How to Become Self Employed

by Andrew Atkins

There are many possible routes that can be head down for those wishing to become self employed. The exact route taken will generally depend upon both the skills, talents and qualifications that you possess. While some routes require qualifications, there are many that require nothing but the right personality. I will start with an outline of the various means by which self employment can be procured before asking the all important question of whether it’s actually for you. Plus, later in this section, we will explore each topic separately in detail.

Option 1: Set up a business

As a Sole Trader

This is where many people start. The reason for this is that are no barriers to entry however it can be an incredibly stressful way to operate, at times walking a tight rope financially with no safety net to speak of. You are entirely liable for all losses and debts. However, despite this many people find it liberating and should you hit it big, guess who gets all the credit both financially and in the “look how cool I am?” way.

Self Employed How to Become Self Employed

As a Partnership

A partnership is a group of people who set up a business and each owns a piece, the income and possible loss are then divided according to the size of each person’s stake. These are generally far less stressful than being a sole trader but that all depends on finding the right partners.

As a Limited Company

This is essentially the same as setting up partnership but involves the additional step of registering the company with the Companies House. The downside is that a lot of regulation and bureaucracy need to be fought through with the corresponding upside being tax advantages and a bit of a safety net should you mess up.

As a Franchise

A franchise is essentially a business, a well known brand and an instruction booklet, all of which can be obtained for a percentage of your subsequent profits. These are the easiest businesses to set up as even on the day that you open those walking by outside, not only know of the business already but if they come in they probably even know what they want to buy. Just don’t expect a McDonalds franchise to be easy to come by.

Option 2: Become a Freelancer

This can be the easiest and fastest way to become self employed. Freelancers range from those with a wealth of qualifications and experience taking on projects from big organisations to those that just happen to have a skill that people will pay for.

While many forms of freelancing require suitable qualifications and experience, there are many forms that don’t. There are multiple market places online where you can simply post a profile or respond to ads. Provided you have the necessary skills, qualifications aren’t required. Of course qualification free freelancing isn’t even in the same ball park financially as the alternative but it definitely beats a job in McDonalds.

Self Employed 1 How to Become Self Employed

Option 3: Go to Med School

Those with suitable law or medical qualifications have ample opportunities to set up their own practices and work on a self employed basis. Examples include barristers that work in chambers as well as your local G.P. Choosing to be self employed in these areas not only offer far more flexibility and control but generally much higher salaries.

Do you have what it takes?

Which ever form of self employment you are interested in, certain characteristics are required and sadly not every one has them. There are many such characteristics but above all you need to be highly disciplined and self motivated. The statement that you do not have a boss is perhaps less accurate than the statement that you are your own boss. With nobody to scream at you and threaten dismissal, will that long weekend be all too attractive? While you no longer need to look busy all the time, you do remain so as you probably won’t be making much money if you’re not.

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