We self employed people are sometimes viewed with envy by those in regular employment – who perhaps imagine that you can knock off when you like, have a day off if the weather is nice or pick and choose which jobs you want to do. The reality is not like that. Most self-employed people will tell you, it’s hard graft. You have to work hard to build your business up – and if you are successful, find you sometimes have to work long hours and weekends to fit in all the jobs. It is easy to lose sight of the direction you want to go in, find there is no time to plan and just lurch from job to job, struggling to complete the paperwork and chase the bills. It can be lonely too – many are sole traders and have no colleagues to fall back on should a job prove more complex than expected, or no-one to have a bit of banter with if they are having a bad day.
Those who might be envious, reflect that there is no holiday pay and no sick pay either. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. So, that brings us to the current situation. What if you are self-employed and not able to work at present? If your savings are limited, then life it pretty tough and it is your turn to envy your chums in employment who may have been furloughed, yet are still receiving money. Help is on it’s way if you have been self-employed since before April last year through HMRC’s grant scheme, which is now open for applications – don’t hang about though, it is only available for a short time – you can access the claim system on GOV.UK by searching for ‘Self-Employment Income Support Scheme’ . You may also be able to apply for Universal Credit, especially if you aren’t able to claim money from other means. However, this blog post is not meant to offer financial advice – there are many other expert sites to help with that. It is simply a post to suggest other ways to alleviate the stresses of not being able to work at the moment.
The good thing is that you can now use the time to catch up with paperwork, put the filing in order, chase those debts and – most importantly, plan for the future. It might be that you have been wanting to set up or update a website, start a Facebook page, get a Twitter account – so now is the time to put yourself out there and let everyone know you exist. Join local Facebook groups so your name is known to people and it will keep your name current in the community for when your skills are needed again; also, look for advice from others who work in your particular area of expertise to see what tips they may have – it may also stop that sense of isolation as you connect with others in a similar position.
It’s also a time to plan. It might be that you have never had chance to re-think the way you work, so now is a good time to give it some thought. We have all had to adjust the way we do things currently, so think ahead to when you are working again and how you may be able to think outside the box to get some fresh ideas. It may be frustrating at present not being able to apply any of these ideas, but stay focussed as this time will not last forever.
The important thing is to stay positive and try and have a plan for each day – it is easy to wake up and think there is nothing to get up for. Make the most of this enforced rest – keep yourself busy with the jobs you have meant to do at home but never had chance to get on with, take up that hobby you put to one-side years ago, re-engage with nature, learn a new skill – or, simply learn to relax, whether by meditation, yoga, or just going for a walk.
Remember too, it’s good to talk. Whilst you may not be able to see your friends and colleagues face to face, there is always the phone or various ways to video call – don’t be afraid to communicate – whether it is to help yourself, or perhaps to help a friend or relative who you know might be lonely and appreciate a call.
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