Becoming self-employed

Taking the leap can be intimidating, which is why it needs careful consideration.

It all begins with research

You need to create a clear plan for your product or service. Draw up lists of the customers you would target, and learn who your competitors are. Figure out what the level of demand for your product or service is, and the profit margins you could expect. Importantly, you must find a way to make your product or service unique, distinct or superior to its competitors.

Look at the numbers

It usually takes some time for a new business to turn a profit. That’s why you should have enough cash flow to keep you going without income for a while. One option is to start your business on a part-time basis while you’re still employed.

Finding funding can be done through a bank loan or overdraft. Banks will even give you advice and help with organising your financial situation. Hiring an accountant is a good way to keep on top of your finances long-term.

The technical stuff

You’ll need to:

  • register as self-employed and become responsible for your own tax and National Insurance. Your local tax office will help with this
  • decide if you’re a sole trader, a partnership or a limited company
  • name your business and check whether the same or a similar name is in use
  • be responsible for health and safety
  • pay wages, tax and National Insurance contributions if you employ people.

You can find lots of useful information about starting up your own business from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).