If you want to work for yourself, there are various ways of doing so. Once you have decided on a business idea, the next step is to decide how you want to set up your business. This will partly depend on the type of work you are going to do. For example, if you are working freelance for other companies you might look at different options than if you are setting up a business working only for yourself.
One option is to set up as a sole trader or partnership, in which case you will be fully self-employed. You will need to keep a record of all of the money you earn and spend on your business as well as all of your receipts and invoices for a period of six years. At the end of each tax year you will need to complete a personal tax return to declare all of your income and expenses to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Another option is to work through a limited company, which has historically been a popular option for freelancers. You can set up your company online or apply directly to Companies House. You will probably need to employ an accountant to assist with the various forms and record keeping that are required by HMRC. You might also need to register for VAT. A PAYE Umbrella Company will often offer services to assist with running a limited company.
If you are freelancing, one of the simplest ways to proceed is to work through a PAYE Umbrella Company. You will be treated as an employee and paid through the umbrella company so that all of your tax and national insurance payments are taken care of on your behalf. This can be a very convenient option, particularly if the way you work means you fall within the IR35 legislation.
Of course running a successful business is about more than just record keeping and administration. The key to your business success will often involve a lot of hard work but there are many points to be aware of when developing your business.
It is crucially important to build good relationships with the people you are dealing with, from suppliers to customers and everyone else you deal with along the way. If you always treat your customers well and offer a good service, you will begin to build loyalty and encourage your customers to spread positive recommendations about your business. Building a good relationship with your suppliers can be invaluable, for example if you need supplies at short notice or when the supplier has to choose between clients if goods are in limited supply.
Another key to success is to be adaptable and willing to keep up with moving markets and changing trends. If you are resistant to change in business, you can often end up being left behind your competitors. To be able to keep up with your customer's needs, you will need to know what they are and so it is important to keep abreast of what is happening in your industry and talk to your customers.
Finally, potential customers need to know that you exist and so never underestimate the importance of advertising and using whatever means necessary to make people aware of your product.