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Becoming a sole trader


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I’m currently considering becoming a sole trader alongside my paye day job

I’m slowly getting fed up with where I am as things are not being done to my satisfaction and it’s been bothering me for a while now.

Trouble is I’m getting to that age where I don’t think I can tolerate working for someone again so I feel like this is my time to try something new.

 

I have to maintain my current job to pay bills etc and to see if the work I intend to do for myself comes along at a decent rate.

There is demand for what I plan to do and in my area there is a lack of places to fulfil that demand so I believe there is good business opportunity there to be had.

 

I would appreciate any suggestions/opinions good or bad from anyone who has tried this themselves. :thumbup1:

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I was a sole trader for over 20 years. I never had a PAYE job tho in that time.

Advice...............................

Insure you notify the tax authorities in advance.

Keep 100% watertight records that will withstand scrutiny as one dodgy entry could result in a full and expensive IR /excise investigation.

Inform your current PAYE employer to gain approval. Failure to do so could leave you open to dismissal due to conflict of interest.

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Hi Chris

 

My gut feeling is your idea is to consentrate on Z's in the main. Just a hunch. If that is your goal then sign me up as this is long over due in our neck of the woods. No offence to jimmer etc. All the best in your future venture whatever it may be

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I work in aviation and after 9/11 (or 11/9 in this country!) the industry took a bit of a swipe! It ended up costing the industry significantly and the follow up was that I worked for closed down in 2004... and then again in 2007... and again in 2010!

 

After the 3rd hit i now has the first chapter of my young family and the insecurity and moving about had to stop! I was given a government grant as part of the last redundancy package to do some training at which point I decided to do a Part P electricians (17th edition competent person scheme) course.

 

Having finished the course and having to travel around with various contracts in aviation I thought I’d throw in the towel and start up my own little business as a sparky! Although I’m not a qualified electrician, the Part P scheme is a bit of a loop-hole to be competent to sign off anything from the fuse box outwards so I figured I’d have enough work to keep me going. My aviation licence covers me to release an aircraft to service after any electrical system work that I have inspected or carried out so I’m would’ve been perfectly comfortable with the work involved.

 

Whether the timing was good or bad, I was offered a well paid job at the airport I was local to and it was probably the most secure job in the industry within Europe. Up until this stage, the outlay for the test equipment, tooling and literature etc was very risky especially having no real idea on how quickly I could expect to start seeing returns. In the end I simply didn’t have the cojones to take the plunge and start out on my own, especially as my job felt secure and was bringing in reasonable cash.

 

Fast forward another 8 years and my training has expired so I no longer have the option to progress with that but my work and life is good so who knows where that fork in the road would’ve taken me. Obviously, your motivations are different and it’s more of a life choice to keep you motivated and happier with the work you do. I can’t see any reasons not to go for it other than as already mentioned during the transition stage where your current employer is concerned.

 

Best of luck though dude, whatever you decide, I hope it works out for you.

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I started out with a PAYE job and did the upholstery as an evening/weekends venture. It's hard work, especially if your own business starts to take off! You'll likely find that your free time dwindles to nothing and that can be hard, especially if you have a family.

 

As others have said, make sure your records are 100% up to date and accurate as The Powers That Be love nothing more than to make an example of the little guy at times.

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I've run my own business since 2006, I had 3 years where I had a PAYE job as well and it's very hard to start off with.

However fast forward a few years and I am happier than I've ever been and I don't ever want to work for someone else again.

A few pieces of advice for whatever its worth.

1 A good accountant should save you 3 to 4 times what they cost you - get yourself a good accountant!

2 It's far better to regret doing something than to regret not doing it.

3 The first few years are the hardest, but I looked at it this way. Imagine someone said you are going to prison for 3 years and in that time you will have minimal contact with your real life, family and friends. However when you come out after those 3 years you'll never have to work for anyone again and you'll be better off than you ever have been. Would you surrender those 3 years to make the rest of your life infinitely better? I worked all the hours for 3 years everyone said I was mad, but I promised myself if it didn't work after 3 years I would drop and return to real life. It did work and you'd be surprised how many of the "you're mad" comments have turned to "I wish I'd done what you did"

4 One of my life Mantras (which to be fair I stole from a film) is "What one man can do, another can to!"

5 Years ago a friend of mine who is a good old Suffolk boy ( baler twine for a belt etc) looked at me when I said I'd love to have a place like his (26 acres, huge house, fishing lake, paddocks the whole 9 yards) quite simply said " Make it happen Boy". I'm not quite there yet, but the fact of the matter is there are 2 types of people in the world when it comes to this sort of thing. Those who look forward and do, and those who look back and wish.

6 Talk to as many people as you can at all stages as someone will always have come across your current problem before

 

My advice to anybody looking to go out on their own will always be "go for it" and I hope you do bud and I hope it changes your life like it changed mine.

 

No particular order, just my thoughts and amazingly sensible for me - best of luck in whatever you choose to do mate.

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Lots of good points raised by all, so i can only echo those that i also think are important.

 

Doing your own thing part time while you have a full time job means sacrificing evenings and weekends.

This is good, where it helps to identify if you will get enough work, build a reputation, etc.

However, it means you have no time for yourself except where you purposefully make it happen. You must make sure you keep some to yourself, and have a clear idea of how long you think you want to do that to see if it will work out.

 

The big decision will come when you feel you have enough to sustain a full time week on your own.

This can be tough when you try to convert regular customers over from evenings/weekends availability to weekday availability.

 

Don't be tempted to continue weekdays, evenings and weekends indefinitely. It was a means to an end to make the break, but you need to recover your free time back at some point.

 

Keep good records and find a good accountant.

Always regularly compare your "sole trader" with "limited company" accounting liabilities, to identify the best time to consider swapping. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but mostly depends on how much you earn and how much you spend.

 

I was sole trader then limited company for about 12 years, before moving back to full time employment 5 years ago (was a good offer ;-) ) and there are big advantages.

 

Although, it is very easy to get trapped into a "not working, not earning" frame of mind/trap and feel a little resentful of taking holidays and time out, but they are a MUST, and what you are working for.

 

Best of luck!

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Excellent decision and my career is coming to an end soon when i will venture out with my own business. If you are qualified in the profession and have the passion to work the long hours to make it succeed then go for it. Not really sure what you are looking to do but i think if you can relate experience from other fields for your new venture then that will build reputation quickly. If you are looking for extra tools to help then try and have a look at some of Anthony Robbins material and that may well help.

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If you can start it along side a PAYE you’ve nothing to lose other than your time. Be realistic when investing in tools (if necessary), by quality second hand as you can always move them on for the same price if it doesn’t work out (even second hand tools can go on the books). And I would recommend paying someone to do your end of year books, £400 and they’re done. A good accountant will save you that and some each year.

 

You’ll have good days and you’ll have days thinking why did you do this BUT the rewards when you get it right are great. Good luck mate!

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I've run my own business since 2006, I had 3 years where I had a PAYE job as well and it's very hard to start off with.

However fast forward a few years and I am happier than I've ever been and I don't ever want to work for someone else again.

A few pieces of advice for whatever its worth.

1 A good accountant should save you 3 to 4 times what they cost you - get yourself a good accountant!

2 It's far better to regret doing something than to regret not doing it.

3 The first few years are the hardest, but I looked at it this way. Imagine someone said you are going to prison for 3 years and in that time you will have minimal contact with your real life, family and friends. However when you come out after those 3 years you'll never have to work for anyone again and you'll be better off than you ever have been. Would you surrender those 3 years to make the rest of your life infinitely better? I worked all the hours for 3 years everyone said I was mad, but I promised myself if it didn't work after 3 years I would drop and return to real life. It did work and you'd be surprised how many of the "you're mad" comments have turned to "I wish I'd done what you did"

4 One of my life Mantras (which to be fair I stole from a film) is "What one man can do, another can to!"

5 Years ago a friend of mine who is a good old Suffolk boy ( baler twine for a belt etc) looked at me when I said I'd love to have a place like his (26 acres, huge house, fishing lake, paddocks the whole 9 yards) quite simply said " Make it happen Boy". I'm not quite there yet, but the fact of the matter is there are 2 types of people in the world when it comes to this sort of thing. Those who look forward and do, and those who look back and wish.

6 Talk to as many people as you can at all stages as someone will always have come across your current problem before

 

My advice to anybody looking to go out on their own will always be "go for it" and I hope you do bud and I hope it changes your life like it changed mine.

 

No particular order, just my thoughts and amazingly sensible for me - best of luck in whatever you choose to do mate.

 

...This...!

 

Sound advice for you there Chris.

 

Best of luck in whatever you decide mate!

I have something to say............ It's better to burn out than to fade away..... :tt2:

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I run a consultancy now, but I started in a way where I got frustrated at what I was doing so I went alone. The first year was the hardest - I think I earnt about £7k before tax! But then the second year was a vast improvement as I had a year of self-marketing behind me. It takes time get going, and I did make mistakes that you learn from - like being open with HMRC, accountants etc, and having a good accountant is perhaps the most important thing to organise as they will pay for themselves. Just be aware of your employment T&C's - as the conflict of interest area is something most companies take seriously.

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I have some experience of this and it is hard earned experience I'll share. You get an idea, for a product or service, and you start doing it. It can whilst you've got another job or do full time, doesn't matter, I've done it both ways in the past. What happens is, if the business grows, you need to employ someone to do the admin, can be your accountant but this is basic bookeeping you can give to the accoutant. and then it grows some more so you need to employ another, so what happens is you start to spend time running the business, not DOING the business.

 

I've done tht three times in the past and I hate employing people. When the going is good they want everything, if it becomes a struggle they walk away saying it's your business you sort it out.

 

It's best not to be too gredy and be content with the maximum you can earn through your own efforts

 

Tony

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Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply to this.

 

I have given it much thought over the past few months and i have come to the conclusion that i do stand to lose nothing but my time as mentioned above.

 

I know it will be hard going with a day job and fitting my own plans around that but nothing worth doing is easy.

I only have about 5 years left to clear my mortgage and that will come in handy if my plans work out by that time.

 

With regards to my current employment i dont even have a contract of employment and the owner is pretty much not seeing anything that is going on within the business (its one of the problems which is making me feel like i need to get out).

 

I need to invest little money to start working for myself as i already have the necessary equipment and tools.

Will need to sort insurance to cover business use and sort out some business cards and marketing etc but thats about it really.

 

Im gonna give it my best shot and whatever happens i wont regret having tried it.

 

I will take onboard the comments regarding a good accountant and keeping good records.

 

Thanks guys

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Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply to this.

 

I have given it much thought over the past few months and i have come to the conclusion that i do stand to lose nothing but my time as mentioned above.

 

I know it will be hard going with a day job and fitting my own plans around that but nothing worth doing is easy.

I only have about 5 years left to clear my mortgage and that will come in handy if my plans work out by that time.

 

With regards to my current employment i dont even have a contract of employment and the owner is pretty much not seeing anything that is going on within the business (its one of the problems which is making me feel like i need to get out).

 

I need to invest little money to start working for myself as i already have the necessary equipment and tools.

Will need to sort insurance to cover business use and sort out some business cards and marketing etc but thats about it really.

 

Im gonna give it my best shot and whatever happens i wont regret having tried it.

 

I will take onboard the comments regarding a good accountant and keeping good records.

 

Thanks guys

 

 

Yes go for it Chris and good luck mate. :clover:

Edited by Gaz 300
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Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply to this.

 

I have given it much thought over the past few months and i have come to the conclusion that i do stand to lose nothing but my time as mentioned above.

 

I know it will be hard going with a day job and fitting my own plans around that but nothing worth doing is easy.

I only have about 5 years left to clear my mortgage and that will come in handy if my plans work out by that time.

 

With regards to my current employment i dont even have a contract of employment and the owner is pretty much not seeing anything that is going on within the business (its one of the problems which is making me feel like i need to get out).

 

I need to invest little money to start working for myself as i already have the necessary equipment and tools.

Will need to sort insurance to cover business use and sort out some business cards and marketing etc but thats about it really.

 

Im gonna give it my best shot and whatever happens i wont regret having tried it.

 

I will take onboard the comments regarding a good accountant and keeping good records.

 

Thanks guys

 

nice one Chris. best of luck!

 

Proceed as if success is inevitable

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Best of luck with your venture Chris. You will do well with your attitude to work, because if your employer has a decent business, then you can only do much better by improving what you see as negatives in your current workplace:thumbup1:

 

Go for it and don't look back:thumbup1:

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