Tips for people who want to go self-employed

Having your own business, being your own boss and going self-employed can be a super exciting prospect. Now, more than ever, individuals are taking the leap into self-employment and utilizing the tools we have available in order to create and maintain successful businesses. There seems to be a wave of bloggers, creatives, artists, YouTuber’s and online business owners all making money from their own creations and that’s absolutely brilliant, being self-employed myself, it’s always encouraging to see people succeed in such a difficult industry because I know how hard it can be sometimes. Here are some of my own tips for people who are thinking about or in the early stages of self-employment, which I wish someone had told me right at the beginning too!

Note absolutely everything down

Whether you hit the tax threshold or not with your business, if you’re self-employed, at the end of every financial year, you will have to fill out a self-assessment tax return which includes adding up all of your payments received over the course of the year and anything you’ve spent yourself towards your business. Depending on which type of business you own, it might be helpful to keep receipts or confirmation emails of all the sales you’ve had but personally, I have a dedicated notebook where I write down all my blogging payments, the date, who it’s from and the method of payment. Might seem old fashioned but it does the job! And speaking of self-assessment…

HMRC

Those can be really tricky. Really tricky. Like pull your hair out and cry into a pizza type tricky. Especially if you’re new to them and don’t really understand what the jargon means. Like I didn’t (and still don’t to some degree). And unless you have someone in your family or friends who works with this sort of stuff and can help, it can be a pretty stressful thing to do it alone. Anything HMRC related can be complicated but there is information and help you can get to make it that little bit easier on you! Talk Tax * are a great website which provide hard to reach HMRC contact numbers and write helpful articles are self-assessment, policy changes and more.

Be organised

If you’re working for yourself then it’s down to you to keep organised because nobody else is going to do it for you. That sounds awfully blunt and pushy but it’s true (unless you have like, a business partner or a family member who helps out). Going at it alone is great but it can certainly take its toll if you find yourself un-organised at any point and letting things get on top of you can make you feel like you’re drowning. I find really constructive ways to keep organised is making sure your work “space” is tidy every day, make lists, keep notebooks and make sure the folders on your laptop (if you work predominantly from a computer) are in good order.

Have a routine and look after yourself

Something I’ve been really guilty of when it comes to working for myself is letting the work take over and not giving myself any time to do anything else and being in constant GO mode all day, every day. I found myself thinking about work related things all the time, not focusing on the movie I was watching and shoveling my lunch down so I could get back to it and I know that’s such an unhealthy approach. Thankfully, I’ve learnt ways to take care of myself better now, which include getting up earlier, doing Yoga in the morning, always taking a break at lunch and watching something I enjoy and not doing work late into the night.

Are you self-employed? If so, do you have any tips to add onto this list? Would you like to be your own boss or do you prefer to work for a company? Any plans on starting up a business? Let me know!

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96 thoughts on “Tips for people who want to go self-employed

  1. I’d love to take my blog self employed once it makes some money so these tips are so helpful because I literally have zero clue where to start!

  2. I don’t know if I’d ever want to be self employed, though I am considering pursuing translation as a career, but this was really interesting. The taxes element sounds pretty time consuming for sure!
    Amy x

  3. I love this post. I am taking steps towards setting up my own business, I’m thinking about selling wedding stuff like invitations and flowers so this is a really useful post. It’ll definitely help me to be more clued up on the tax side of things. I feel like I’ll be good at making bounderies for myself or at least I hope I will be.

    Abbie
    overpeachchic.com

  4. HMRC is such a nightmare to be honest! I am so confused over everything! I do some freelance work aside my full time job so i am registered as self-employed as well. Would love to be fully self employed!

  5. What a wonderful post! I haven’t decided yet what to do when I ”grow up” haha, but I’m clearly dricving myself into a self-employed way. Let’s see, after school 🙂

  6. I’d love to go self employed in the future. I’m currently doing an apprenticeship in Digital Marketing which goes on for another year, but would love to try it after I’ve finished if I can! I have to say I hate having a messy desk haha, so I pretty much keep it tidy everyday – love that tip! This post was super useful to read and will definitely keep note of your other tips too for future reference. I would guess the hardest bit is trying to get that balance, but I’m glad to hear that you seem to have sorted it out now – you definitely deserve a break after all your hard work!

    Amy,
    https://creativenails.uk

  7. This was so helpful as my boyfriend and I have just set up our own business and whilst we’re trying, it’s hard to know exactly what to do! I’m gonna show him this post when he gets back from work and we’ll 100% be using the tips you’ve given so thank you!
    Liz xx

  8. Brilliant advice, there’s so much I wish I knew about before i went Self-Employed, you can read up on so many things but doing it for yourself is a different kettle of fish. I personally found it really hard to keep a routine, and it can get awfully lonely when you work for yourself too, for me my part-time job has been brilliant for removing the element of loneliness and providing me with a constant routine.

    Emma x
    emmarollason.com

    • You literally have what I want! I’ve been working from home and self employed for years now and I love it but I do get dreadfully lonely and crave that “work environment” too. I’m looking for a suitable part time job to go alongside it 🙂 xxx

  9. Being self employed is my dream! I really hope I can make the leap this year and start my own journey 🙊 amazing and informative post as always Jenny; you’re definitely a great role model for being organised!! Although I hope you can start to take more self care time in future- I know how hard it can be to turn off from work mode 😔 xxx

    Jade | jademarie.co.uk

  10. Being self-employed is the ultimate dream, I’ve never had much success working for other people 🙈. This is such a helpful post Jenny, you always seem so organised so your the best person to give this kinda advice! Thanks for sharing your tips 💖 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  11. Being self-employed is something I really want for my future! Thankyou for this post – great tips 🙂 abbiejadewanders.co.uk

  12. For me I think the best thing is the fact it’s more flexible, if you’re not feeling it or lacking motivation first thing you can always work later or you don’t have to worry about a midweek appointment or whatever because your time is yours. The tax return definitely isn’t the fun part x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

    • Oh totally! I do that a lot. Some days I’m so motivated and work from the second I wake up and other days I can’t bring myself to do anything so I’ve found that it’s better not to force it and just make it up the following day 🙂 xxx

  13. Great tips! I would love to be self employed one day but I know I would have to push myself and be strict because I can be a bit lazy sometimes! I do worry that without a boss I would end up just watching Netflix all day instead of doing any actual work haha!

  14. I used to long for the day where I could become self-employed, now after doing it for a year I really wish I hadn’t. I am not motivated nor do I have the willpower to deal with HMRC anymore. I am constantly filled with anxiety, worrying if one day someone is going to knock on the door and drag me off to prison because I filled out my tax form wrong, ahah!

    Kirstiekinsblogs

  15. I’m not self-employed, but my parents are and I see how stressed out it makes them and how they don’t switch off. It’s a shame, but that’s owning their own business I guess. Great post for those wanting to know!

    Amy | hookedonthemusic.com

  16. I personally am not self-employed but it is something I would think about if my blog became successful enough – but you are right about HMRC being a tricky thing! I’ve also found their forms really confusing somethings to fill out whenever I have started a new job! Thankfully both my parents work within the accounting industry, so there’s always someone on hand to decipher it for me!

    Ellyn xx | Life Of A Beauty Nerd

  17. Since I’m just going off to University next year I haven’t really thought about being self employed. I’m not really sure its for me, I love being a part of a bigger team and I think thats how I work best. But hats off to everyone who makes that difficult decision to become self employed.
    Katie xx
    nerdsnumbersnatterings.blogspot.com

  18. This is a fantastic post Jenny, I love the advice, a lot of it rings true. I am a carer right now so only work part time but in the not so distant future I would love to work for myself and really expand on what I am passionate about, but the tax thing terrifies me, it seems such a big complicated list of rules and jargon, so I’ll be checking that site out for tips definitely.

  19. Been self employed since 2013 I love being my own boss! Organisation is key though, from filing every single book receipt and logging it in outgoings, to knowing what your workload is like from week to week! I think it’s dead important that you’re working week isn’t 100 hours and not much money to show for it! Nothing worse than that!

  20. I haven’t seen this topic discussed much, and it needs to be! Thank you for sharing! I keep receipts for nearly everything, you could say I hoard them lol but for good reason! Its important to keep all documents in such a way because you will need them come tax time.

  21. Thanks for the concise post! I want to be a self-employed blogger one day, and it’s good to get an intro to some of the more practical aspects, especially when it comes to what’s expected of you tax wise 🙂

    – Stela, stelawrites.com

  22. These are great tips for people who want to be self-employed. I know a few people who like being their own boss but could USE these tips! It is so important to be organized because there might be times when they need to pull specific paperwork – imagine all of the time that could’ve been wasted! Thanks for sharing your thoughts~

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

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