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What is it really like to work for yourself?

Paystream News

Kerry Hull

Tuesday 1st May, 2018

Working for yourself can have its challenges, but becoming a limited company contractor or freelancer can be incredibly rewarding too.

Making the decision to work for yourself after years of being employed by other businesses can be a big, sometimes daunting, step to take.

We often talk about the benefits of becoming a limited company contractor, such as getting to choose your own working hours and being able to enjoy a healthier work-life balance, but what is the reality of working for yourself actually like?

Virgin Money recently carried out research into this, asking 500 entrepreneurs about the challenges they faced in their professional lives, as well as what the biggest advantages of becoming your own boss are - the Independent reported on the results.

Working for yourself: The challenges

Overall, the biggest challenge cited by contractors and freelancers was not necessarily being able to take time off. As the sole person responsible for the success of your business, breaks can be rare, so it's important you try to stick to set 'office hours' as best as possible.

Similarly, getting used to working longer hours was reported as the second most common challenge, with one-fifth of respondents revealing they regularly worked 13-hour days in those early stages of being their own boss.

At this time, it can be a huge help to have expert support close at hand, and that's exactly what PayStream's limited company service, My PSC provides. My PSC offers help and advice on the administrative side of running your own limited company, helping you to make sure you're remaining compliant with HMRC and doing everything in the most tax-efficient way, saving you time on these tasks as a result.

In fact, dealing with admin was cited as the seventh biggest challenge for entrepreneurs and completing it was ranked 12th, so bear in mind that with My PSC you have access to a team of dedicated accountants who can help relieve these stresses for you.

Remember, once your company is off the ground, things will begin to fall into place and you'll be able to enjoy a better work-life balance, but you do need to be prepared to work hard to guarantee your success.

Other common challenges reported by self-employed people included being able to stay patient with difficult clients, feeling confident in networking, staying motivated and having belief in themselves. As this shows, soft skills are just as important for being your own boss as technical skills and qualifications, so work on these areas before taking the plunge if you're worried they may hold you back.

At number 11 on Virgin Money's top 30 challenges list was ensuring accounts are up to date, while finding an effective way to manage finances came in 17th place. Again, My PSC can provide you with support in this area, providing you with real-time information on your limited company finances. You can log in online or download our smartphone app, meaning you can manage your finances anytime, and from anywhere.

Working for yourself: The benefits

Hugh Chater, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Money, commented on the research findings, admitting: "From start-up to scaling up and then staying ahead, there's nothing easy about running your own business."

Yet he added: "What really shines through from our research, however, is that the freedom and fulfilment of running and growing your own business outweighs any trials and tribulations faced.

"Ultimately, hard work delivers its own satisfaction, enjoyment and reward, and 98 per cent of people who run their own business said they wouldn't have it any other way."

That's certainly a high proportion of happy limited company contractors and other entrepreneurs.

Overall, eight in ten of those questioned said the number one best part of working for themselves was being their own boss and not having to answer to anyone else. After years or even decades of working for other people, this can be incredibly liberating, which often more than makes up for those long hours.

What's more, over half (58 per cent) of those questioned said that setting up their own business allowed them to enjoy a career that was much more rewarding than their previous roles, improving their job satisfaction levels.

Like with any job, limited company contracting will have its ups and downs, but, ultimately, you are in charge of your own success, and it's always important to remember that help is at hand from the PayStream My PSC team.

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