Tips for Self-Employment
25th May 2016
Being self-employed is like having the best boss in the world. No one grasses you up for raiding the stationery cupboard, and performance evaluations are as easy as looking in the mirror. Considering the freedom on offer, it's not surprising the UK's got well over 4.5 million people registered as self-employed.
That said, you've got to work at it to make a success of self-employment. It's not always easy to juggle your business, family and personal lives without dropping something. Here are a few RIFT tips for keeping your balls in the air.
When You're Working, Be Working!
You don't have to dress up in a posh suit to run a business. In fact, if you work from home, you don't have to dress at all. Even so, it's worth remembering that your working hours are worth money. Don't get so distracted by your freedom that you let your business suffer.
Act like a professional, even when there's no one watching. Show up on time, and don't waste the hours you've set out for work.
Don't Let Family and Friends Crowd Your Business
You've scheduled your time down to the minute, and you're ready to work. Even so, you'll be hard-pushed to stick to your timetables if your mum keeps popping round for a natter.
If you're working from home, it can be tough to explain why you can't just take an hour out of your day. Friends and family who've never been self-employed may not understand. After all, it's not "proper work", is it? No one's going to tell you off for agreeing to walk your sister's dog or babysit for an afternoon.
Don't fall for this. You'll quickly get sucked into lightening other people's loads at the expense of bulking up your own.
Know When to Stop
This is really the flip-side of the last two points. When you're off the clock, don't let your work bleed into your real life. A lot of people fall into the trap of believing their jobs are "who they are".
Self-employed people are often the worst at leaving their work at work. Remember to allow yourself breaks, holidays and even sick days when you need them. Employed workers get all these things, so why shouldn't you?
Don't Bite Off More than You Can Chew
This is a simple one. If you're a freelancer with a range of clients, there's a huge urge to say yes to everything. After all, you might get no offers of work next month! Even so, taking on jobs you can't complete won't get you paid. It also won't help you fill those empty slots in your schedule down the line.
Self-employed people live or die on their reputations. Make sure you're known as someone who always gets the job done.
Self-Employed People Do It By the Numbers
Unless you're actually a freelance accountant, you probably didn't get into business for the love of paperwork. In fact, most of us would rather pretend that end of the business didn't exist. The thing is, getting paid and paying taxes are your business breathing in and out. Your cash flow is the blood in its veins.
This means staying on top of your invoices and keeping track of your expenses. It means knowing when your Self Assessment tax return's due and how to file it correctly. There are HMRC deadlines to hit and penalties for missing them.
If you're employing people yourself, you've got payrolls to run and National Insurance to take care of. It all comes down to the numbers and how well you crunch them.
At RIFT, we've got over 15 years of experience in helping the self-employed build their businesses. We're the UK's top tax experts, and we're used to tackling HMRC and coming out on top.
Far too many self-employed people are shelling out more tax than they should. We know the rules inside and out, and can help you get the best out of your Self Assessment tax returns. Get in touch to see what we can do to boost your business.
If you need any help with your self assessment tax returns, or if you have any questions then get in touch now on 01233 628648, talking to us on LiveChat, joining us on Facebook, or click the button below to check if you need to do self assessment -remember it's not only for the self employed.