The coronavirus pandemic has sadly seen levels of unemployment sharply rise, with The Bank of England expecting figures to reach as high as 2.5 million. If your industry has been affected you might be considering your next career move.
One option is to become self-employed either full time or as a side hustle to bring in extra income. Here’s our top advice on how to get started.
Find a niche
As difficult as losing your job is, it gives you a rare opportunity to have a clean break from your previous career. If you’ve always had a burning passion for starting your own business, then now is the time to seize that opportunity. Of course, the success of your new venture comes down to finding the right niche. It should be something you’re either qualified to do or have a real interest in. Or even, an idea that fills a gap in the market.
If you need some guidance, then a business consultant can point you in the right direction. Market research is also imperative. You need to be aware of any similar products or services that currently exist so that you can develop your USP. Consider what you can offer that’s different to your competitors that will appeal to customers.
The admin side of things
Before you start, check if you’re eligible for a government startup loan or grant. Then you need to think about how you will cover your costs in general. On a basic level, you need to work out how much you need to make ends meet (and generate a profit) and sync this with how much you will charge your customers. Sticking to your market research is going to be helpful here, as your products or services need to be something that’s in demand so that they will sell.
Then there’s the so-called ‘dreaded’ tax return to consider. It’s often the thought of tax returns that put people off going alone, but with so many accountants out there, there’s no need to panic. Whatsmore, the current UK tax-free allowance is £12,500, meaning you are only taxed after you earn above this figure. If you’re planning on being employed and self-employed, you can earn up to £1,000 from your self-employment before you have to fill out a tax return.
Marketing your business
Due to the coronavirus restrictions, the way you can market your new venture is going to look a little different. For example, there will be no door to door enquiries or giving leaflets out in public for the time being. But, with the likes of social media marketing, email marketing and of course having your own website, this doesn’t have to be an issue. If you’re confident in digital marketing then you can create advertising campaigns yourself, or you can outsource your marketing to an agency if you have the budget.
To market your business successfully, you need to know who your core audience is in terms of age, gender, income and personality. It might sound a lot to consider, but it will help streamline your marketing efforts so that you target the right people. Don’t forget to tell your friends and family too, as building up your social media followers is going to help you get your name out there.
One of the best things you can do when you’ve just become self-employed is to network with others. Not only will this help create more awareness about your business, but it will help you learn more about the world of business in general. In-person networking events might not be happening right now, but there are plenty of online business groups and social media accounts you can connect with to spread the word.
When posting on social media, let people know your location by using hashtags. Growing a local presence could open up a wealth of opportunities, especially as people always look to support those in the community. Make sure it’s a two-way process by supporting other business owners so that your networking is seen as valuable to others. You might even find other individuals you can team up with to grow your business with from doing so.
To sum up
Becoming self-employed is not without its challenges at the best of times. But is a way of creating income especially if your industry has been affected due to the pandemic. Whether you start a side hustle or decide to give it your all, we hope the above tips will put you on the path for success with your self-employment venture.