Insurance For Self Employed

As a self employed person there are any number of different situations that may arise for which you may need insurance. If you’re a builder and you accidentally damage someone else’s house you may be liable for costs if they make a claim. This is where Public Liability Insurance would come in helpful for you.

Or, if you’re an IT Consultant and you give a client the wrong piece of advice, which they follow and then suffer some kind of financial loss, then Professional Indemnity Insurance that would form part of your self employed insurance would cover the cost of the claim. These are just two forms of insurance which you should consider:

Public Liability Insurance
Professional Indemnity Insurance
Business Equipment Insurance
Buildings Insurance

Public Liability Insurance

This is a very important form of insurance for self employed people. It protects you if somebody makes a claim against you, if in the course of conducting your business, you accidentally cause injury or damage to another person or their property.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

This form of insurance is important if your business involves you giving advice to others. If, following your advice, someone suffers financial loss, then this insurance will protect you.

Business Equipment Insurance

You can’t do your job without the necessary tools. With this insurance, you can protect them. This extends to traditional tools and new fangled ones like laptops and other office equipment.

Buildings Insurance

Should you work from home, then you can insure your home office via this type of insurance.

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Work From Home Companies

As with going out to work, there is any number of work from home companies. It really does depend upon what you want to do. I think that it’d be useful also to say that as well as working for yourself, or being freelance, you can also work from or at home for an employer.

There are some genuine work from home companies out there, and also some scams. Please be wary of such work from home scams. Normally, a job won’t come with a fee, so never send money up front to people or companies who claim they can give you work at home. If you are interested in an advertised work from home job do some research into the company and contact them with your questions. A legitimate company will be very glad to speak with you and give you as much information as you require.

Beware the Scammer

One of the more common ones involves adverts about addressing and stuffing envelopes which ask for a registration fee. If you pay the fee, all you get in return is advice to place adverts like the one you saw, but no actual work. Another type will ask you for money for home assembly kits, promising your money back and additional payment for the kits that you complete. The advertiser will pocket any money you send and then claim the kit you assembled didn’t meet the necessary standards. If you feel that you have been the victim of such a scam, you will need to inform your local Trading Standards Department – be insistent with them too. Sometimes you can get passed from pillar to post, insist that someone takes responsibility for your complaint, after all it’s their duty and they do have this responsibility to you.

Three Legitimate Companies

I’d like to discuss three of the more well known work from home companies in the UK. All involve catalogues, but all have different business models. No doubt you will have heard of them, but I’ll give you the names anyway. There’s Kleeneze, Avon and Betterware. All are direct sales companies, that is, there is no middle man between you as a distributor of products and your customers. I believe that Avon and Betterware both operate with territory systems – that is they tell you where to put your catalogues, where as Kleeneze does not – it is up to you.

With Betterware you receive your catalogues from the company at no cost, but you are told how many you need to put out. Avon does charge you for your books as does Kleeneze, but the difference is that with Kleeneze you can put your books anywhere – you build your own territory. I have heard of a lady who was advised by someone from Avon that she could just drop her books out wherever she wanted to. This resulted in nothing more than an irate call from the lady whose Avon territory she’d stepped on. Ouch!

Kleeneze charges an upfront fee to join. Now as I have discussed above, a legitimate company which Kleeneze (like Avon and Betterware) is, will be glad to answer any queries that you have. Furthermore, it is likely, especially with Kleeneze, that you will be joining up with a sponsor, again they will have no problems in discussing the business with you. In many respects there’s something which seems almost shady about some of the methods used by Kleeneze Distributors to encourage enquiries. You may have found a mysterious card on your card, or seen a flyer or even poster – not to mention newspaper ads. This is because upfront mention of the name Kleeneze does put people off. However, if you were to look at the Kleeneze opportunity in any depth you would realise that there is a direct relationship between work done and reward received.


With all three opportunities, as in life really, you don’t get anything for nothing. You have to put in some work, there’s just no way that you’ll make a single penny if you do nowt. I guess what concerns people is whether or not they’re doing the right thing, as doing lots, but of the wrong things gets you the same place as doing nothing. So this leads us back to another question, namely how do we know if we’re doing the right thing. Well dear reader, research is key, as is listening to your own gut instinct, if something feels wrong then it probably is, so leave it alone. Try and make sure that your research is as independent as possible. There are plenty of forums out there and all sorts of people will post on them. People post for various reasons – positive, negative and neutral, so be wary and read as much as you can to get the best possible range of opinions.  Ultimately though, it’s down to you.  Good Luck.

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Why Does Self Employment Require Self Control?

If you are self employed, you manage everything. Now, this might be a bit of an over simplification, but this basically boils down to task lists and income profiles. I remember that as an employed person, the only thing that I had to remember was that my income would arrive on the 15th of the month – sometimes as early as the 13th (whenever this was a Friday funnily enough)! So I arranged my most important direct debits, mortgage, council tax, sky subscription(!) to come out before the 20th. And I did my socialising around the same time of the month – in the 2 weeks after payday. That was it, job done. Well almost, because very quickly I had to build in things like credit card payments, as I had borrowed on them to tide me over after the last batch of direct debits had gone out around the 1st of the month. Just the simple expedient of writing things down, knowing that 50% of my salary (after tax) would be gone in the week after payday, that another 25% would go out around 2 weeks before payday and that the remaining 25% to buy food and go out etc would have to be spread out over the full month. Simple? Well yes, but did I do it? Mmm, as the reference to my credit card would illustrate, no I bloody didn’t.

Progress Meetings

Work was a similar story. I remember as a project manager we had monthly team meetings which doubled as progress reports. We’d all be at there in a semi circle, with our manager in the middle at the front. We’d go through all of our projects, and would have to give updates on how things were going. Despite knowing a full month in advance of this meeting, I would have done nothing but the bare minimum until a week before this meeting. This brings another theme here, that of negative motivation, but that’s another article for you to read.

The week before this meeting would have been a whirlwind of rushing around trying to get things done – unfortunately, quite a few of these things had to be done by other people, so at our progress meeting, I’d be sat there defending myself, saying things like ‘such-and-such-a-body hasn’t been able to complete task x, so I can’t report progress here and now’, or ‘contractor z has only just started task y so I won’t have anymore news until next month’ and so on. I’d then have to spend the next week, frantically tidying all of these loose ends and then relax for a couple of weeks. And the number of times that AN Other got me out of a hole, well…

The Buck Stops Here

When you are self employed, this doesn’t work – the buck stops with you. For a kick-off, there’s not necessarily a regular monthly income – even though your bills will still go out, as regular as clockwork. So you need to manage your income and outgoings. Stagger your direct debits across the month, giving yourself space to make up any income gaps. Use the fact that there are four weeks (minimum) in any given month and have things go out on the 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd. Then schedule your income (and hence task list) around this – allowing time for cheques to clear or late payment from customers etc.

Longer Period

Then of course, you will need to play this out over the longer period. Unexpected things will happen, so you need some form of contingency fund. Also, never mind making Jack a dull boy, all work and no play is a recipe for burn out, so schedule time off. This means managing your money so that you can afford the time off. Annual events such as Christmas, your wife’s birthday(!) need to be planned and accounted for, both in terms of time and money. So do it. NOW!

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Can A Self Employed Person Get A Mortgage?

Even in these days of credit crunch, getting a mortgage if you’re self employed is not the trial that it used to be. It’s even possible to get a mortgage if you don’t have the best set of books. Traditionally, lenders would wish to see regular income guaranteed by employment. However as we have been seeing, the economy has changed with and more and more people have becoming self employed, not to mention that fact that even having a job is not that secure anymore. Whilst there are still specialist lenders who specialise in mortgages for the self employed, it’s probably true that most lenders will deal with self employed people. Your best bet to find this out is to seek out an independent mortgage adviser. In an initial half hour to an hour interview with one of these fine individuals you will find out an awful lot more about just what you could obtain, what products are out there and such like. Just a little piece of advice here, and paraphrasing Orwell, some independent mortgage advisers are more independent than others.

Being able to show that you’ve been involved in a particular industry for years can be an advantage. This is because lenders are still wedded to the idea of seeing how employable you are. This is a slightly bonkers example, but it proves the point – a plumber may well be in a better position than a successful film director as they would be able to show steady, weekly work. By contrast, the film director’s few months of work here and there would look more patchy. By the same token, being new to a particular area of business may prove a problem until you are able to demonstrate regular income. If you have a short term contract it would be advantageous for you to be able to show that you have regular such contracts with the same employer, obviously the longer that this history goes back, the better.

Cautious Creatures

As I have hinted, mortgage lenders are cautious creatures and don’t always appreciate the ins and outs of different types of business. But this is changing, so do your homework and shop around, or get your mortgage adviser to shop around. It used to be the case that if you’re self employed and you wanted a mortgage, the lender would seek proof of your income, you’d need to show three years audited accounts or if you haven’t been in business for long enough the lender would accept a letter of confirmation from an accountant.

If you’re not able to show the three years accounts, you may have to pay a larger deposit, or go down the route of self certification. As discussed, historically, those of us who were unable to provide evidence of all their income have often found it difficult to get appropriate mortgages, either being offered mortgages that were too small, with punitive rates or even being refused completely.

Self Certification Mortgages

Self certification mortgages provide a solution for people whose full income cannot be guaranteed or suitably demonstrated. Although often associated with self employed people, self certification mortgages are available to people from all walks of life, regardless of their employment status. As the name suggests, a self-certification mortgage is just like a ‘normal’ mortgage except for the fact that you don’t have to prove your income. What is required instead is a signed declaration of your income and your ability to afford the mortgage for which you are applying. In return, your accounts are not checked, you don’t have to prove your financial or employment status and the only checks that will be carried out will be standard credit checks.

In going down this route however, please remember that standard mortgage warning, YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU CANNOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON ANY LOANS SECURED AGAINST IT. Thinking that you’ve pulled a fast one by getting the loan approved, and then realising six months down the line that you can’t actually afford it is extremely sobering.

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Work From Home Ideas

There are many reasons why one would wish to work from home. To compliment this, there are probably just as many ideas for what you could do as a home worker. So let’s run through a few:

Work From Home Ideas 1. Run Your Own Website

In this day and age, the internet seems to be a good place to try and earn a living from home. But what should you do on the internet? Well, this is the first point at which I think that you should take stock of the situation and think very carefully. Be wary, there are a million (should that be billion?) and one opportunities out there, and everyone is the best. A good rule of thumb is that if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

The internet has become an extension of our day to day lives. Therefore, you should think about your skills and interests and use these as basis for your self employment idea. Even if initially this is just a hobby or an extension of your hobby then go with it, see where it takes you.

Here’s a slightly odd example, but please bear with me. What if you’re really good at ironing. You know, you can get creases in trousers that nobody else could even dream of. Well apart from offering your services, doing people’s ironing for them, you could write a website about ironing, documenting the history of the iron, developments in the technology of ironing boards, that sort of thing. With carefully placed adverts you can make money as people come to your website to learn about ironing, see an ad that takes their fancy, click on it and voila, there’s a small commission for you. You don’t need to know everything about the web or how to build a website, there are plenty of sites out there that can give you the platform, is a good place to start.

Work From Home Ideas 2. Sell Stuff On eBay

eBay claims that $1,900 worth of goods is traded every second worldwide on their myriad sites around the world. Surely some of that would look good on your bank statement? Stick to what you know – irons, ironing boards and other ironing board paraphernalia in our case. Even if irons and ironing are not your thing, think about all the junk that you have in your house. Your junk could be just what somebody else’s heart desires.

Work From Home Ideas 3. Write Articles Or Other Copy For Websites

Want to tell the world about irons and ironing boards? Well if you don’t fancy doing it on your own website, why not do it for others. Or if writing really isn’t your forte, why not compile a list of all iron manufactrers or do some web searches and compile a list of websites related to irons or ironing. Believe it or not, this may well be a useful resource (just remember irons and ironing is a silly example that I have made up).

Work From Home Ideas 4. Use Your Hobbies Or Skills

As I mentioned above, why not offer to do other people’s ironing. Many people absolutely abhor the idea of spending even a minute ironing. If you’re good at it and you enjoy it, why not take this burden off others who don’t. It’s not like you’d offer to do it for free – LOL. Of course ironing is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s all sorts of things you could do, from mowing lawns to walking dogs, delivering leaflets to childcare, baking, knitting – the list is only limited by your imagination.

Work From Home Ideas 5. Door To Door Catalogues

Arghh! I hear you cry. I can’t do that, imagine the shame of it. Well if you need a few extra pennies, this line of work, with the right company could be very rewarding. The beauty of this type of work is that you don’t have to be a sales-man or -woman. The catalogues will do the selling for you. In the UK there are three major catalogue opportunities – Avon, Kleeneze or Betterware. Each has its own merits and drawbacks, you can easily research them all with a quick Google search.

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