Ok, I am admitting right now to all of you that I am procrastinating on the self-employment front.
I will do it and I am making progress. I'm most of the way through my online business course; I have a Marketing Plan and about three-quarters of a Business Plan; I've written a lot of the text for my website. But I'm having to really push myself over every step.
It's not the work involved. The work is not a problem. The trouble is that I have my self-image, my little mental picture of me... and then I have a little mental picture of A Self-Employed Businesswoman... and there's no way I can manage to superimpose the two. I'm not a shoulder-pads kind of girl, you know? That's part of why I'm setting up as an assistant... I keep wondering who exactly I am trying to kid by calling myself a business.
Anyway, there was a major panic this afternoon when my new Business Advisor asked me about my planned start date and told me that the "HMRC definition is once you have set up your website or have got anything with your name on it – i.e. business card, letterhead, leaflet, etc you are in the eyes of HMRC starting to trade," and I went AWOOOGA! because I've been getting ready piece by piece and have, for instance, set up a business banking account and a PO Box weeks ago, but I don't yet have several other important things like insurance or a tax reference number.
Thankfully I decided that if something is causing me that amount of upset, I should seek a second opinion, and HMRC's self-employment helpline allows me to go straight to source. Turns out it runs from when you have the ability to provide your goods or service and are "open for business". So in my case, since I would currently be telling a potential customer "sorry, I'm not quite ready yet," I have not started to trade, no matter how much of the setup I've got in place.
However, it has given me a bit of a kick up the bum about the whole thing. As a result of which, I am eagerly awaiting some insurance quotes and doing my best to remember that all I have to do as a first stage is meet the legal minimum requirements - nobody expects me to become SuperBusinessWoman overnight and the shoulder pads are truly optional.