inspirewithhope: Photo of K smiling lots (Default)
Excited Terror ([personal profile] inspirewithhope) wrote2009-05-18 10:28 pm
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Day 1: Becoming self-employed

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!
nanila: (tachikoma: celebratory)

[personal profile] nanila 2009-05-18 10:38 pm (UTC)(link)
Go you! I'm very impressed with how well-informed and sensible and generally mindful of your health & happiness you are while doing this.
enraha: block fairy (Default)

[personal profile] enraha 2009-05-18 11:17 pm (UTC)(link)
Hello! I'm enjoying your journal much so and I just wanted to suggest that you look into a standing desk for your aching back! I know, I know, You may think, what? standing up all day?? But honestly it is great for posture and productivity. Just a tip!
sfred: (Default)

[personal profile] sfred 2009-05-19 06:59 am (UTC)(link)
That all sounds very organised and sensible and focussed: go you!