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What Are The Benefits of Being Self Employed?

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An increasing number of people in the UK are being seduced by the benefits of being self-employed, seeking to escape the 9-5.

Currently 4.37 million of them to be exact.

There’s no doubt that the freedom to carve your own path, dictate your schedule, and pursue your passions on your terms is an enticing proposition. 

But is self-employment the right choice for you?

From unparalleled flexibility to the satisfaction of building something truly your own, the advantages of being self-employed are numerous. 

Yet, this path also comes with its unique challenges and demands a blend of dedication, resilience, and strategic planning.

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Here we’ll cover all the much lauded benefits that being self-employed offers, and what it takes to achieve them. Based on our decade-plus of experience helping thousands of self-employed people to do just that.

Sole trader vs Self Employed - what's the difference?

The Freedom to Forge Your Path

One of the most vaunted benefits of being self-employed is the unparalleled freedom it gives you. This freedom manifests in various aspects of your work life, impacting not only what you do but how and when you choose to do it.

  • Flexible Schedule - Self-employment enables you to design a work schedule that fits your lifestyle. Whether you're an early riser or a night owl, you can tailor your working hours to when you're most productive. Or take a holiday whenever you feel you need a break, balancing work with personal commitments more effectively.
  • Choice of Projects - Being your own boss means having the liberty to select projects that resonate with you and align with your values and expertise. This autonomy not only enhances job satisfaction but also allows for a more personalised career trajectory.
  • Workplace Autonomy - Whether it's the comfort of your home office, a local café, or a co-working space, self-employment offers the flexibility to choose where you work. This can significantly boost your overall well-being by allowing you to work in environments that inspire and motivate you.
  • A Personal Brand - Over time you will create a strong personal brand and reputation in your industry. This will give you expert-level credibility, and an ability to attract opportunities independently.

Financial Independence and Stability

The opportunity to directly influence your income based on the effort, creativity, and strategic decisions you make is both exhilarating and challenging. 

Unlike traditional employment, where salary caps and rigid pay structures can limit earning potential. 

However, this freedom also comes with the responsibility of managing your finances meticulously.  

  • Direct Control Over Income - Self-employment allows you to set your rates and adjust your workload to meet financial goals. This direct link between effort and earnings can be incredibly motivating, encouraging you to innovate and excel.
  • Diversification of Revenue Streams - The self-employed often have the flexibility to explore multiple revenue streams, from offering various services to creating products. This diversification can lead to a more stable and robust financial foundation.

When you work for yourself you’re not dependent on an employer and the success of their company for security. Your hard work gets rewarded fairly with every penny of value you have added. 

Tax Benefits and Advantages

Self-employed individuals can access various tax deductions and credits not available to traditional employees, such as home office deductions, business expenses, and more. 

Leveraging these benefits requires staying informed and possibly consulting with financial experts.

  • Deductible Business Expenses - Nearly all business-related expenses can be deducted, reducing taxable income. This includes office supplies, software subscriptions, and business travel.
  • Home Office Deduction - If you use a part of your home exclusively for business, you may deduct a portion of housing expenses, such as rent, utilities, and internet service.
  • Health Insurance Premiums - Self-employed individuals can deduct 100% of their health insurance premiums for themselves and their dependents.
  • Retirement Contributions - Contributions to self-employed retirement plans like SEP IRAs or solo 401(k)s are tax-deductible, offering a way to save for retirement while lowering taxable income.
  • Self-Employment Tax Deductions - While self-employed individuals pay both the employer and employee portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes, half of this self-employment tax is deductible.
  • Educational Expenses - Costs related to maintaining or improving business skills, including courses, workshops, and books, can be deducted.
  • Vehicle Expenses - If you use your vehicle for business, expenses related to its use can be deducted either through the standard mileage rate or actual expenses method.
  • Business Travel Expenses - Lodging, meals (subject to limitations), and transportation costs for business travel are deductible.
  • Interest on Business Loans -  Interest paid on loans taken out for business purposes can be deducted.
  • Startup Costs - Certain startup expenses may be deductible in the year the business is launched, up to a specified limit.

Key Requirements for Successful Self-employment

Over the years at Crunch we have helped and observed thousands of UK freelancers, contractors, entrepreneurs and small business owners find success in self-employment. 

So we want to share the absolute must have qualities you’ll need if you want to be one of them:

  • Discipline and Self-Motivation - Stay focused and drive yourself towards goals without external supervision.
  • Financial Management - Skillful budgeting, expense tracking, and financial planning and discipline.
  • Adaptability - Flexibility to adjust strategies and offerings based on market demands.
  • Networking Skills - Building and maintaining professional relationships.
  • Time Management - Prioritising tasks and managing time effectively.
  • Marketing Acumen - Promoting your services/products and building a brand.
  • Continuous Learning - Updating skills and staying informed about industry trends.
  • Resilience - Overcoming setbacks and persisting through challenges.
  • Customer Service - Delivering exceptional service to retain and attract clients.
  • Strategic Planning - Setting long-term goals and creating actionable plans to achieve them.

Overall, it seems obvious that being self-employed brings a wide range of valuable benefits. Ultimately though, whether it's right for you depends on your goals, expectations and needs of your desired lifestyle. 

Hopefully this article makes the core benefits and nature of self employment somewhat clearer. Be sure follow us and check out our resources for a wealth of more useful information.

Other things you need in place for being self-employed

You need to make sure your finances are in check. Because you could face fines from HMRC if anything you file is incorrect or late. One of the best ways to stay on top of your finances as someone who is self-employed is using Crunch. We offer key services tailored to all stages in your self-employed career. So whether you're a sole trader just setting up, a thriving eCommerce business, or a larger business, we've got you covered!

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James Waller
Content Specialist
Updated on
July 10, 2024

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