Self-Employed? Don’t Let These Hurdles Trip You Up
The benefits of being self-employed are well documented and it’s hardly surprising that so many of us are choosing to ditch the traditional nine-to-five lifestyle for something that offers a little more freedom. Instead of being chained to a desk, self-employment lets you work when and where you want.
However, being self-employed doesn’t necessarily mean an easier life when compared to being in full-time employment. Instead, it poses a number of new challenges that it’s important to be aware of. If you’re looking to join the freelance economy, here are some hurdles to avoid.
With extra freedom comes added responsibility and when self-employed you will have to manage your time very carefully. Whereas a full-time job would see you given tasks and deadlines by a colleague and rigid working hours in which to complete them in, self-employment works on very different principles. It will be up to you to manage your workload, deciding how much you can take on and how long it will take you. If you bite off more than you can chew, you’ll end up missing deadlines, disappointing clients and possibly damaging your reputation.
In addition, having to set your own hours can be a challenge. Do you want to get up early and get your work out of the way, work late at night, or simply when inspiration strikes? Whatever approach you choose, it’s important to have clear visibility over your workload and deadlines. Coming up with a simple spreadsheet and a few reminders can save you from a time management nightmare.
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Calculating your finances can be taxing
Another feature of being self-employed to be aware of is the importance of calculating your tax returns. When you’re in full time employment, this process can be a lot simpler. Firstly, your employer may sort out your tax returns on your behalf, and if not, it’s likely that you’ll be earning a fixed wage, which means filling in your own tax returns shouldn’t be overly troubling.
When you are self-employed, however, there are other factors to consider. Your income can fluctuate massively depending on how much work you have, and it is your responsibility to keep track of your earnings. What’s more, as a self-employed worker, you may be entitled to a number of tax-deductibles expenses, from travel to computer equipment.
There are a number of online outlets offering assistance when it comes to self-employment tax returns, but if you are in any doubt then the best approach is to seek assistance. Professional tax advice from the attorneys of Mackay, Caswell & Callahan, for example, can help ensure that you avoid penalties and only pay the tax that you need to.
Self-employment also means that you may have to spend time seeking out work on a regular basis. Although ongoing projects will help with this, pitching to potential clients is a major part of the self-employed lifestyle – and what’s more, you don’t get paid for it. This unpaid, but necessary, aspect of self-employment often goes overlooked, so make sure that you put time aside to find new work every day, even if you’re in the midst of tight deadlines.