Real world of Self Employed

Posted by Alona Holub on

So, back in 2016 I quit my job and decided to go self employed. I was struggling to find any real-life information that would give me an idea of how many hours I should work per day, how to organise my home office and generally what to do to succeed as a self employment businessperson.

 Working from home

De-cluttered and beautifully arranged home offices exist only in magazines. Here is my very first home office that I set up when I was living by the sea.

Since then I can tell you to be self employed is much harder work than having a nine to five job. There are always challenges, ups and downs but complete freedom and the ability to be your own boss! If somebody tells you that being self employed is working three hours a day - it is not true. Most self employed people I speak to are working twelve hours a day, six days a week, especially during the all-important early stages of your business when you are unlikely to be able to afford staff and will therefore have to do everything yourself.

Vision Board

My vision board from 2017, I would say your Vision Board is your company strategy board. You are one with your business. 

So if you are good at working independently and you think that you are doing too much work for the pay you are receiving - try to go self employed.  The whole decision of going self employed is one of the most scariest decisions to make! One thing's for sure - in the worst case scenario you can always come back to work, jobs are always there waiting for you with their fixed wage.

'From my personal observation, since the 2008 crisis there are fewer highly paid jobs and fewer companies that really do give good promotions in exchange for hard work, there are fewer company benefits and bonus schemes. Constant cuts, job insecurity, redundancies and now even that new word that most of us had never heard of - furlough. Many people can't pay off the mortgage early enough which means you'll have to go to work no matter if you are sick or old. But why is this happening? Many reasons: housing and banking crisis - many people rent and don't have their own home, if you lose a job you can end up on the street literally. Employers are not too keen on increasing salaries or paying bonuses to people who really deserve it. Everything is connected and might be not on purpose.'

One thing to remember - you are the captain of our own fate. You can make everything work if you want to. And to make it work you need to organise your own time and working space.

Chalk board goals

Real world Tips for Self Employment:

1. Set up a home office. A separate room or a corner in a living room with a dedicated space. Separate desk, hanging board, diary, lamp - going for a cheaper option like IKEA will do, if you can get furniture for free or upcycle - you are the champ!

Home office on the bidget 

My first home office came from IKEA and cost me £200 included chair, desk and shelving unit.

2. Keeping a Diary. There will be a lot of things you'll need to follow up or perhaps you'll come up with some idea while you are in the shower - always write it down. Though maybe wait until you're out of the shower.

WFH storage space

Ladder shelf is the best thing to have in WFH office - you can put it in any corner of the room and it adds not only storage space but keeps things on hand. This ladder been painted twice and still looks good, cost almost nothing from a cheap interior store.

3. Organise your day. Having a routine is extremely important when you are self employed. What was working for me: Breakfast - Dispatching customers orders - Morning gym -  Urgent Tasks - Work on the website - Accounts filing - Finish work - Organise next day.


Working hours from Tuesday to Saturday, Monday - day off. I couldn't take two days off as there were too many things to do. But it was only an estimated routine, if I have finished a very tiring but important project - I could take the rest of the day off and go on the beach. If I feel a burnout - I take a break, if I need to finish project - I work sixteen hours in a row to finish it.  

4. Business Bank Account.

No matter if you have a business or a side income put money in different baskets. It will help you to understand how your business makes money and how much your business spends. You do not necessarily need to open paid Business accounts - even £6 per month adds up quickly, some banks give one year free business account then you have to pay and the benefits they promise they will never do anyways. Find a free business accounts with banks like Starling. Keeping money separately will help you reduce personal spending and keep finances safe. 

5. Do accounts regularly.

Weekly is the best. Monthly is too much work and you won't remember everything you have done in a month. Keep accounts extremely detailed, if you do accounts by yourself you'll save £600-£1500 a year and might as well treat yourself for a weekend in Paris. 

Going self employed is truly inspiring, you will learn a lot, you'll work hard and it may well be the best decision you make in a lifetime.

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