Tempted to go solo? We asked a Career Coach for her top tips for becoming self employed and making the leap to freelance with ease
According to new research from Mintel, going self-employed could hold the key to a stress free working life . Therefore, it’s no wonder that more and more people have decided to make the leap from fixed to freelance work in recent times thanks to the range of benefits that it affords.
However, although providing greater flexibility and putting a greater level of control back into your hands in terms of who you work for, where you’re based and when you work, it also comes with a whole new set of stresses due to its potential unpredictability and many variables such as structure, pay and self-motivation. So if you’re thinking of making the leap, we asked Career Coach and Get The Gloss Expert Anna Percy-Davis for her top tips to ensure you go in fully informed and make the transition as seamless as possible.
1. Get good tax and accounting advice
“You can save money, avoid paying too much tax and get good financial advice if you have a good accountant,” says Anna. “If you are not financially savvy, it is essential to find someone who can help you in this area and preferably before you take the leap into self-employment. They can help you create a basic business plan - you need to be sure the numbers stack up, i.e. can you make enough to cover all of your costs and give you enough profit to cover your lifestyle.”
2. Get networking
Although in theory you’ll be riding solo, joining forces with others in the same situation as you could both strengthen your resources as well as your future opportunities. “Make sure you have a network of fellow self-employed individuals,” recommends Anna. “Being self-employed can be lonely, so find a way to link up with others in a similar situation to you. This way, you can swap ideas and perhaps even share office space or other expenses.”
3. Have a plan B
While the benefits of self-employment can make for an extremely appealing prospect, with big change, comes big risk so it can’t hurt to plan ahead to cover every eventuality - good and bad. “Have a back-up plan,” advises Anna. “Even the most successful self-employed individuals have lean months - particularly when they first start, so don't be disheartened if success isn't overnight or if you need to find part-time work to tide you over initially. If at first you don't succeed, don't necessarily give up. Try again - be resilient, tenacious and organised.”
4. Find the right risk/reward balance for you
“Going self-employed requires you to take some risk, but make sure it is the right level of risk for you,” cautions Anna. “So don't bet your life savings in the first few months of going self-employed, unless you are totally comfortable doing this and you know where your income and savings are going to come from after this.”
5. And finally, seek support
Personally and professionally, a career switch up can take its toll. So ensure that you surround yourself with people who both build you up and those who can also provide useful advice - perhaps former colleagues or those who you respect in a wider work context too. Valuable contacts made during your ascent up the career ladder thus far could prove invaluable in terms of finding your footing and self-employment mojo. “Get the right support and make sure you have a champion,” recommends Anna. “Becoming self-employed, freelance or setting up a business takes courage, so it is hugely helpful if you have others behind you and next to you who can champion you and give you courage when your own reserves run low.”
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