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self-employed

How is life for self-employed workers?

Being self-employed is a way of life for almost five million people in the UK now, with some deliberately opting for a life of working independence and others being forced to adopt it.

Figures released by the Resolution Foundation this week said average earnings for self-employed workers are now lower than in 1994-95 but that the UK’s self-employed workforce had grown by 45% in the past 15 years.

How has the life of a self-employed worker changed over the years – and what benefits or drawbacks does it bring? Some have shared their stories.

The session singer

Sam Blewitt

JANINE RASCH

“Payments to session singers have increased little in real terms in the past 20 years”

Payments to sessions singers have changed very little in real terms over the past 20 years, according to Sam Blewitt.

The Twickenham-based singer has been self-employed for 30 years and has sung with Madness, The Streets, Dizzee Rascal and Ultravox, as well as on soundtracks for films, TV shows and commercials.

“There have been good times and bad, but generally, I am working for the same as I was 10 or even 15 years ago,” said Mr Blewitt. “I do believe I was earning more 20 years ago.

“Then the added impact of the change in people’s music-buying habits have really changed the way self-employed musicians and singers earn money. My publishing income from music sales is virtually non-existent these days.”

The cleaner

Darren Smith

DARREN SMITH

On his 40th birthday Darren Smith decided to make some major life changes including giving up his job in a large shop-fitting company to set up his own cleaning business.

“I was living my life out of a suitcase week in, week out, and though the money was good, when did I get the time to spend it?” said Mr Smith, from Eastwood, Nottinghamshire.

He got a part-time job packing computer components to ensure he had some money coming in while he worked on building up a client base, which involved designing leaflets and delivering them himself.

Nine years on Mr Smith – although earning less – says his decision to become a sole trader was the right one.

“I’ve taken a big drop in wages, but I have cut my cloth accordingly,” he added. “My partner and I live a frugal, but in my eyes, a very rich life. My work-life balance is much better, and yes, there are times when I’d pack it all in tomorrow, but doesn’t everyone have days like that?”

The homeopath

Suzanne Wright

SUZANNE WRIGHT

A patchwork career is a modern way of balancing motherhood with work

Suzanne Wright found that when she became a self-employed homeopath her hourly rate was actually higher than when she was employed as a part-time distribution manager. So while her income dropped, it was because she was working fewer hours.

The mum-of-two from Northampton decided to work for herself because she and her husband found it difficult to arrange flexible childcare for their primary school-aged children.

“A lot of people have started up as self-employed in recent years,” said Mrs Wright. “Many, like myself, are mums seeking to work for themselves so that they can manage their working hours around school times, so that they can be with their children.

“A patchwork career is a modern way of balancing motherhood with work – it generally means less income, but also more family time.”

Mrs Wright said she does have to spend additional time working on marketing and keeping her financial records up-to-date: “I get more career satisfaction now because I’m building something of my own. My husband is in full-time, permanent work, so I do know the mortgage will always be paid.”

The shop owner

Chris Petterson

CHRIS PETTERSON

For the last decade Chris Petterson has owned and run three greeting card shops, but found he had to use his pension from a previous job to supplement his income online rezept viagra.

Mr Petterson, from Wakefield, North Yorkshire, has had to work full-time in one of the shops himself but has only been able to pay himself less than the minimum wage.

He said: “I have eight part-time staff but the costs with pay changes and pensions has gradually risen as have rates, rent, utilities, whereas business has plateaued over the same period.

“One of my big frustrations is the unfairness of business rates. I have two shops of similar retail space, but one shop has a rateable value of £6,000 whilst the other is £13,500.”

However, he said the positive side of being self-employed was being able to spend more time with his grandchildren.

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Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive


 

John Lombaerde

How To Manage Time Off for the Holidays when you are Self-Employed

'Tis the season to be jolly…and busy! Here are six tips to help you enjoy the holidays. 

work at home

The holiday season is here – and hopefully, amid the big dinners, shopping, decorating and parties, is, somewhere in there, a break. But taking some time off is a bit different when you are self-employed. For one, there's often no one to pick up the slack when you take a vacation, and you probably have to plan ahead so there's no slack in the budget either.

Keep Family in the Loop

Before you plan your time off for the holidays, chat with your family. What days will your spouse have off from work? Does little Johnny's Christmas play fall during the hours you would normally be working? Will you go on any special family outings, perhaps to pick out the Christmas tree or visit Santa? Knowing all your families activities ahead of time will help you plan how much time you'll need off, and when.

Stay Organized

Organization is an essential quality for a work-at-home-mom, and it certainly comes in handy when you are preparing for time off. Create task lists that outline what you need to accomplish both before and after your break. Block out time on a calendar so you know what you need to be working on and when. Find a system that works best for you – just remember to stay organized.

Notify Consistent Clients

You probably don't need to notify clients when you are taking a national holiday off – but if you plan on taking the whole week off or a few extra days, be sure to let your consistent clients know ahead of time so you can make sure you'll both be prepared.

Set Up an Automated Email and Phone Message Response

Whenever you take a vacation, it's a good idea to set up an away message in your email so no one gets upset when you don't respond right away. And if you use a phone for business calls, change your voicemail as well if you don't plan on picking up for business calls during your time off.watch full movie Maigret’s Night at the Crossroads 2017

Arrange Extra Work Time Before and After

Depending on the type of work you do, you may need to make up for the time you take off. Plan extra slots of time both before and after the holidays. Schedule when you'll take care of the extra work, so you're not stressing about when everything will be done. Ask for help with the kids and housework if you need.

Embrace Technology

Thanks to technology, there are a few ways to be present without actually being present. Schedule social media posts during your time off – try a social media management system such as Hootsuite if you haven't already. The scheduling feature makes it easy to ensure there isn't a big lapse in posts while you're away. If you use a blog to promote your business, most platforms will allow you to schedule entire posts as well.

Holidays should be spent enjoying time with family – not worrying about work. With some organization and planning ahead, you can take some time off without a drastic impact on your business. Chances are, you started working from home so you could spend more time with your family – don't let your work interfere with enjoying the season with your loved ones.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they are visible on this page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


John Lombaerde