The number of self-employed individuals has boomed in recent years, and all of those people have, to a degree, a shared experience. Are you self-employed, or are you thinking about making the leap? We’ve compiled some of the top ways that you might know you’re working for yourself.
You don’t know the meaning of ‘office hours’
Self-employment and 9 to 5 are not natural bedfellows. When you run your own business, you sacrifice regular office hours in favour, ostensibly, of flexibility. In reality, your work will often spill over into every part of your day, with many self-employed people using the evenings to catch up on the admin that they couldn’t do during the day.
Your work is colonising your house
Many of the UK’s self-employed community don’t have separate premises, but instead work from home. Indeed, some of the world’s biggest businesses were started from the kitchen or a spare room – but in the start-up phases self-employment often means papers, folders, and maybe stock cluttering every corner. Suddenly don’t have any room to move? Yes, you’re probably self-employed.
You’re becoming an expert in everything…
The self-employed need a uniquely broad skillset. In the early stages of your business you will be doing everything – the accounts, the admin, the emails, the marketing. Of course, this means that you will need to pick up some new talents. The self-employed need to be able to learn quickly, and to turn their hand to new things with ease.
…but what you really need is an extra pair of hands
There will come a time, though, when you simply need to take on extra help. You might not have the knowledge you need in order to complete the necessary work, or you might just not have the hours in the day. Either way, at some point you will feel the need to find an extra pair of hands – whether that is in the form of freelance help or, further down the line, an employee.
You can’t turn down work
The self-employed face a dilemma all year round. Many people enjoy the flexibility of self-employment but in reality, for others it is difficult to take advantage of this because of a fear of being out of work. There is a sense, particularly amongst freelancers, that if you turn down work once it will never come back. One of the skills that all self-employed people must learn is the ability to take a break, safe in the knowledge that the quality of your work will mean that it keeps on coming.
January 31st is the most stressful day of the year
Self Assessment is one of the most dreaded aspects of self-employment. January 31st, the day on which tax returns are due, is an annual scramble to make sure that all the figures are in order and you’ve saved up enough to settle the bill. Don’t forget, though, that you also need to remember July 31st – the deadline for the payment on account.
But you can’t imagine going back
For all its faults, though, self-employment is singularly rewarding. The self-employed often enjoy greater flexibility when compared with employees – and, most importantly, self-employment means working for yourself, and keeping the profits, rather than working for someone else’s benefit. It’s certainly tough, but self-employment remains the first choice for thousands.