Making the Leap from Full-Time Worker to Full-Time Business Owner
Guest post by Michael Deane
Are you thinking about making the leap from full-time worker to full-time business owner? You are not the only one! Self-employed workers now make up around 15% of the UK’s working population, with the numbers of self-employed 16-24 year-olds almost doubling since 2001. Leaving the comfort and security blanket of being a full-time worker can be extremely daunting, however, there are so many great benefits to look forward to including independence, flexibility, more money and, of course, it really is the dream for most people to simply be your own boss. Here, we are taking you through the essentials you need to know when starting your own business.
Make a Business Plan
When starting up your own business, the first thing that you will need to do is draw up a business plan. This is an absolute must-have for any new start-up and should outline not only the initial phase of your business, but also its longer-term growth. The type of plan you must write all depends on your business. Are you looking to get financial support for your new start-up? If yes, then a longer, very detailed plan will be required in order to get others to back your idea. If you are starting this new business on your own, a one-page document giving you direction and purpose will suffice.
Your Business Structure
An important decision that you will have to make for your business is what structure it will take on as this will determine how your taxes are filed, your liability for the business and even your business name. Don’t worry too much about this, however, because as your business grows and changes you can change your structure at a later date.
Registering Your Business Name
When you have a name for your business and begin trading, you will need to register it, whilst making sure that it is not already trademarked or in use.
Sole Traders – This is the easiest business structure to register. You are required to register for self-assessment tax and must have a National Insurance number. On all paperwork you must include both your name and business name.
Limited Company – When forming a limited company, your personal finances will be separate from the business. This requires more management responsibilities.
Partnerships – If you are setting up a business with other people, then you will have to register your business as a partnership. This means shared responsibilities for business debts and you will have accounting responsibilities.
This will ensure that your new business is now a legal entity that operates within the law. Not doing this can result in serious consequences with the tax office. Depending on what your business does, you will also need to check if you need any licenses, permits or insurance.
Where to Set Up Your Business
As a new business owner, it will also be your decision as to where to set up your business. For many just starting out, a home office is the perfect solution as you will not have to worry about renting costs eating away your finances. As your business grows, you can then start to think about moving to an office space or a retail location, but you will also have to take into consideration any business rates that you will owe.
Marketing Your Business
As a new business, it is rare for floods of clients to come straight to you. Marketing your new business is extremely important and what’s great about the new digital age is that promoting your business does not need to cost a great deal of money. Explore different marketing possibilities that will be best for your business. This could include the use of social media, improving your website so it ranks better online or posting leaflets through doors if your business offers local services. There is a plethora of great marketing options to choose from that will help you spread the word about your new business launch and what you offer.
Maintaining a Good Work/Life Balance
While running your own business can offer you a lot of flexibility with your schedule, many people find that, especially within the first few years of starting their own business, that it can be difficult to maintain a good work/life balance. When you are solely responsible for the success of your business, it can be hard sometimes to justify taking a day off from your emails. If you do not want to burn out quickly from your new career change, having quality time away from your business is vital. Remember the reasons why you decided to start your own business in the first place. It is likely that the flexibility and opportunity to spend more time at home with your family was a big appeal. Make sure to take advantage of this and schedule time off that is mandatory for you to stick to.
Setting up your own business is an exciting time! Follow these top tips to make sure you get your new business off to the best start possible.
Michael Deane is one of the editors of Qeedle, a small business magazine. When not blogging (or working), he can usually be spotted on the track, doing his laps, or with his nose deep in the latest John Grisham