks are the right ones to take and how to handle them when you don’t get the results you plan for.
Risk-taking plays an important role in marketing your business and networking. With all your newly added freedoms as a self-employed professional, you can make the most of these opportunities.
Not only should you be thinking about the future but you should also be planning for it realistically as well. This means setting attainable long-term goals, delivering a service or product of consistent quality, growing your client-base, and your retirement plans.
As a self-employed professional you won’t have a workplace pension to rely on when it comes to retirement, which means that you need to start building your savings if you hope to afford a cosy retirement.
One of the ways to save for retirement and manage your funds is with a private pension. The sooner you start saving into a personal pension, the more you are likely to have saved to cover the cost of your retirement and the higher the amount if tax relief you’ll receive on your savings during your working life.
Ultimately, self-employment comes with as many risks as it does rewards, but with a bit of knowledge about what you might be in for you and your business stand a better chance of surviving. For help and advice in areas such as protection and pensions, the team at Drewberry is happy to help.
We started Drewberry™ because we were tired of being treated like a number.
We all deserve a first class service when it comes to issues as important as protecting our health and our finances. Below are just a few reasons why it makes sense to talk to us.
If you’re thinking of becoming self-employed or are just starting out, feel free to speak to us about your protection or pension options. Pop us a call on 02084327333 or email email@example.com.
I’ve held a policy with Drewberry for several years now. They are always friendly, insightful and offer great service.