Is Self-Employment Really For Me?

There are plenty of advertisements on TV, radio and the internet for becoming self-employed and all seem to highlight the same ideas- More money
- Less & more flexible hours
- Do the projects that you want to do
- Be your own bossIs this really for you? From the lines above I bet almost everyone is saying yes but there will be a few of you who are slightly more sceptical.Like the majority of you I said “yes” too, however I found that there were a number of pitfalls and I eventually had to concede defeat and admit I failed.My aim for this article is not to discourage you from trying self-employment but rather to try and highlight self employment from the other perspective and show the difficulties that can be faced rather than just stating the potential benefits. Hopefully this will help you to avoid the same mistakes I made and really make sure that you are ready for self-employment before jumping in with both feet.Is Self-Employment really for me? – The Job
One of the big selling points of self-employment is being able to do the projects that you enjoy and move away from doing the projects that you don’t enjoy. I was a web developer and I enjoyed the web site and database development but I’m not a good with public speaker and writing user manuals bores me to tears, therefore, when I turned self-employed I wanted to drop off the public speaking and user manuals and focus on the website and database development.This didn’t quite work as I expected because I ended up having to do a lot of public speaking in the form of phone calls and business meetings in order to try and sell my services and get work in. I also had to write up proposals and weekly progress reports about the tasks I had done for my clients.Looking back on it now it would appear that I didn’t drop off any of the work I disliked at all but instead it was all there, all the time, just with a different face on it. I bet that many of the tasks you would like to put drop off will still need done even if you change to being self-employed.In addition to not losing the work you disliked I found that a considerable amount was added on like proposals, invoicing, payroll, accountancy, tax returns to name but a few. This all needs on in excess of the hours you normally work and generally isn’t something you can bill for. You may spend half a considerable amount of time doing a decent proposal for a job but if in the end you don’t get the job you have to re-cover your losses from elsewhere.Is Self-Employment really for me? – The Hours
Everyone who is trying out to be self-employed says the same thing… they want to get away from working the 9am to 5pm and have more flexible hours so they can take the morning off, finish at lunchtime on a Friday or even have more 4 day weekends. I was looking forward to the same thing but 2 years down the line I’m still waiting to see any of these.With the additional work you needing done (as mentioned above) I found I had to do the normal 9am – 5pm on the billable work and then spend evenings or weekends doing the non-billable work. Finishing time slowly drifted from 5pm to 7pm to 9pm until it eventually got to the stage where the only time I wasn’t working was when I was sleeping.I have tried taking the odd long weekend off but for me this is when my clients choose to call you which resulted in the most amount of phone call I have ever received in a single day and it was supposed to be my day off. As a result I had my mobile to my ear for a large portion of the day and quite a few quid racked up at the nearest internet café.I realise it must be tempting to give out your mobile phone number so you’re clients can reach you easily but I recommend against it, or at least get a separate mobile number for your work calls. Giving out my mobile number only resulted in being called anytime a client feels like it including 10pm on a Friday night or 8am on a Sunday morning. Sometimes this would even be about home IT problems which have absolutely nothing to do with the projects I was doing for them. I would recommend only giving a business number out and then you can switch it to the answering machine at 5pm on Fridays and allow yourself a break and time to relax until Monday morning.One of the things we take for granted is the paid holiday that we receive in our employment. Being self-employed means you no longer get the benefit of paid holidays or sick days and you need to bring in enough money not only to pay for the holidays and sick days but to cover the income you will lose out on during these periods. Since my step into self-employment I don’t recall having a properly holiday and the longest I can recall is 5 days and that is including the weekend.Is Self-Employment really for me? – The Additional Expenses
The will be additional expenditure required regardless what type of business you try to start up but some types will obviously require more that others. For me I had the following additional expenditures:– Business Insurance (Public Liability & Professional Indemnity)
- Accountancy
- Reseller Hosting
- Travelling Expenses
- Computers & Software
- Running CapitalThe first 3 amounts to about £200 a month for me and travelling expense varies wildly from month to month and it all has to come out of your pocket (at least initially until you’ve got a project to invoice). Previously your employer would have had to take care of all that and you would just submit your expense claim at the end of the month and got all your business expense back.Running Capital is another problem I faced. Usually I had enough coming in to cover the bills and expenses but if a client wanted a new PC installed I would have to get them to purchase the PC directly as my funds could not strech to have that kind of expense put on it. This poses 2 problems:– This does not give the impression of a successful company
- As the client is purchasing direct you cannot add any mark up on these items.Is Self-Employment really for me? – The Person
One of the other aspects to consider is the personality of the individual going into self-employment. If you get a difficult client that comes back with your invoice and says “I’m not paying that” then are you able to follow through and chase it up and get the relevant collection agencies involved if required or would you just write it off?If you are the latter then you may well find a lot of people will try and take advantage of your nature and push down your rate or demand you cut your invoice total even though there is nothing wrong with the value you quoted. You will have to ensure you are able to commit and not back down otherwise your clients could have you working for peanuts and throwing in extra things all over the place that weren’t part of the original project specification and expect it for free.One of the best examples I’ve come across is when I was doing a few home PC repairs when I was previously employed. My friends would ask me to come round after work and fix problems with their computers and in return I would buy me a pint when we went to the pub. This continued after I became self employed with exactly the same in terms of payment (1 pint) even though I could be there 5 minutes or 5 hours… they had just come to expect it that way even though every job I now did had to contribute to my income that month.At some point I spoke to them about this arrangement and told them I would have to start charging now since this is where my income comes from and from that day forth they’ve never asked me to fix their computer again.This may seem like I’ve lost a potential client but they were the ones reaping the benefits while I got nothing in return and they were clearly not interested in paying for the services they were receiving.Is Self-Employment really for me? – The Sales Call
This is partly associated with the person (see section above) again. About 2 hours after I got my business phone line installed I got a phone call from a business directory trying to get me to purchase their services and they succeeded but as it turns out the service didn’t do my business any good. Unfortunately I was one of the individuals who could be talked into something fairly easily and more than one company managed to get their talons into my because of that.What I’ve taken away from those experiences is a process I now follow with each conversation of that nature.Firstly, if I have the time, I listen to what is being offered and then I take the contact details and tell them I will contact them back at a time convenient with me. This allows me to research the product or services without the pressure of someone trying to hard sell it to me.Secondly I ask the following questions:– Do I need the service?
- Can I afford the service?
- Do they want me to make a decision right now?If the answer to either of the first 2 are no then I don’t bother calling back and if they call me back then I firmly stick to my answer, regardless how they try and spin their product.If they are offering a special discount to try and entice you but they insist you make a decision right now then again that’s when I say no and stick to it. If they are trying to get you to commit to something which is only available if you accept right now then it’s most likely something that not going to be useful.At the end of the day their job is to make money out of your company and they don’t care if you need it or not. Your job is to make money for your company so you will have to learn how to deal with these call very quickly otherwise you will have companies talking you into buying their products even though you don’t have any use for them.Is Self Employment really for me? – The Home Life
I think one of the most important things to bear in mind is to manage to keep a home life too but this can be hard to do, especially if you are working from home. The long hours and stress can put a lot of strain on your home life and create problems between you and the rest of your family so you will need to create boundaries to help keep everything balanced.Although you have to work hard to become self-employed, especially when you are trying to establish yourself, you should make sure that you don’t put the work over the family.Conclusion
Although this seems to portray a negative image of self-employment this is simply highlight some of the problems I encountered as I tried my hand at self-employment. Everyone will have different experiences, successes and failures and I strongly believe if you have the drive to start your own business then you will succeed and certainly no-one should stop you from trying!If you do intend to try self-employment I would like to wish you the very best of luck and I hope you succeed in whatever venture you decide to try. I also hope that this article helps you think about what may be involved and helps you avoid some of the problem I’ve faced.

There is an excessive amount of traffic coming from your Region.

#EANF#

Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Getting Business Insurance

This might come as a surprise to some, but getting the right insurance for your business might be one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a business owner. The consequences of inadequate coverage, or no coverage, could be devastating. There is a whole world of things that can happen to you and your business. Not protecting yourself and your business with the right insurance could cost you in so many ways.

That’s why engaging in a process of obtaining business insurance right for you and your company is so important. Do you know what general commercial liability insurance is? Well, if you don’t, then it’s just another reason why doing it right is so important. Not doing it right might cost you when you need help the most — during crisis. It’s why people get insurance. It’s why smart business people get smart business insurance.

Doing it right essentially means avoiding some common mistakes made when trying to get the best insurance policy for your business. Knowing what some of these mistakes are, and avoiding them in the future, will help you in your quest to simply make the right business decision when it comes to insurance.

Top 5 Mistakes When Getting Business Insurance:

1. Discounting the importance of business insurance

Business people of all types, whether it be CEO’s of large business conglomerates, or even someone just working out of their home office, have their own set of reasons for getting insurance specifically for their business. But not all business people necessarily think this way. Some think it might be too costly. Some think it might not be necessary . Some may even think that they’re covered by other insurance policies that they have for their property or for themselves.

Not having the insurance specifically tailored for your business often comes as a result of simply not thinking that it’s necessary. But it is. Take general commercial liability insurance, for example. This kind of insurance protects businesses from the costs of lawsuits resulting from basic damages done to people or property that have even the slightest contact with what you do. Not having this coverage when someone decides to throw a lawsuit at you, even if frivolous, could cost you in terms of money and reputation.

2. Not knowing the basic issues

It’s nice to think that insurance is just insurance, but it isn’t. Would you get car insurance for you house? Would you get life insurance for your healthcare? Of course you wouldn’t.

Yes, some of the issues involved in business insurance are similar to other forms of insurance. A good policy will, for example, protect your assets in case they get stolen. It will also protect you if bad weather destroys your business property. These are straightforward insurance issues for your business. But don’t be fooled into believing that they’re the only insurance issues for your business.

For example, take general commercial liability insurance. Some business owners might not even know what liability insurance actually is. It’s the insurance that protects you from the financial costs resulting from a lawsuit from somebody who claims they or their property has been hurt or injured as a result of the way your business conducted itself. General commercial liability insurance is the kind of insurance those companies engaging in commercial activities get to protect themselves because people hurt themselves on their premises or one of their products did damage to someone’s property. Being knowledgeable about these kinds of things will most certainly help you get the right insurance.

3. Not getting insurance early enough

There are two things that can happen to you if you don’t get insurance for your business early enough. The obvious one is that you’ll need it before you get it, and you’ll be stuck with paying for the damages from a storm or a lawsuit yourself. The other thing that can happen is that you will not have a budget for your start-up for the proper insurance, so you’ll get stuck with inadequate coverage. That’s the last thing you want to happen. Therefore, to avoid it, thinking about insurance as early as possible, even at the business plan stage, will help you create the budget you need to get you adequately covered for all future circumstances.

4. Getting the wrong kind of insurance provider

Perhaps the most tempting option for someone seeking business insurance is to get it through insurance companies they’re already doing business with. So, for example, you like how your house is covered, and who’s covering it, so you’ll seek to extend that coverage to your business, too.

The reason this is inadvisable, or should at least be looked at very carefully, is that your property insurance provider might simply not have the kind of experience with the kind of insurance you need for your business.

For example, if general commercial liability is what your particular business is in need of, even if a provider carries that kind of insurance, they may simply not have enough developed expertise to know what’s right for your particular needs. Ideally, only those companies and agents who have dealt with your kind of business before can help your kind of business get you adequately covered for your particular situation.

5. Getting the wrong kind of coverage

Following from the risk of getting the wrong insurance provider, a mistake to avoid is getting the wrong kind of coverage. Ultimately, you’re the person in charge of making the right business decisions for your company. You’re the best person suited to look out for your own interests. No one else is. That’s why it’s incumbent upon you to make sure you’ve got the right coverage for you and your situation.

As much of the above already suggests, delegating these decisions is important. Yet, in the end, it’s you who has to decide if you have the right kind of coverage for your business. After going through the entire process, collecting all the information, and talking to the right people, it’s you who makes the decision. Make sure it’s the right one for your business and where you want to take it.