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



  • BlondeHeadOn
    BlondeHeadOn Posts: 2,267 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    What does everyone do to keep themselves motivated at home??? do you have a seperate working space and dont come out of there for xyz hours. What do you do to stop yourself from getting distracted?

    I work set hours, and one of the spare bedrooms is my office. I work 9 till 5, with set breaks and an hour for lunch.

    I know this sounds really boring and a bit anal, but I have freelanced before years ago and never worked set hours. I found that I just used to put things off, and ended up having no clear break between work and home (which was horrible). So now I structure the day properly, and never work evenings or weekends - and in fact I have a separate phone line for which I switch of the ringer when I am not at work. That means I am never disturbed by the work phone ringing during my 'home' time.

    It also means it's easier to get motivated. I can either sit here feeling bored all day if the work is slow, or I can get on with it! Mind you, it doesn't help being able to log onto MSE as and when I feel like it....

    Also this way if I have a day off or a holiday, it feels like one.

  • Horace
    Horace Posts: 14,426 Forumite
    I have use the tiny bedroom in my flat - my laptop is in there on the computer table I bought cheaply from Lidl, my bookshelf is here - a cheap charity shop buy along with another set of shelves also a charity shop buy. I need to get a cupboard or something as I have files coming out of my ears plus I need a filing cabinet that takes foolscap size files - my local stationers will deliver (I acquired a crate of twinlock crystal files from freecycle).

    My business cards etc are from Vistaprint and I paid to have their better ones plus i get their free stuff too.

    I set my alarm for 7am and dont venture into my office til 9am - I will usually work or play on MSE til lunchtime about 1.45 when I will stop for lunch and watch neighbours and then I will start again. I might also do bits of housework such as the washing which I will then peg out or have on the airer behind me. I have a separate mobile phone for my business (which reminds me I need to top it up) but it is on 24hrs a day. I try and have a day off in the week to go to the dayspa - I sometimes take work with me as its quiet and I can chill out in the thermal spa and do nowt:D When the business kicks off no doubt I will be working weekends too.

    Oh you will be pleased to know that I sent my profile thingy to business link for the clients for this product launch job:j
  • Hollyberry
    Hollyberry Posts: 837 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Mudbath - nice work on the new client - yay you! That's a good point you make on sharing your successes too. I must remember to be more excited with my self-employed OH on things like that; it's easy to forget that he doesn't have colleagues to share the good news. Thanks. :D

    As far as timing is concerned for the B&B, I'd like to be open Easter 2010. I have no idea how long the house will take to sell here, although other houses in the street have sold, which is at least some consolation. It also depends how many bathrooms I need to have put in at the new place, whether any other work is needed, and whether I am daft enough to buy a listed building (yes, I have looked at two - the first scared me a lot, but the second looked feasible). It's a difficult balance between choosing a house pretty enough to interest potential visitors, versus spending hours finding 12" skirting boards to make repairs, as I've had to do here.

    Cheeky Monkey I was lucky enough to have a study at home, and I'm currently tidying it out so that I have space for the new business start-up. I have to discipline myself to "go to work" there, although I admit that it is a lot easier now that I am doing something that interests me.

    I am also very lucky having a partner who is self-employed. He is far better than I will ever be at networking and marketing, so I can learn from him there. However, his bookkeeping and records management is atrocious, and the run up to his self-assessment date is usually horrendous as he frets about his tax bill; I hope it will keep me more organised as to my commitments.

    Sammy - thanks for the tax info - much appreciated.

    BlondeHeadOn - the very bad thing about MSE is that I can persuade myself I am actually doing "research"... ;)
  • just downloaded that software, really really good. thanks
    NatWest Loan - £12,090.06 Mum/Dad - £14,750 TOTAL £26,840.06
    As of 01/01/2010 - DFW Date - 01/12/2014 59 MONTHS TO GO
  • Nicole_B
    Nicole_B Posts: 36 Forumite
    Can I join aswell :j

    My name is Nicole (you wouldn't have guessed :rotfl:) I have been self-employed since October 2008. In a nutshell I provide a data entry service for e-commerce sites and also have a blog which I post articles on how to set up an online business.

    I have to admit to being very quiet at the moment which is extremely scary as I have loads of bills to pay :eek: One of the main problems I have is competing with the silly prices that overseas companies are quoting!.

    I work from home in my spare room which is converted into an office. I can normally be found here from 9am till 11pm at night, I think I might be addicted to the internet which is no use at all and means that my work sometimes gets forgotten :o .

    Anway enough about me, I've just read the posts about Tax and am panicking as I don't ahve anything put aside for it.
  • mrscmr
    mrscmr Posts: 2,903 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Hi nicole
    i too freelance in the IT world... you checked out places like [are we allowed to say that?] dont want to be banned!

    i converted a room to an office which i share with my oh, he speaks on the phone all day and sometimes its hard to think!!!
    been a good day, really productive and will invoice for about £300 tonight - luckily i get paid really quickly!
    have a great evening everyone!
    Highest Debt £581,000 Nov 08 and now owe nothing! yes really! I have learnt my lesson the hard way!
    :heart2:Ebay Challenge 2011 - Still supporting from afar!
    Long haulers supporters DFW #223
  • Saab
    Saab Posts: 46 Forumite

    Self employed part time courier. Local work, for a large delivery company. I do this three days a week, the rest of the time I do the books for my OH who has been a self employed contract floorlayer for over 30 years.

    OH sub contracts to larger flooring companies, so we don't do much of our own work. He's currently working on a different idea, he's quite good at crafts and is making stuff for me to sell on that will be a new adventure.:eek:

    I did a basic evening class in book keeping and VAT for small business eons ago, but we have a great local accountant. She herself works from home and deals mainly with sole traders or small businesses. She has saved us lots of time and money, but you can save yourself quite a bit if you keep good accounts and therefore make it easy for an accountant to fill in your tax return for you.

    We pay our tax in January each year, we then pay an amount 'on account', half in January and half in July, for the year we are in. This is based on our previous year's earnings.

    The way it has worked for us is:

    Your first year's tax (usually due in January) - you will need the tax due on your first year's trading, plus half as much again for the year you are in (the on account part). The following July you will need the second half of the 'on account part'

    This is a basic example:

    Tax/NI payable for first year = £2,500 + 50% of tax on account for the year you are working in, based on previous year's earning = £1,250 - total January £3,750

    July - 50% of tax on account for the year you are working in based on previous year's earning = £1,250.

    If you begin trading on April 6th 2008 say, and put away your tax monthly, you should have what is due, as your tax year will end on April 5th 2009 and your payment will not be due until January 2010, so you will have had 20 - 21 months to accumulate the first January payments due. (18th months tax being due, leaving 3 months in hand)

    Subsequent years then follow on as - January - difference between payment made on account in the previous year, and what you actually owe (this could be more if you earned more, or a rebate if you earned less) and 50% of the payment on account for the year you are in, based on the previous year's earning again. July will be just 50% on account for the year you are in, based on the previous year's earnings.

    I hope that is clear and hasn't confused anyone...I've been dealing with it for years and it has changed over time, but those are the basics at the moment.

    Any help I can give, feel free to shout....:beer:
  • kelie
    kelie Posts: 151 Forumite
    Horace, I'd model your "fat" wedding dresses lol :D Also i'm a web designer, although I am only graphics HTML and CSS, not backend systems but I know a man who can :)

    I just make things look pretty!
    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:

  • Wordsmith
    Wordsmith Posts: 1,164 Forumite
    Yikes, I go off to sit in a boring office all day and come back to find the thread a hive of activity.:D

    Hello, all. Welcome to Lexxx, Mudbath, Mrscmr, Whitewing, bexlincs1, TCM, Hollyberry, Nicole B and Saab!:j (Apologies if I've overlooked anyone.)

    Lexxx - good luck with your bags. Get them out there! It will give you confidence and impetus to move forward.

    Mudbath - well done for getting your adverts done.

    Kelie - glad you are feeling more positive. Try to stick with it.

    Cheekymonkey20 - good luck with your venture - you sound very motivated.

    Hollyberry - you sound very organised and forward thinking - keep us posted on how you get on.

    Horace - good on you for getting your profile completed.

    Everyone - keep posting and asking. There's been some great advice and sharing of info. I am going to make a note of specially useful stuff in the first post so that people can find it easily. If anyone sees their post there and wants it removed (but it will be there because it's good) then let me know. Likewise if I miss anything.
    "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
    I have always found it necessary to have a separate room to have as an office. A corner of a room used for something else just doesn't do it for me - I would be hopeless working on the dining table and having to clear it for dinner. I'm lucky that I've always managed to get a room of my own and know that it's not that easy in some people's situations, but a spot that you can call your own and that other people are't allowed in is vital, in my opinion.

    As BlondeHeadOn says, you need separation between work and home. Some people find it difficult to get down to work, letting home things intrude. I find it difficult to do any home things (washing up, laundry, hoovering [the dog's scared of the hoover because she's so unused to it]) and have even (quite often actually) had breakfast, lunch and dinner still sitting at my desk.

    When I once realised that I was excited about going to the shop to buy a loaf of bread it dawned on me that perhaps I wasn't getting out enough! I still worked long and late, but nipped down to the pub for a quick drink at the end of the day - met up with the locals and had a chat, which was really nice [then the pub closed down - it was difficult not to take it personally]. Having a dog is wonderful, too - as you can't not take a dog out for a walk, and the break is great (except on days when the wind is howling and you can hardly stand upright, but still the pesky mutt wants to play). Now my work is a bit more varied and I see people through the jobs I do, so I don't feel so isolated. (But that darned hound still insists on a visit to the beach even when the sleet is coming at you sideways.)
    "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.
This discussion has been closed.
Meet your Ambassadors


  • All Categories
  • 343.1K Banking & Borrowing
  • 250.1K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.7K Spending & Discounts
  • 235.2K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 607.8K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 173K Life & Family
  • 247.8K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards