Recent figures show that record numbers of people have become self-employed in Britain over the last couple of years. This figure shows that becoming your own boss is more viable than ever. This change can provide some great opportunities, but also can pose some risks. This article will aim to go over the major differences between the two and how to get the best out of becoming self-employed. We have split the differences into three categories; responsibilities, timings and support.
Responsibilities when you’re Self-Employed
Once you become self-employed you will become more responsible for many aspects of your work life. The major aspects of your career you will gain responsibility in are productivity and, of course, finances. Let’s start with productivity, since you will now have the choice of what work you do, it will be important that you remain focused to make sure it is done as quick and efficiently as possible. One useful tip to keeping yourself on track when you have a lot of jobs on your plate is to keep a to-do-list. Not only will it allow you to prioritise certain tasks and remove distractions, but the act of ticking things off the list can provide motivation to keep going. On the subject of motivation, it is important keep your mood positive, this can be done in a variety of ways including exercise, taking breaks and celebrating a job well done.
When it comes to finances, the biggest change you will see is in tax. If you have never been self-employed before, you will need to register with HMRC in order to get a UTR number and fill out your own tax returns. While there are resources that can help you learn how to do this, there are penalties for incorrect information, so if you are at all confused, then get professional help. Being self-employed can result in lower taxes if everything is done right, don’t forget that if you work from home, a portion of your household bills can be claimed as work expenses. Utilising specialised software or outsourcing your accounts will likely be vital (unless you have experience in that field) especially if you are at the stage where you are hiring employees.
How to Manage your Time when you’re Self-Employed
Often when working for yourself you will have no regular hours. Normally, how much work you do will generally be up to you, but it will be what you do with your spare time that determines how successful you’ll be. Therefore, planning must now become a top priority, if it wasn’t already. By having a properly thought out plan for the day or week, you will ensure your time is used optimally. An important feature of planning your time will be setting deadlines. Parkinson’s Law states that ‘work expands to fill the time available’, meaning that you tend to take longer with tasks that don’t have a time for completion. So, adding a deadline to your work can lead to it being done faster, but don’t go overboard, make sure it is realistic otherwise you could be overworked. Being in control of your time will be most needed at the start before you have optimised your workflow, but once you have cracked it you will learn what you can delegate. Within the company we like to say ‘only do what only you can do’.
One aspect of your life you will need to keep on top of is the split between home and work life. When you become your own boss, they can start to blend together, but your friends and family as well as your work productivity will benefit from you keeping them separate. It can be tempting to keep working into the night when everything is on your shoulders but doing this consistently could lead to burnout. Part of planning your timings will have to account for times when you put work aside for friends and family or just to relax. Don’t forget to turn your phone to aeroplane mode as smart phones can prevent you from disconnecting.
Support When You’re Self-Employed
You may feel like you have less support when self-employed. That can be true in the sense of increased responsibility and losing perks like workplace benefits. However, as we mentioned in the other sections there is no shame in getting help from experts. In fact, becoming self-employed provides us with the opportunity to choose who we work with. This includes partners and employees; you now have control over who you want supporting you with so pick the people that you can trust and will help you achieve your goals. Recent research was conducted by Mavenlink, a software provider, on what workplace features affected productivity the most. Lazy/ chatty co-workers, poor communicators and unnecessary meetings were all within the top five factors that disrupted workflow. This shows how important the people around you can be when it comes to getting the best out of yourself. In terms of losing support like benefits this again will be up to you, there are plenty of independent providers of this so again having control may end up being a benefit.
To conclude, there are good and bad aspects to being self-employed but when done right, it can provide endless opportunity. Along with our sister companies we like to follow the model of the wealth motorway, in which there are three lanes: property, equities, and business. We believe that having a finger in each of these proverbial ‘pies’ will make you a complete investor. This means that you have three ‘lanes’ of activity all working towards making you wealthy. By splitting yourself between these different avenues, you also protect yourself from any situation the financial world can throw at you. However, if trying to cover the business aspect of this strategy, you need to be your own boss in order to realise the full potential of this ‘lane’ of investing. This doesn’t have to become your full time job and you can still be an employee but to completely diversify your portfolio, you will need to be self-employed to some degree.