Nov. 17th, 2009 04:10 pm
inspirewithhope: Photo of K smiling lots (Default)
I quickly got hopelessly behind on the daily updates...!

Sorry about that, I've been ridiculously busy, as you may or may not have realised.

I had less than a week of unemployment between being employed and being self-employed; I'm just coming to the end of a very intense six month web design contract.

So, a month of quiet to come at Entrepreneurial Kx, but then I'll be back, updating you on what I've been doing, what I've learnt and what I'm up to next.

Stay tuned...!
inspirewithhope: Photo of K smiling lots (Default)
It was my day off!

Just to give you some context... My official working hours: 10am-6pm. My actual working hours Mon-Wed: 10am-11pm, 9am-10pm, 8am-11pm (minus five hours of socialising, plus travel). So, weekly day off to restore the balance. :)

I got up at 8.30am, made myself a cup of tea (blackcurrant, vanilla & ginseng) and put some clothes in the washing machine. In tidying / looking for stuff this week I've found lots of clothes I hadn't gotten round to unpacking since I moved in a year ago... So that takes care of my worries about perhaps not having suitable clothes for a corporate environment; I do. (My last job was for a fashion company where you could wear what you want, which was awesome).

Oh, and I helped myself to realise it's my day off by wearing tracksuit bottoms and a sweatshirt. It really worked: Amazing how much a change of style makes.

I couldn't help myself and ended up looking up stuff about tax for self-employed people, as well as keeping proper records. (I have another day off today, by accident, and I'll be away from my computer, so I'll refrain from research for a good chunk of today!)

Useful links about tax & related information


  • Do things differently to distinguish days off: Change of style, change of location, change of food... Whatever works for you. Experiment!
inspirewithhope: Photo of K smiling lots (Default)
I had an interview today.

I won't go into detail of course, but I will say that it was with an international corporation in a distinctively impressive and absolutely massive building. It was really quite breathtaking. Lovely, down-to-earth people who made it a really stress-less experience - more like a chat than a grilling (which is how interviews should be; best way of finding out about what someone's really like in my opinion).

Exciting stuff!

Oh, and another thing, I seem to have got to the point where I can just talk about what I'm doing professionally without feeling like I'm doing some kind of networking spiel. Which is a great feeling: Talking about work stuff in a way that interests people and encourages them to interact with me about it. Brilliant!

Stuff to remember

  • Interviews aren't scary (even if they seem that way); they're just about talking & listening to people and I like doing that.


  • Earlier I tweeted, "I made the right decision; see, I thought, "Tomorrow's my day off... BOO!"" Note to self: Take your day off K! Answer calls from agencies & follow up on the ones that you missed today, but that's it! (I'm not sure I can stick to this one; I really want to work on my website... Hmm, if I want to do it, it counts as play, right?!)


  • I find it hard to think of alternative options. Solution: Talk to people. Talk to friends & lovers. Talk to other freelancers & entrepreneurs. Attend networking events. Join forums. Blog. Comment on blogs. Tweet.
inspirewithhope: Photo of K smiling lots (Default)
It's been a long day, so it'll be a short entry. :)

I started working an hour earlier today. (I'd spent over nine hours in bed despite going to bed late; it was time to get up!) I spent the first hour of the morning instant messaging, LiveJournalling and generally spodding around. Come 10 am I was ready to tackle my to-do-list. One of the B-priority tasks was sorting Entrepreneurial Kathleen out, so I've been doing that intermittently and I now have a colour scheme I'm happy with. Yay! Which means it's ready for me to link to it from all over the web. I'll do that later this week when I have more material here.

I spoke to quite a few people today and I have an interview tomorrow, which is nice. Couple of other jobs I might get put forward for, will have to wait and see. Some interesting opportunities out there.

My main A-priority tasks: Apply for JobSeekers' Allowance and apply for lots of jobs. I decided not to do the former due to securing an interview for tomorrow. I decided not to do the latter due to the number of roles that people apparently what me to take on. It looks like I'll be out of the house a lot tomorrow, but otherwise I'll continue with applications on Thursday or Friday (depending on when I choose to take my day off).

Oh, and my other A-priority tasks: Read up about finances (including keeping proper records) and work on Kathleen Bright (dotcom). I think I'll do the reading tomorrow and work on the site now.


  • Write a to-do-list each night for the following day. I split mine into Priority A + B. I attempt to complete as many of A tasks as is possible, with a few B tasks too. Starred A tasks are absolute musts, unless an overwhelmingly good reason crops up. I'm a 'scanner', i.e. it's fairly trivial for me to start things; I find it a lot harder to finish things. So this kind of setup is pretty important for me.


  • I'm not used to having the entire day to work on my own stuff, so I'm still tempted to work into the night, which is not a good idea! Solution: Remind myself, start getting increasingly strict with myself & go to bed. Alternative solution: Work long hours, but take an extra day off and don't feel guilty about it.
  • I have really poor reception at home, which makes it challenging talking on the phone with people. Solution: Go outside! (I did this a lot today, it rained for some of the day. Oh well, at least I got some fresh air!)
  • I find it really tricky to estimate my value & worth. I baulk at budgeting. I don't know how much I should be charging. Solution: Research! Reed's salary calculator provides an average based on location, as well as the UK average. Handy! So, £20/hour roughly. Seems fair. Reed has some useful information on calculating your minimum-expected-dream salaries. Oh, and my sweetie recommended this really informative forum discussion: Value Based Pricing Web Development and Marketing - Charging based on value
  • Somewhat concerned about keeping good records for tax purposes. Solution: Reseach! HMRC: Tax returns if you're self-employed or in a partnership
  • I find it hard to call people (except for close friends & sweeties). Solution: Stop trying to build up to it & just get on with it. It's not going to get any easier if I leave it for longer, also, the more calls I make, the easier it gets. It's really important to follow up with recruitment agent calls and generally keep in touch.
inspirewithhope: Photo of K smiling lots (Default)

I registered as self-employed today...

It ridiculously easy, you just fill in your name, address & National Insurance number. You can do it online or over the phone with Helpline for the Newly Self-Employed on 0845 9 15 45 15. (If you leave it too late, they fine you; this happened to a friend of mine).

The HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) site has loads of information; I'm absorbing as much as I can now.

I wanted to apply for JobSeekers Allowance & Housing Benefit, but...

The online form is Windows only; I'm pretty annoyed about that. I'll either call them up or go and visit a Job Centre. I think it's probably a good idea for me to visit; it'll be character building.

I feel quite weird about applying for it; there's so much prejudice surrounding the claiming of benefits. I want to de-stigmatise it though, which is part of my reason for claiming & writing about it.


I read a lot about tax.

What I'm taking away from it is: "Keep any information and documents that you may need to help you fill in your tax return or to make a claim." You have to keep some records for as long as five or six years! I'm keeping everything...! So far I've not spent anything on my self-employment, so I'll need to bear it in mind when I start. For example, I'm thinking about buying a laser printer, if I can't get one from FreeCycle, and at some point I want to buy more computers. I'll wait til I'm earning though... ;)

National Insurance (NI)

Oh, and being self-employed means you have to make NI contributions (except in some cases). For me, this means I need to pay £2.60 each week. (I think I'll be paying quarterly as I didn't fill in a Direct Debit form.

ETA: "Class 4 National Insurance Contributions: These are also payable by most selfemployed people up to the age of 65. They are calculated as a percentage of your annual business profit, but you only start paying Class 4 contributions when your profits reach a certain limit
(which is £5425 in 2008 / 9)." Plus, you can pay extra NI contributions in order to get more of a state pension.

Self-assessment... scary!

I registered my interest for "Starting up in Self Employment: Becoming self employed" and "Starting up in Self Employment: Self Assessment for the self employed"; so hopefully that will be helpful. They have quite a few different presentations / courses.

Aside from that, I don't think I have any other tax things to worry about until I'm earning loads of money (then I'll have to register for VAT). ETA: £67 000+ in turnover, I've got a while til then I reckon...!

Other... Agencies, writing, rules, etc

Applying for jobs, ringing agencies etc. Whilst I was employed, I found it hard to call agencies back because they always called during working hours. I find it difficult enough as it is! Anyway, I spoke to three different agencies today. So well done me. I need to keep going with this.

I wrote a review of Saf for I've written and am writing for Entrepreneurial Kathleen here. Sometimes I find it quite hard to write. It's a lot easier to write when I know I should be ringing agencies instead though...!

I work well with structure and not very well without it. Consequently, I'm giving myself rules.

My rules for myself

  • Get dressed well: I'd been thinking about just slouching around in whatever I felt like. However, having spoken to a couple of people and pondered on something someone once said about only wearing clothes that make them feel really good, I decided to dress well. Comfy, but stylish. Seems to be working well.
  • Leave the house: A good friend advised me to leave the house every day and I'd heard something similar elsewhere too. I had some errands to run anyway, so I walked a bit and got them sorted. Got lots accomplished by getting out of the house. Must remember that a change of scenery is important!
  • Working hours 10am-6pm: I can work outside of that if I want (not too much too often though), but I should be working pretty much all of that time aside from when it's time to eat or if I have fairly quick errands to run.
  • Awake naturally 9am-ish: I've been starting to wake up shortly before my alarm goes off for a while now (ever since I caught up on sleep & continued going to bed at a decent time), but couldn't risk just switching it off. I've switched it off now; I trust myself.
  • Bedtime 11pm: The corollary of that is I need to make sure I'm getting enough sleep with a consistent bedtime.


  • I don't have a proper desk chair; I'm already really achy and it's only my first day! Solution: I will need to acquire a proper chair asap.
  • I don't have a desktop computer; more aches! Solution: I'm hoping to build one in the near-ish future; well, my sweetie is going to build it.
  • I don't have a PC, just a Mac; some sites don't like this - see JobSeekers Allowance woes above. Solution: I have a PC laptop at my parents'; I just need to collect it.
  • I'm finding it hard to switch off. I started working around 10am, it's now 10.15pm and I'm still going... Solution: I'd already decided that I will have a day off during the week each week. This week's is scheduled for tomorrow. Although I don't know if I'll go ahead with that - seems a shame to break my momentum, especially so soon...
  • It's tricky to know what counts as work, what is admin and what is just 'ooh, I'd like to update my journal now'. Soution: Work is stuff I get paid for or am likely to get paid for. Admin is stuff that supports work. Play is everything else. It's not that hard K. :)

Wow, that was long! I did get a lot done today and there were lots of fiddly bits & pieces.

Right, time to sign off. See you soon!
inspirewithhope: Photo of K smiling lots (Default)
Just over a month ago I handed in my notice.

Last Friday was my last day of full-time, permanent employment.

Today is my first day of self-employment.

A few people have expressed their concern, but most people have been incredibly supportive of my decision. Those who know me know that I was getting increasingly dissatisfied with work; it was time to do something about that. I feel really lucky that people have offered advice, sent me links and congratulated on this crazy and courageous step; a step that is perfect for me right now.

I'm planning to write about my journey here, every day for about a month or so (at least for a week, we'll see what happens after that!) At the end of that period, I'm planning to write something more considered & reflective that covers it all at Inspire With Hope.

I'm writing the first entry now, so it'll be here shortly.

Hope you find it interesting accompanying me on my journey; do feel free to comment, feedback very welcome & much appreciated.

Excited + terrified: I'm exchanging certain unhappiness for uncertain happiness. Sounds like a decent exchange to me!


inspirewithhope: Photo of K smiling lots (Default)
Excited Terror

What's it about?

Entrepreneurial Kathleen is where I write loads & loads about my experiences with freelancing.

I left my full-time, permanent job to pursue my dreams of freelance web design & entrepreneurship. Here's where you can find out how I'm getting on. Please do comment and/or email; I love feedback.

I'll be writing a (shorter!) monthly digest at Inspire With Hope.

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