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Lockdown has had the effect of changing up life for just about everyone across the country. But it could be argued that it has hit no-one harder than the self-employed. If you are self-employed you may have found yourself in a position where work has dried up - or worse, is not possible at all due to lockdown and social distancing measures.
Here we present six tips that can help anyone who is self-employed as they attempt to navigate their working life in lockdown.
The government acknowledges that the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown have made things extremely difficult for the self-employed. And while it took a long time for the government to announce what it was going to do to help freelancers and the self-employed, it has now been officially confirmed that the Self Employment Income Support Scheme will provide financial assistance through the lockdown.
The scheme will make it possible for self-employed people to claim a grant of up to £2,500 per month based on their maximum monthly profit if the coronavirus outbreak has caused them to lose business. This money can be claimed by anyone currently self-employed who filed a tax return in the year 2018 to 2019.
For the vast majority of self-employed people, your home has become your new full-time place of work. So it is natural that you will want to ensure that you have everything in order with your home. Mortgage lenders have agreed to give homeowners across the UK a mortgage holiday if requested.
If money is tighter than usual it can be very important to provide yourself with an extra level of security through lockdown, so this could be a great option in that case. A mortgage holiday takes one extra expense off your plate for the moment.
It may be the case that you are used to doing all of your business networking in person, and the fact that leaving the house is discouraged and social distancing are in effect could make it very difficult for you to continue to get work in that way that you would normally. However, in these unusual times, we are all having to make changes.
It is a great idea, then, to move your network online instead. Utilise social media platforms such as LinkedIn to create, grow, and strengthen business relationships.
It is important to do as much as you can to maintain business as usual. We have already talked about ways to use online networking to replace face-to-face, but there are many other ways that you can utilise modern tools in order to keep your business on track through the lockdown.
If you generally take a lot of meetings with clients or colleagues, why not use videoconferencing software instead? You might be surprised at just how easy it is to continue working as usual during the lockdown.
Some aspects of freelance simply are not possible to do currently, and there can be a temptation to simply admit defeat, and refund a customer, or refuse a booking. However, it is a much better idea to find a way to hold onto that business. Look into ways that you can functionally push back the business to a later time when it is possible.
According to chartered accountant and business specialists Wellden Turnbull, 1.5 million SMEs do not have a business plan. If you would count your business amongst that number then it is worth considering that now is the perfect time to start planning for the future and putting some effort into what you want to achieve.
Having a plan is a hugely important part of your business, no matter what form your self-employment takes. Think about where your work comes from, and how you can get more of it. This has the potential to help you not only in the long-term as the country moves out of lockdown but also during this current climate, as you can focus your efforts on the things that work.
Searching for a job during the coronavirus outbreak? A skype interview is becoming a common method for most companies. Follow our 6 tips to prepare for yours!