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.
TaxesI 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, etcApplying 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 teacakevegan.com. 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!