The Self-Employed’s Guide to Working from Home

24th September 2015

Self Employed

Few things are as liberating as working for yourself – except maybe having the ability to eat anything you want without gaining weight. People who decide to start a business from home are a rare breed because they have a potent mix of creativity, resoluteness, fearlessness, and ingenuity. They’re the “have cake and eat it too” types that some people fear but secretly admire.

Not all have what it takes to venture on the path of self-employment. So for those lacing up their running shoes, here’s a short guide to aid you along the way.

Planning and Finances

Whether you intend to offer freelance services or manufacturer goods in your home to sell online, you’ll need to write a business plan. If you already have the gear and funds to start, then this may be as simple as jotting ideas on paper.

Your business plan should include details on the nature of your business, proposed expenses, marketing strategy, the target customer(s) and market, and future goals. Writing an official business plan is necessary if you have to secure funding from banks and investors.

Naming and Registration

Coming up with a business name isn’t mandatory for the self-employed  (a.k.a. sole traders). You can operate under your own name. However, if you choose to create a name, you have to follow some rules such as avoiding names which are trademarked, used by another business, or very similar to another business name.

Before or soon after opening your business, you have to register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for Self Assessment tax and Class 2 National Insurance. You should be able to do this online, and the process can take 10 working days to complete.

Marketing and Administrative Duties

In order to run a successful business from home, your marketing strategy needs to be spot on. You should have a website which can be created by you or a web developer. Utilising email campaigns and advertising through social media are inexpensive means of marketing. Plus, they have the advantage of reaching a broader audience compared to traditional marketing strategies.

Since you’re already completing most business tasks online, you might as well handle administrative duties there too. Accounting and bookkeeping can be done through software, and certified online accountants can assist with tax preparation and budgeting.

Productive Work Environment

It’s important to set your home up for business success. Although it’s tempting to veg out in front of the television with your computer, you’ll be more productive by creating a work space. This could be as simple as working from the dining table or setting up an office in a spare bedroom or basement. Take advantage of your self-employment by working in cafes or other free WIFI locals when it suits.

So there you have it, a quick and dirty guide to starting your business from home. With a smidge of gumption and a truck load of perseverance, you’ll leave “normal” jobs in the dust. Ignore the naysayers because you got this!