The First Steps to Self-Employment | Inspire to Freedom

The First Steps to Self-Employment

June 25, 2015 Jonny Lilley



If you asked ten different people why they made the decision to become self-employed, you’d probably get ten different answers. Choosing a career away from the 9-5 norm isn’t for everyone and those that do decide to go down that route typically do it for a very wide range of reasons.

Here are just a few of those reasons:

  • They have a really great idea and they want to make it happen
  • They want more freedom to travel
  • They are finding it hard to get a foothold in the job market after graduating
  • They feel they need a change after starting a family
  • They want to take control of their own career after working in a very structured job
  • They’ve been made redundant and can’t face starting again with a new employer
  • They need to make lifestyle changes after a health scare
  • They want to take charge of their income and have the potential to make more money

Do any of these sound familiar?

Whatever your reasons for wanting to become self-employed, it’s a good time to do it. More people are now self-employed than they have been since records began!

If you’re at this stage, we’re here to help. We’ve put together a list of suggestions to help you get properly prepared.

Step one: look at your finances

It may not be very exciting, but taking a good honest look at your finances is an important first step in becoming self-employed. Do you have a nest egg saved? The first few months in self-employment can be tricky and you won’t necessarily have much coming in. It might be sensible to make sure you have a solid financial safety net to keep you afloat during this time.

Step two: start work on a business plan

Successful businesses start with a well thought out business plan. These documents tend to be reworked and revised as you go along, but it’s a great first step to set down on paper what you have in mind for your business. Try and include where you’re going to work from, who your customers are going to be, how you’re going to reach out to those customers, and any costs you expect to have (e.g. materials, stock, overheads, equipment).

Step three: get some outside support

Third party support is hugely valuable, especially if self-employment is totally new to you. There are lots of resources out there designed to help you get off on the right foot. Government initiatives such as the National Enterprise Network (or Business Gateway in Scotland, NI Business Info in Northern Island and Business Wales in Wales) will help you work on your finances and business plan and may even be able to offer some free courses to help you improve your skills. If you think you would benefit from more specialised one-to-one support, you might want to look into working with a business coach. The right business coach could help you to build the foundations for an extremely successful self-employed career.

Step four: look into the legalities

There are some legal issues to consider before you get started. You will need to notify HMRC when you commence self-employment and you will likely have to start paying self-employment contributions. There’s more guidance available on this direct from HMRC. Depending on what kind of business you are getting into, you may also need to invest in public liability or professional indemnity insurance. It’s best to make sure you know all the laws and guidelines before you begin as otherwise they can come as an unpleasant surprise later on!

Setting up in business on your own can be complex. If you love the idea of being self-employed but want some of the headache removing, then a hybrid option might be worth considering. Get in touch to see if we can help you consider an alternative option.

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