Sole trader: the benefits of being self-employed

I left government at the end of March. My plan was to take a month off and then find another job in digital comms, maybe in the private sector. My month off turned into three months – I was having such a lovely break sunbathing, exploring London, doing DIY and catching up with all the things I’ve never had time for (eg making a will!).

Then Brexit happened and everything changed. The number of jobs being advertised plummeted. After such a carefree few weeks I was suddenly worried about the future. I decided to go freelance. It was a scary decision at first.

The hard bit was trying to register with HMRC. After clicking round in circles on for an annoyingly long time, I finally found the correct online form. (It’s called CWF1 v1.2. Before you start you need to know whether you’re a sole trainer or a new business, and what Class 2 National Insurance is. Sole trader and self-employed are the same thing – I’ve just saved you half an hour of confusion).

I got my first three clients through word of mouth: a chef, a life coach and a designer. I’m helping them with digital comms and social media marketing so that they can concentrate on doing what they do best. So far I’m really enjoying being a self-employed sole trader. So much so that I’ve made a list of the perks:

  1. I can work in my pyjamas. If I do feel like getting dressed, the dress code is very relaxed
  2. I avoid the rush hour commute – it’s a four second walk to work
  3. I get to start when I want to (10am! I’m not a morning person)
  4. I have the world’s best boss – I’m flexible, accommodating and generous with the tea and biscuits
  5. All my stationery is pink
  6. No fire drills
  7. Peace and quiet
  8. Afternoon naps
  9. I’m popular with my neighbours because I can take their deliveries
  10. There’s no firewall on my laptop. If you’ve ever worked for government you’ll understand what a joy this is

The best bit is that I’m working with people who are passionate about what they do and really want to succeed. I enjoyed the work I did in government but, as with any large organisation, I came across undynamic people who were there because it pays the bills, not because they have any interest in what they’re doing. It’s energising to be around people who’ve chosen a career they love.




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