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 gov.uk 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:
- I can work in my pyjamas. If I do feel like getting dressed, the dress code is very relaxed
- I avoid the rush hour commute – it’s a four second walk to work
- I get to start when I want to (10am! I’m not a morning person)
- I have the world’s best boss – I’m flexible, accommodating and generous with the tea and biscuits
- All my stationery is pink
- No fire drills
- Peace and quiet
- Afternoon naps
- I’m popular with my neighbours because I can take their deliveries
- 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.