Starting a business and deciding to freelance is an exciting time.
It can be the first step in a new life, where you choose what matters and what’s important to you.
Whether you’re going full time, part time, with a job, without a job, while you care for children or parents, work from home or travel the world.
Free ranging, freelancing, escaping the corporate cage, being your own boss.
Whatever you call it, for most of us starting a business is the best decision we ever made. Welcome!
Starting A Business
A new business can feel like such a lot to learn.
It may feel overwhelming.
Businesses can be super simple and they can also involve a fuck ton of learning curves.
For those learning junkies out there (that’s me too) it’s a hard task stopping doing too much at once when you’re starting a business.
It’s honestly not that difficult.
It’s the unfamiliarity and not knowing what applies to you that is the kick ass.
That’s where I can help.
This blog post covers the business money, tax and support basics of starting a business.
Here are all my starting a business posts in one handy digital bookmark-and-cache guide with a big dollop of community and support.
1. Decide Your Legal Structure
Your legal structure is your first decision when starting a business.
You are going to be a sole trader, a limited company, or occasionally, neither.
Sole trader is easiest, limited company may be better if you’re in the higher rate tax band or want to work with corporates.
If you only want to work for an occasional one-off client, you can do that without being a business if you know how (which is where I come in).
Don’t get into a knot about it, however this decision really is one of the most important, and it’s not all about the tax either.
Sometimes the right decision is one that is right for you and your personality, even if it does mean a bit more tax paid to save on paperwork in your first few years. (That learning curve, remember? Make life easy for yourself when starting your business).
2. Business Basics
Begin with the basics when starting a business and you’ll save a huge amount of time, money and stress later on.
Even if you’re not the organised kind, this is one area to push yourself on. Your kitchen cupboards can get away with being a mess, your tax records can’t.
It will bite you in the bum at some point or other, and unlike a packet of pasta, tax penalties and 3 days spend sorting out a tax mess can be expensive.
Like paying for a takeaway, bottle of wine and an evening cosied up with ASOS shopping cart expensive.
I would much prefer you to be able to afford a week in the Seychelles than give money to HMRC in penalties.
So, cuppa or glass of red in hand, read these little beauties:
Tax For Bloggers and Is Your Blog A Business? (with free downloads)
Freelance Expenses Roundup (with free downloads)
Dip your toe into the water and download my free income and expenses spreadsheets and invoice template:
There’s also my fabulous Start Your Business course if you’re ready for a paddle.
3. Get Support
Support is what makes the difference when starting a business.
High quality support is the difference between success and failure, between making good money and struggling for clients.
Support also keeps you strong with people who don’t understand this new, strange, WTF-are-you-thinking awesomeness you’re now doing.
There is no better boost than being with people who have already made a mahoosive resounding success of their business on their terms, and according to what success means to them.
Take that, naysayers.
These posts and links are to help you surround yourself with love and encouragement in a non woo-woo way:
Awesome online communities:
Be A Freelance Blogger by Sophie Lizard
Dexterous Divas And Dudes by Jo Gifford (join her newsletter to get access to the Facebook group)
Which leads me onto…
4. A Good Foundation
A good foundation when starting a business is more than just a decent spreadsheet or keeping your accounting software up to date.
It’s having a life.
It’s building your freelancing business around the life you want to have.
This is what my business life looks like:
- Freedom to drop everything to have coffee with Marianne Cantwell of Free Range Humans (I’m proud to be one of her Mini MBA experts)
- Enjoying red wine, dark chocolate and no guilt while working from home
- Indulging in cake and tea with a new client in a vintage tea shop
- Sipping pink champagne on a Thursday, just because
- A day in Chelsea recharging, because I can
- Breathing in the scent of roses on my desk and the freedom to pick flowers from my allotment any time I want to
- The deliciousness of meeting a client at my local pub on a warm evening in early summer
- Rocking fabulous jewellery while wearing my comfy hoody as I work from home
- Feeling appreciated when a business friend sends my favourite chocolates after I connected her with the top person in her new niche
Starting a business needs a good foundation.
Here are some basics to start you off:
Tax Return Roundup (with free downloads)
Free resources from the community:
This 8 day series from Free Range Humans is a great place to start if you’re starting or if you want to start a business and not sure if it’s right for you or what to do.
Natalia blogs how she started living her dream life after she quit her corporate job. Natalia is a client and she’s helped me a lot getting my own ‘am I living my own life?’ house in order.
Remember to add rewards into your life, whatever you are doing.
Job, business, everything.
Rewards for being you, rewards for saying no when you mean no, rewards for doing a responsibility, rewards for taking scary action, rewards for asking for support.
It’s easy to deny ourselves or pretend what we have done is easy or doesn’t deserve praise.
Bollocks to that.
Show up in your life, take meaningful action, be free.
Reward yourself for every baby step in the right direction.
It’s an exciting time starting a business, enjoy it.
What support do you need starting your business?
Have you seen my free resources?