Despite the best efforts of programmes like The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den, starting a business remains a dream for many. Although not totally without its drawbacks, starting your own business can bring great satisfaction and a new-found sense of freedom.
If you’re amongst those brave souls willing to take the leap into self-employment, you’re probably wondering how to get started. With that in mind, here are all the i’s you’ll have to dot, and all the t’s you’ll have to cross to get that business going.
1. Choose your legal structure
We’re constantly wittering on about the differences between sole traders and limited companies, and as an aspiring startup, these are among the choices available to you as a legal structure. Generally, those two are the most popular amongst freelancers, but there’s also the possibility of operating as a Partnership or Limited Liability Partnership, should these structures suit you better.
Each of these structures come with their respective pros and cons, so explore these thoroughly before opting for your choice.
2. Register your business
Your choice in step one will have an impact here, since each legal structure requires a slightly different registration process.
Registering as a sole trader is the simplest route, which only requires you to choose a business name and register for Self Assessment. Once this is done, you’re all set. Registering and setting up as a limited company is a little more complex, as there are a few more hoops to jump through.
That said, it can still be done relatively quickly – incorporating online or via an agent taking a mere matter of hours.
Download and keep our handy PDF guide
How to Start a Business Guide →
3. Think about insurance
While not necessarily a legal requirement (although it is in some industries – something else you’ll need to check out!), it’s probably worthwhile exploring the different insurance options available as, despite involving an initial outlay, some investment here can save you considerable cash.
Professional Indemnity, Public Liability and Employers’ Liability insurance are the options you’ll most likely need, so consider your options and see which insurance policies will fit you best.
4. Stop reading this
In terms of the initial paperwork that’s about it – at this point, the only thing left to do is to get out there, generate some leads to drum up some clients and start building your business. Belief and hard work will go a long way in this endeavour. Just remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day – starting a business from scratch is a tricky old task, but completely worthwhile when you start to build up some steam.
If you need some support from like-minded bravehearts that took the self-employed plunge, you can find them in our free-to-join self-employed community, Crunch Chorus. You can also read some testimonies from those who took the leap in our Crunch Chorus Stories articles.
You can also check out our ‘Starting a business’ webinar, hosted by Crunch advisor Ben Shaefer, where we discuss 10 of the most important factors to consider when setting up a business.