Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Striking out on your own

I left paid employment recently and decided to set up on my own.

I am lucky. Lucky to be at a stage in my career where I don't exactly have to worry about keeping up the repayments on the mortgage. 

Lucky also in that I can look forward to a decent final salary defined benefit pension scheme.  

The recent changes in public finances and the consequent public sector cutbacks led to my employer offering an early release scheme and though it meant a serious dent in my income, I decided to take the plunge when I still had the energy and the enthusiasm to do something different. 

So I set up on my own.

I am now familiar,  if somewhat daunted, with such matters as company filings, P&L statements and HMRC returns. 

Should I get an accountant? Do I need a fancy website? Do you have the keep the paid up company share capital in a steel box under the bed? What are the pros and cons of buying such things as a computer and printer on the company account. 

All very interesting questions and there is lots of material to consider. But it all takes away from the core task of going out to get the business, deliver what the client wants, and keep up the level of skill and knowledge needed to work in what is after all a knowledge business. 

Without that there isn't going to be the profits out of which to pay the tax. 

Lots to do,  much to learn. 

But the key thing, I am fast discovering, is that its takes discipline to work on your own without the warm (if sometimes stifling) embrace of a large organisation that provides the wherewithal of everyday work - a desk, telephone, computer, blackberry, meeting rooms. I miss also the office camaraderie, and yes also the strangely welcome annoyance of stupid emails, mandatory training to tick some health-and-safety-gone-barmy  box, and the maddeningly inane organisational newsletter. 

Better get back to the business of growing the business!

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