When considering going self-employed, there are a lot of things to think about. Launching your own business is an exciting prospect, but it is essential that you weigh up all your options and plan ahead before making any decisions. According to the Office of National Statistics, by December 2018, there were 4.84 million people working on a self-employed basis. That’s 14.8% of all workers in the UK. Increasing by 63,000 in three months, self-employment is growing in popularity.
There are currently thousands of different jobs you can undertake on a self-employed basis and there’s no doubt that a lot of tradespeople have chosen to work for themselves. Many of the students who train and gain their qualifications with us go out to work as their own boss.
Is Self-Employment Right For You?
The first thing to think about when considering self-employment is whether it’s the right thing for you. Are you doing it for the right reasons? If it’s a case of being bored in your current role, it’s worth looking elsewhere. There may be another company where you’ll be better suited. Being your own boss isn’t for everyone and that’s ok, but if you’re set on working for yourself, go for it. Just make sure you’re prepared.
What Qualities Do You Need?
As well as the overall talent and skill to perform your job, whether you’re an electrician or photographer, consultant or decorator, you will need several other skills to be successful on a self-employed basis. When you’re doing it alone, you won’t have the benefit of someone bringing work your way, setting your timetable, etc. To be successful, you need to be determined and focused. Know what you want and how you’re going to get it. You’ll need to plan your time carefully and be realistic. And, if you get to the point on employing others, you’ll need to be a good leader.
What Are The Benefits Of Self-Employment?
There are a whole host of different reasons why people choose to become their own boss.
With self-employment can come plenty of variety within your workload. As you’re in control of your workload, you will be able to choose a range of different projects to undertake.
With this comes the ability to set your own rate of pay. It’s important to get this just right. You don’t want to underestimate your worth and undercharge but at the same time, if you charge too much, customers may go elsewhere. A study by Intuit QuickBooks found that in the UK, self-employed workers will earn an average of £32,623. That’s £5,000 more than the average UK salary.
Depending on your job, you may be able to work from home. Avoiding the dreaded rush-hour commute and office politics is something many people dream of. If your job will find you working elsewhere, you’ll potentially find yourself travelling around for work but you’ll be more in control of the time and distances you’ll go.
One reason many people choose to go it alone is so that they can set their own hours. No longer restricted to a company’s working hours, those who are self-employed work on a schedule that suits them – to some extent. When working for a client, you’ll still be dealing with deadlines, but there is much more freedom when you’re freelance.
What Are the Downsides of Self-Employment?
One of the main problems that arise when working for yourself is making sure that you have work to do. When you’re your own boss, it’s down to you to find customers/clients or at least encourage them to find you. This is where marketing comes into play. It’s hugely important to market yourself and your business. Luckily, we have several tips on how you can do this in our Marketing Tips blog post. We also go into more detail about using branded merch and social media for your business in the following articles:
One great thing about working for a company is the paid leave you’re entitled to. In the UK, almost all workers are entitled to 28 days of paid leave – this includes eight bank holidays. Maternity and paternity leave is also paid and some businesses allow a set amount of paid sick leave. Unfortunately, when you’re working for yourself, that isn’t the case. A day off simply means a day without pay so it’s essential that you factor this is when considering self-employment and how you’re going to manage your money.
Talking of pay, it can sometimes be easier said than done to get paid. There are many self-employed workers out there who will tell you of the struggle they have getting some of their customers/clients to pay for their services. Sometimes there are genuine reasons as to my payment is late, but you must be careful not to be caught out. We’ve put together a few pointers as to how you can reduce the risk of late or non-payment.
How Much Will It Cost To Go Self-Employed?
This figure will vary drastically depending on what industry you’re in. Are you going to be working from home or setting up your own store? What stock/equipment will you require? And what about paying your tax?
If you’re likely to be working ‘on-site’, you won’t necessarily need premises, however, you will need transportation to travel and transport equipment. Companies will often provide any necessary equipment but once you leave to work for yourself, you’ll need to purchase that equipment yourself. This, along with transportation requirements could mean your bank account takes a hit, to begin with, or you’ll need a business loan to get you started.
When employed by someone else, they take care of tax for you. A percentage of your paycheck will go towards your tax, NI and maybe even pension each month before it even reaches your bank account. When you’re self-employed, it’s down to you to organise paying your tax. Keep receipts and records in a secure location and do your research. There are plenty of resources online that go through the process step-by-step such as Gov.uk. Alternatively, many self-employed workers choose to employ an accountant to prepare accounts and calculate how much tax they must pay.
Don’t forget that as a self-employed person, you’ll need to be insured. Business liability insurance covers you and your business for accidents relating to your business.
Become A Self-Employed Tradesperson
Before you can think about becoming self-employed in the trades, you need to have the right qualifications and experience. At Options Skills, you can become an electrician, gas engineer or plumber through our training courses.
Based in Birmingham, Manchester and London, we deliver a number of training courses to students all around the country. Designed to help anyone from beginners to experienced tradespeople, our trainees gain the qualifications they need to enter and/or progress within the industry.
If you’re interested in training with us, fill in our online contact form or call us on 0800 802 1315.