Thinking of becoming self-employed?

Jobs still seem difficult to come by in the current climate, especially for those who have little or no experience such as school and university leavers, parents returning to work and those who have been made redundant or are looking for a career change.Due to  the shortage of jobs many people seem to be going down the ‘self-employed’ route. I have addressed a few important points about becoming self-employed.

Points to consider…

Be realistic. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and whether you are planning on setting up a new business or working as a self-employed sales person or even taking on a franchise, it will take time to build your business and your reputation.

What qualifications, licenses, or memberships do you require to run your business? Some businesses may need to register with certain authorities, hold certificates for food hygiene, health & safety and such like. It is vital that you check if your industry is regulated and get all the appropriate paperwork completed and everything is in place before you start trading ensuring that your business isn’t shut down as quickly as you’ve started up!

Research the market. Always check what your competition is like in the area you are going to be providing your services / selling your products. Are you competitive on price? What makes you stand out? What is your unique selling point?

Do your maths. Always check that what you are going to do is going to be worth your time. If you are selling a product at £9.99 but it costs £8.50 to produce are you likely to sell enough to pay yourself the wage you need? Look at your overheads (your monthly or weekly costs) and look at your expected sales, again be realistic, and work out how many products / customers you need to get to the ‘break even point’ – this is the number of sales / customers you need to cover your costs before you start to make a profit.

Once you have worked out if it is a viable business opportunity and you know what paperwork you need, you now need to think about a business name. It is useful to check out domain names and business names on companies house as you may wish to set up a limited company. A great website which checks both at the same time is the national business register.

Finally you need to make sure you have registered with HMRC within 3 months of becoming self-employed. If you set up as a sole trader complete this simple online form which only takes a few minutes.

For other advice and tips about setting up your own business ‘just ask Sara Saylavy’…