Join in if you are self-employed and work from home

I have read lots of good advice in these threads, but I come from a slightly different angle than lots of others. If, like me, you are self-employed, work from home and are in debt, join me here for mutual support, hand-holding, question-asking, being kicked in the butt into doing stuff, e.g.:
  • you have work to do but you are procrastinating
  • you want to share highs and lows but have nobody to share with
  • you have what seems a daft question (it probably isn't) and you want to ask it without embarrassment
  • you have a letter to write and you are putting it off
  • you have a pile of filing to do and need to be told sternly to do it - and then be told how good you are to do it
  • your clients are in no rush to pay up
  • work is drying up ...
I'll do another post to start the ball rolling and look forward to meeting you.

Find particularly useful posts easily (but do stop by to read the rest), with many thanks to the individual posters

Tax and NI
#45 (page 3)
#58 (page 3)
#153 (page 8)

Pricing and financial planning
#200 (page 10)

Taking the plunge
Test-trading: #172 (page 9)

Accounts packages:
#46 (page 3), #119 (page 6) and #144 (page 8)
~212 (page 11)

Office equipment
#145 (page8)
#148 (page 8)
#151 (page 8)

Motivation, resilience, staying cheerful
#52 (page 3)
#53 (page 3)
#96 (page 5)
#101 (page 6)

Useful books
The Secret [for motivation - #196 (page 10)]

Awards and grants
HSBC Start-up Stars Awards (closing date 25 April 2009): #76 (page 4)

"Green pastures are before me,
Which yet I have not seen;"
I'd love to be a good example - instead, I am a horrible warning.


  • Wordsmith
    Wordsmith Posts: 1,164 Forumite
    Following on from the above, I'll introduce myself.

    I am a copy-editor, proofreader and writer (nothing very creative - not that I get paid for anyway). I have moved from England to the west coast of Ireland, and have therefore had to start building up a new client list. I found it really difficult to get work here and got into more debt (that is, more than I brought with me from England). I now have a few publishing clients, but definitely need more - but there's not a very big pool to dip into. When I was desperate for work at the beginning I took a job in the local shop. Much to my surprise I really enjoyed it - it was a great way of getting to know people in the village. I still do it, even though it is really low paid - partly because I enjoy it, partly because it is an income I can rely on if freelance work gets a bit low. It's annoying when I could be doing higher paid work, but it is something that at least means I meet people during the day. I also do bookkeeping, computer training and business administration. I don't usually admit to doing a variety of work in case people think I am Jill of all trades and mistress of none ... pause for thought ... moving swiftly on ...

    I rent an office in a nearby small town. Madness when I am so broke, but necessary because I can't (really can't, not no way) get broadband where I live (which is in any case a caravan as I have an uninhabitable cottage that one day - but not necessarily in my lifetime - will be a fab and comfortable home). I have to have broadband for my work.

    I live with a smallish dog - a cross between a collie and some kind of terrier. She has the intelligence of a collie and is as stubborn as a terrier - but she's gorgeous.

    Debt busting is difficult - could write for ages about that, but won't bore you. Getting work is difficult. Getting paid is sometimes difficult. Getting down to work even when I have it is sometimes difficult. Even so, even if I could get a permanent full-time job, and even if it was one that I liked (what are the chances of that?), I think I would still freelance.

    So that's me, or at least a bit of me.
    "Green pastures are before me,
    Which yet I have not seen;"
    I'd love to be a good example - instead, I am a horrible warning.
  • Horace
    Horace Posts: 14,426 Forumite
    Hi and welcome to the nuthouse that is MSE:D

    I have a small amount of debt which is manageable and also work from home. This crazy woman started up during the recession but I am not going to give up, clients will come, I already have some work lined up which is nothing to do with my profession - writing the blurb for a webpage for which I will get £30 (hey its money:D ) and a product launch which is to be organised for October. I am a wedding planner but this wasnt always my job before that I was a PA but was made redundant from my job in 2007 basically I was bullied out by the nincompoop that I worked for, I had so much time off sick that I was selected for redundancy and my employer made damn sure that none of their 30 vacancies were suitable even those on a lower grade than I was already on:mad: Still I have moved on and set up my own business in October. I am still on benefits that will change in April when I finish test trading - no way am I going back, this is my business and it will be a success:D

    Procrastination is what I am good at - I keep saying that I will get a filing cabinet but so far I havent, I have become a bag lady as all my filing is in carrier bags:eek: . I also keep saying that I will do my assignments for my HND in wedding planning (only two left to do), I have become bored with the course and for one of the assignments scraped through with a C+ I am amazed I got that because I did the bare minimum - basically regurgitated what the coursework said with no real input from myself:rolleyes: The last assignment in the course (but not my actual last assignment as I do the course how I see fit which means that I will work backwards), my tutor was pleased with and gave me an A+:j

    I have become a card tart and my debts get shifted onto the 0% card, I have the deal until August 09, it will all be gone by then. I am also a freebie queen.

    That's me kind of in a nutshell.
  • Wordsmith
    Wordsmith Posts: 1,164 Forumite
    Hi, Horace. Pleased to meet you.

    Good luck with your business. I don't think I could do wedding planning - I am not nearly organised enough. Or nice enough. Do you have to be kind to tearful brides-to-be and bite your tongue with pushy mothers? And act as a pre-marriage counsellor?

    Is the web page you write for on wedding stuff?

    Keep going with your assignments. It will be a lovely feeling when you finish them. I had no idea there was such a qualification. I started a distance learning coure in payroll (yawn) - I really wanted to do it (that is, I really wanted it to be done), but as always I let work (the need to earn money every chance I got) get in the way and didn't finish it. I'd like to resurrect it sometime, though.

    I can't be a card tart as no one in their right or wrong mind would give me a new card.

    It is difficult to work this afternoon as there is a St Patrick's Day parade going up and down the street. Am just waiting for it to pass (it's been going on for hours) and I can escape the office to take the mutt for a walk. I'm 3 miles from the beach but we are just going to walk around the lanes today so that I don't have to spend money on petrol to get to the sands. The upside is that if I trawl the street this evening I might find some road change. And if I can get up and out before the road sweeper in the morning I might find some more outside the ten pubs that line the short high street (this is Ireland, don't forget).
    "Green pastures are before me,
    Which yet I have not seen;"
    I'd love to be a good example - instead, I am a horrible warning.
  • kelie
    kelie Posts: 151 Forumite
    Hi there :) I am also self employed but in big debt. Basically I do a lot of web design and affiliate marketing. One of the companies who used to pay me for affiliate marketing realised they had overpaid me for a whole year, by £19000, of which I didn't really realise due to family problems. I spent most of it apart from enough to cover my tax bill January just gone (thank god I had that).

    I also have around 6000 on credit cards and i'm in my personal overdraft by about 2000. So starting to panic BIG time. My dad passed away last thursday and before that was very ill so I was running a lot of errands etc. couldn't concentrate, and now I can't concentrate because I've just lost him. I signed up as an avon rep on the side. Made £25 in commission on my first order, but I ended up spending that as a joining fee and some shampoo and conditioner etc for myself. I'm hoping future campaigns will be better.

    Some of my credit cards are on deals (card tart alert), one is on a 6% (something like that) deal for the life of the balance, I have 2 on 0% but the others are charging interest.

    I am hoping to set up another website to do with makeup and another to do with slimming, but it's finding the time when I know they aren't bringing in immediate income.
    Virgin CC: [STRIKE]-£374.70[/STRIKE] -£384.39 | Barclaycard: -£2016.05 | Egg CC: [STRIKE]- £781.13[/STRIKE] -£1450.28 | M&S CC: [STRIKE]-£980.40[/STRIKE] -£1026.29 | Natwest CC: -£1,605.60 | Tesco CC: [STRIKE]£1,567.10[/STRIKE] -£1334.10 |

    Current Account Balance:

  • Horace
    Horace Posts: 14,426 Forumite
    Yes I have to deal with tearful brides and overbearing mothers:rolleyes:

    The website I have been asked to write up is for someone who makes wedding cards but she doesnt have a clue about words for her own website and liked my wording.

    I will do the assignments, must knuckle down on them this week. Have just been told about an auction that is on tonight - the contents of a bridal shop so I am off to look at the auction website.
  • Wordsmith
    Wordsmith Posts: 1,164 Forumite
    Welcome, Kelie

    So sorry to hear about your Dad. On top of everything else it sounds like you are having a really bum time and haven't had time to concentrate on work. Take a bit of time for yourself and your family right now - it's hard to keep the worrying money stuff at bay, but try to give yourself some peaceful time to think about your Dad and give yourself space to grieve.

    Would love to keep abreast of your web site plans. I have a few web site ideas that I'm trying to find the time to organise - like you, though, if it's not paying straight away it has to go on a back burner.

    Keep posting. And love to you at this horrible time.
    "Green pastures are before me,
    Which yet I have not seen;"
    I'd love to be a good example - instead, I am a horrible warning.
  • BlondeHeadOn
    BlondeHeadOn Posts: 2,267
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I'm sorry to hear about your Dad too Kelie. And do look after yourself at this time, it's deceptive how much these things can bring you low, physically as well as mentally. Hugs to you.

    I'm self employed and work from home too, and many thanks to Wordsmith for starting this thread - great idea. I am not in debt (much) after a good year last year, but a lot of my work has fallen off a cliff since January so I am trying to be careful with what money I have (something I am not really usually very good at).

    My biggest problem at the moment is motivation - I am usually very tidy in my office, but at the moment I am surrounding by teetering piles of stuff that need filing, dealing with, or chucking out. There's always tomorrow though....

    Can I join the self-employed group too please?
  • get broadband where I live (which is in any case a caravan as I have an uninhabitable cottage that one day - but not neces
    I expect you've tried the various mobile broadband offers then? If not, could be worth your while. You may already have seen them but in case you haven't, a very small USB dongle with modem inside. Very useful for anyone who cannot get broadband through a cable. Just a suggestion as I imagine being without broadband and being a writer, what you said you did can be more than just inconvenient without vital internet access. :)
    I started a distance learning coure in payroll (yawn) - I really wanted to do it (that is, I really wanted it to be done), but as always I let work (the need to earn money every chance I got) get in the way and didn't finish it. I'd like to resurrect it sometime, though.
    Bit difficult without broadband though, I imagine. :D

    BTW, I also write and have been published in assorted places. Voluntarily, though. I feel fulfilled having done so, that someone gets to enjoy but also feels like I have been recognised for something. I never take my own advice because plenty have said I have a talent for writing. But never listen. :D

    PS No you wouldn't have seen any of my work because I write far far differently when in the 'muse' to how I sound here on MSE. ;)

    Oh, well excuse me anyway because I am not self employed so guess I better leave the party and so on. Incidentally, I was spotted by a journalist who got me involved with the writing. Just the recognition for something that could be called mine. I ain't bothered too much about being paid, though it is attractive. It's something I can do, that's what gives me fulfilment. If someone wants to pay me, then all well and done. There are artists and there are 'artists'. Some enjoy painting for pleasure, would never dream about wanting money. Guess that describes where I am coming from here. Because if I intepret your opening post correctly, it was all about 'feeling good about oneself' and encouraging people, other people to look at things differently. Well, you can be fulfilled in other ways, not just the monetary. So, no, don't work from home, nor am self employed. But you can be 'self employed' in other ways not just the financial. ;)

    Recently knew someone from the Isle of Man, and Kent quite a while ago ... reminds me of you quite a bit ... oh, well, probably nothing. Easy to 'read' into things online, thinking you've met someone in life that you find familiar from posts. Must be one of those things I suppose. :D
    Any help, opinions, views I may hold those are my own. Respect them as you would expect the same in return. Offered freely, is gleaned from a lifetime of experiences, knowledge gaining. Passed on to benefit others. I may be direct, ask you questions but those are to help you. Up to you if you choose to take it. I won't judge you either way.
  • Wordsmith
    Wordsmith Posts: 1,164 Forumite
    Welcome, BlondeHeadOn. Sorry to hear your work has been a bit thin on the ground the last few months. Is it seasonal and so likely to pick up again, or is the lull a "sign of the times"?

    I empathise with the teetering piles of paper. I am well known for my piles (if you see what I mean). I am much better than I used to be - when I cleared my house in England for letting I had to be absolutely ruthless about getting rid of stuff. It was so liberating, and for the first time in years I knew what I actually had. The piles are reappearing, though. I always convince myself that I have more important stuff to do and when I am free I will sort out the paperwork. Never seems to happen, though. I am always "busy" ... but not necessarily doing what I should be. I don't have any problem getting down to work, but I have huge problems getting down to the work I am supposed to be doing at that moment.

    Merlinexcalibur: greetings. I have tried mobile broadband, thanks - not a flicker of life, I'm afraid. (Can't get a mobile phone signal, except very occasionally if I stand in the middle of the road.) Doing something that gives others pleasure is always fulfilling. Although from where I am at the moment if I can get paid for it too then that's all the better!:o By the way - never been to the Isle of Man and have no connection to Kent.
    "Green pastures are before me,
    Which yet I have not seen;"
    I'd love to be a good example - instead, I am a horrible warning.
  • wyebird
    wyebird Posts: 755 Forumite
    Hello :wave:

    I am self employed and do some work from home, but I mostly freelance for another self employed person in their office, but I spend lots of time by myself, so does that count? :o

    I left banking (maybe that was a good move!) because I wanted to do graphics and web design, but have ended up mostly doing database development.

    I am trying to be a proper web designer though and am training whenever I get the opportunity and funds allow.

    Finances were going in the right direction until OH got made redundant twice last year, back in work now, but on less money, so fingers crossed
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