Tag Archive | "self-employed"

New Figures Suggest 176,000 Self Employed People in Wales


Wales is quickly becoming the UK hub of self employment, with 176,000 now working for themselves. That is 32% of new jobs in the country.

Many of these people are no doubt contractors, freelancers, and gig workers, while others have taken the route of starting a small business in order to make their own income.

Take Tom Maunder for example, a car body repairer from Wales who had been made redundant 3 times. After getting his P45 for a third time he decided enough was enough, and instead of looking for another job went the self employment route instead.

Actually, he ended up buying the small company from where he had been given his walking papers before, thanks to a loan from his parents and a bit of savings.

This is the type of entrepreneurship I like to see among workers in the UK. Many people in Tom’s position could have simply given up and spent the next few years signing on down the local job centre, and this is what many people do.

However, Tom decided that if employers were not prepared to give him a chance then he might as well make his own opportunities, and that is why he has gone on to be a success, with help from his family along the way.

It just goes to show that self employment in Wales is still going strong, and as long as there are people like the Maunder family then I don’t think anything is going to change soon.

Around 1 in 5 new jobs in Wales are to do with self employment, whether it be contractors, freelance professionals, or small business owners, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if in 10 years time this figure is 2 in 5 jobs…or even 50% of all new jobs.

The new figures do show that the area in Wales does matter when it comes to self employment, with towns that have historically been involved with industry having the lowest rate of people working for themselves, while areas that are more known for farming have the most.

In Powys it is said that 1 in 3 people are self employed farmers. Also, many of these rural communities in Wales have other businesses such as cafes, restaurants, and hotels, where the self employed do a great trade year after year.

Away from the town and villages we have the cities of Cardiff and Swansea, which are quickly making a name for themselves as the place to be in the UK if you want to work in freelance industries.

The cost of living in these cities in Wales is significantly lower than places like London and Birmingham, which means many gig workers are thinking about relocating to Wales.

So self employment in Wales is looking good, and things are only going to get better if you ask me.

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Over 15% of Workers in Harlow are Self Employed


According to a new survey, one in six workers from the town of Harlow in Essex are classed as self employed, with many of those being contractors.

It just goes to show that even in smaller towns around the country self employment is in full swing, where a lot of people are now deciding to get rid of a boss and start working for themselves.

Interestingly, there was similar survey conducted in Harlow around 10 years ago, where at that time the self employment percentage was below 10%. It makes you wonder what the figure will be in another 10 years time? My guess would be at least 25%.

Of course, you get more self employed workers in big cities such as London and Birmingham, but that is where a lot of contractor and freelancer jobs are to be found.

In places like Harlow the amount of opportunities is not on that kind of scale, but things are improving, especially now the internet has made it possible to work from home without having to commute to an office or place of business.

I’m sure that many self employed workers in Harlow have contracts and jobs from some very big companies, it’s just they don’t have to make the move to London in order to make a living, although some contractors might commute to the capital I’m sure.

Other towns in Essex have also witnessed a boom in the number of self employed workers. Take Colchester for example, where 10 years ago the number of people working for themselves was at 8,800. Fast forward to the present day, and according to the survey there is now 15,500 people who are classed as self employed.

Epping Forest has the most amount of self employment in Essex though, with 22% of the people there being classed as working for themselves.

There is also no doubt many public sector contractors based in the towns of Essex, although I’m sure that many of them are not impressed with the recent IR35 changes.

If reports are to be trusted, then a lot of contractors in the public sector are going to be leaving soon…following the thousands who have already packed their bags and gone elsewhere.

The good thing about self employment, either in Essex or anywhere else in the country, is that there is just so much opportunity.

As long as you have some determination and a desire to succeed, then there are many different potential avenues to pursue, whether it’s as a contractor, freelance professional, gig worker, or small business owner.

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Sky News Sued by Freelance Photographer


A freelance photographer by the name of Eddie Mitchell isn’t afraid to take on the Sky Broadcasting Corporation, after it was announced he was suing them.

Eddie had given permission to a firefighter to use a picture he took of a building fire in Bognor Regis. This picture was then published through the Midhurst Fire Service official Twitter page.

Not long after the Tweet was published, Sky News, the popular UK news channel and website embedded the tweet in a related story about Storm Angus, and of course, it seems that this also included the picture that was taken by Eddie Mitchell.

This wasn’t acceptable to Eddie, who said that Sky News never did contact him for permission to use the picture. Because of that, he decided to take the matter to court and sue Sky News.

Worthing County Court to be exact, where he said in a statement that he did give permission to the Firefighter and his station to use the picture, but NOT to Sky News.

A spokesperson for Sky News has gone on record to say that they have “very strict policies and always seek permission when necessary” when using pictures from social media sites such as Twitter.

The news story which contained the copyrighted picture from Eddie Mitchell has since been removed from the Sky News website.

Who knows exactly what happened here, and I’m sure that Worthing County Court will look at all of the evidence and come to a conclusion on what should happen next.

The one thing I do know is that we are going to be hearing a lot more about this type of thing, as freelancers and contractors believe their work has been used illegally and without their permission.

It’s not always exactly clear what is and what isn’t copyright infringement though, with many companies and news outlets arguing that embedding a link to a tweet, or using a screenshot of a tweet that contains a copyrighted picture should be fair use.

In my opinion, more needs to be done to clarify the law around the subject of copyright, especially when it comes to social media.

Sure, freelancers and contractors deserve recognition for their work, as well as being paid their dues, but at the same time, when sharing a Tweet or Instagram post is as simple as clicking a button on your phone, then maybe unintended copyright infringement is going to be almost inevitable

Ultimately though, Sky News are in the business of getting website traffic to their news stories and profiting from that, and any use of pictures or other third party content should potentially be compensated.

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Contractors to Finally Get Paid on Time…Maybe


I reported right here on this blog about how contractors spend an average of 20 days a year chasing clients for late payments. Sometimes they never get paid.

This led the government to step in and announce they would setup a special branch that is focused 100% on making sure contractors, the self employed, and small business owners get paid on time.

To be honest I doubted if they would actually go through and take action, but it looks like they have.

From last week, all large companies and limited liability partnerships will now have to share details of their payment practices with the government, and if they don’t, then they can expect to get punished and even be put out of business.

Not only that, but contractors who are finding it difficult to get paid by clients can go directly to the government to get things sorted.

Why are the government stepping in now? Well, I think they have just realised how much of a problem late payment is…with one report suggesting that self employed workers in the UK are owed £26 Billion pounds in overdue payments as we speak.

That is definitely not small change, and if big companies keep getting away with not paying contractors the money they are owed then it could start to become a real problem for the economy.

If the government don’t take action then it might lead to an economic meltdown, not something we want as Britain leaves the European Union.

The main information that large companies are now required to share is their average payment time for invoices. If they are taking too long then a government official will be demanding to know why.

Right now, it is only companies who have a turnover over 36 million a year or a balance sheet of over 18 million that will have to report on details of their payment practises, but as time goes on I think that smaller companies might have to do the same as well.

This ensures that contractors get paid on time by all of their clients, and they can even check to see the payment record of a particular company before agreeing to work with them.

Will this completely stop late payments for contractors though? Unfortunately not, as there is always a few companies that try to game the system and get around the rules.

Also, it remains to be seen if the government actually enforce the rules and punish companies that don’t pay contractors on time. They might take action for a few months to grab some headlines, but then start to ignore it after a while.

Hopefully this won’t happen, and contractors can finally get paid the money they are owed. At the end of the day, £26 Billion pounds owed is just way too much, and something needs to be done about it.

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UK “The Worst” for Self Employed Pensions


A team of pension experts recently took to the streets of 15 countries around the world and their findings were not exactly surprising.

Out of the 15 countries across Europe, Asia, the Americas and Australia, it was the UK that was ranked “the worst” for how many self employed people had their pensions sorted out.

Regular readers of this blog will be only too aware about how I’ve reported that many contractors, freelancers, and small business owners are just not educated enough about self employed pensions. Unfortunately, they are going to find out the harsh truth when they get to retirement age.

Looking at the numbers, the team of pension experts were shocked to discover that only 52% of the 4.2 million self employed people in the UK did not have any kind of independent pension. So that is a lot of people that have decided to rely solely on the government State pension, which in my opinion, might not even be around in 20 years time.

Compare this to an average of 36% that did not have a pension across the other 14 countries, and it becomes clear that in the UK we really need to push the message across to every self employed worker out there…

“You need to get your pension sorted…ASAP!”

I’m sure this is what they have been doing in India where only 12% of those surveyed mentioned they had no plan for a retirement pension. So that is 88% who have really got their act together it seems. Well done India. UK take note.

Actually, one of the main reasons why India are so clued up when it comes to the subject of independent pensions for the self employed is because they have no welfare system like here in the UK.

The same can be said for Brazil, China and Turkey as well, where the majority of those surveyed said they were actively saving into a pension.

However, the same can’t be said about countries similar to the UK that also have a welfare system, because France, Spain and Australia only did a bit better than over here, with many clueless about what to do for their retirement.

One thing I do know is that the team of pension experts must have been baffled when roaming the streets of the UK and talking to the self employed people of our nation.

I can imagine the look of bemusement on their face as…

Only 10% of those who have a retirement plan had it written down.

56% said I don’t have any kind of plan.

52% expected to be working past the age of 65.

49% said they plan to rely on the State pension from the government.

My advice on this, if you are self employed and don’t have any kind of plan for retirement and your pension…get it sorted as soon as possible. It really is the only way, because you don’t want to be still working when you are 75, or even 80.

The government are thinking about bringing in some kind of auto enrolment scheme for the self employment, similar to what they have in many companies for employees. Although it might be a while until we see that happen.

For now, you really need to take control of your own situation.

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27% Leave School With No Career Advice According to Study


Just over a quarter of Brits leave Secondary school without any kind of career advice…that is according to a new study of over 2000 adults.

This has led to a whole generation of school leavers who are unsure of the career path that is right for them, with many deciding to stay in higher education rather than joining the workforce.

It might also be part of the explanation why so many people are now joining the ranks of freelancers, gig workers and contractors, because instead of going right into a career, they now take the time to explore different options before finally deciding that working for themselves is the best way forward.

The study also went on to give us some more interesting statistics, such as:

29% of workers are considering a career change soon, with self employment being high on their list of options.

Only 10% of those surveyed believed the career advice they did get in school was impartial, with many having the opinion that teachers and other staff were biased towards certain professions.

30% did know the career they wanted to pursue when leaving school, although many do change their mind after a few years in the workforce…with freelancing and contracting being good alternatives once they become dissatisfied with their boss.

A further 45% mentioned that teachers were often pushy towards getting students to go towards a career that required a university education, despite the fact that university fees have become way more expensive in recent years. This has led some people to wonder if teachers get a commission for recommending this path.

42% also said that parents were supportive of their career path, even if they decided to change course after a few years and go into something else like self employment.

My opinion on all of this is that career advice in schools is going to become less and less relevant, as students decide to educate themselves on what career path to pursue.

Thanks to the internet, it’s now possible to research potential careers and university courses by themselves, rather than having a teacher giving the information.

Also, I think we are going to be seeing more people wait longer until they make a decision about their career.

Years ago, you were expected to know exactly what path to take by the age of 18. These days, people are waiting longer, with many deciding to go travelling and experience the world before making a decision

It’s not uncommon for a 25 year old to still be considering career options, with freelancing, gig working, and contracting being popular options once they do decide to enter the workforce.

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Bank of Ireland to Introduce Mortgages for Contractors


I’ve said it before and I will say it again…getting a mortgage if you are a contractor is tough. Most people who apply are declined, that is the reality.

Fortunately, Bank of Ireland, UK Division, want to change the way self employed people and contracting professionals are seen by the mortgage industry, and that is why they have just announced a new financial service in the marketplace.

This new mortgage service by Bank of Ireland is tailored towards self employed contractors who have been doing business for at least 12 months and have current contracts and bank account statements to verify they are earning an income.

What I have been hearing from industry insiders is that Bank of Ireland will be lending up to 90% LTV, with a minimum contracting income of £50,000 and affordability that is based on 80% of a contractors income. This has yet to be confirmed by the Bank themselves though.

While it is good to see Bank of Ireland getting into the contractor mortgage market, there is still many banks and lenders out there who don’t want anything to do with the self employed. This is despite millions of people in the UK who are now their own boss, and in many cases earn more than people who have a “traditional job.”

Yes, I do understand that mortgage lenders want to reduce their risk and only lend money they are reasonably sure can be paid back, but at the end of the day, contractors, freelancers, and the self employed in general are becoming more and more common, which means I think they have to start standing up and taking notice.

The Bank of Ireland, UK Division, have decided to do it, but how many well known banks and lenders are going follow suit? I think it could be a while until we see big brands offering mortgages to contractors on a regular basis, although at some point they will have to start taking notice as more people check the self employed box when filling in that mortgage application.

My only thought about this new mortgage service from Bank of Ireland is that 12 months trading history might not be enough time to really get a good idea about the suitability of a client.

In my opinion, 5 years is a much better indication of whether or not someone has the right income level for a mortgage or loan.

If you start making mortgage loan decisions based on 12 months worth of income in the contracting world, then we could be taking a step backwards if you ask me…back to the days when getting a mortgage was easy and lenders were approving people like money was going out of fashion.

What we are looking for here is a good balance. Easier for legitimate contractors with a good track record to get a mortgage, but no so easy that anybody with a few months of income can get a mortgage. There needs to be common sense.

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Hammond Does U-Turn on Tax Grab


Just like I reported about last week, the Chancellor Philip Hammond went after the self employed in his budget with a tax grab, and many were outraged!

So much so that it now looks like Mr Hammond has decided to do an amazing U-Turn on his initial plans, in a move that we have never seen before from a UK Chancellor.

In a brief letter that was sent to all Tory MPs (I reported how many back benchers were not impressed by the tax grab plans), the Chancellor said that he would no longer be making Class 4 National Insurance payments more expensive for the self employed.

The right thing has been done of course, but it does raise some questions that need answering.

Firstly, how on Earth did they think doing a tax grab was a good idea in the first place? Just like I said last week, it was another slap in the face for our nations self employed. It’s almost as if many people in the government don’t have a clue.

Secondly, does the Chancellor have no conviction at all in what he is doing? To do a U-Turn so soon after the Budget really has made a lot of people wonder if this guy is even up to the job. The UK could soon become a laughing stock…it probably already is.

I didn’t agree with his decision to do the tax grab (and that does make me question his qualifications for the job), but what really makes me wonder about the Chancellor is the fact he was so quick to give in.

Sure, it’s good that you are willing to listen to other people and take on board feedback, but sometimes you have to stand behind your decisions. I think this was one of those times for Philip Hammond.

Other world leaders will no doubt be looking at this and noting down that the UK are potential easy targets when it comes to the negotiation table.

I’m not saying that Philip Hammond should not have backed down and gone away from his initial plans…but I think he did it way too quickly, and like mentioned before, with no real conviction is what he was doing.

Anyway, it’s good to see that self employed people are not going to be subjected to this tax grab, but in my opinion it really doesn’t change anything.

Contractors, freelancers, gig workers, small business owners…they need to be rewarded for what they do for the economy, especially when you consider that Brexit is just around the corner where the UK will be leaving the European Union.

These are the men and women that the government want on their side, but what are they doing to achieve this? Not a lot if you ask me.

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Tories Say No to Tax Grab on Self Employed


It’s that time of the year again…The Budget with Chancellor Philip Hammond, but some experts are predicting there could be a tax grab on the self employed.

This has led many Tory backbenchers to say enough is enough, and to remind Mr Hammond that constantly going after the hard working contractors and small business owners of this country just isn’t on at all.

One report suggests this years Budget could see National Insurance Payments targeted, with the self employed having to pay 3p in the pound more.

In my opinion this is just a blatant tax grab by Philip Hammond, and is in line with the usual “go after the self employed” tactic when they need to raise some extra money.

How about doing something good for those people who are keeping your economy propped up Mr Hammond? No of course, it’s always tax, tax, and more tax.

Right now 20% of the UK workforce are considered to be self employed, and with Brexit on the horizon these people are going to be more important than ever before.

The last thing the Chancellor wants to be doing is getting them angry…wouldn’t you agree? It’s the same old story though, and I’m sure the 3p change will be announced tomorrow.

It was only a few weeks ago that the Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced in a speech that small businesses, and the self employed in general, are more important than ever before.

Well, it doesn’t seem that Philip Hammond listened to that speech, he was probably too busy working out ways to get every last penny out contractors, freelancers, gig workers…you name it, they are all on his list.

To give you an idea of what this would all mean for the self employed, if you currently make 40,000 pounds a year, then expect an extra 80 pounds on top of what you already pay in tax and National Insurance.

Surely, the government should be looking at ways to encourage people to start out in business and begin working for themselves, and not trying to grab every last penny they can? I don’t think this has even occurred to them.

So now we are in a position where everybody will have to wait until tomorrow to find out exactly what the budget holds for self employed people. Who knows, maybe the Chancellor won’t move forward with this tax grab? Something tells me he will though.

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Contractors Spend 20 Days a Year Chasing Late Payments


According to IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and Self Employed, if you work for yourself then you spend 20 days a year trying to get paid.

It’s bizarre if you ask me…when you consider how easy it is now for companies to pay contractors for their services with options like Paypal and bank transfer, I just can’t work out why so many self employed people are having problems getting the money they deserve.

Apparently, it’s mostly big companies that are not paying out, which doesn’t surprise me one bit, because if there is one thing we all know it is that some of these multi national companies can be a real hassle to deal with.

Everyone you speak to just wants to send you to another department, constantly trying to pass the blame. Maybe you can relate to that one if you’ve ever done some contracting work for a big company before? You couldn’t make it up how difficult they are to deal with at times.

The research by IPSE also went to point out that this 20 days a year we all spend chasing up payments equals about £16.5 billion in lost income. This is just plain madness and something really needs to be done about it…pronto.

Well, we might be seeing action taken soon enough, because it appears that people in high places have been taking notice of how big companies are treating the self employed, and if things go to plan then late payment could soon be a thing of the past.

Just imagine how much more cash you could make if you didn’t have to spend 20 days of your year chasing up companies that make billions, but can’t to seem to pay you what they owe? If the small business minister, Margot James is to be believed, then by April of this year all big companies and Limited Partnerships will have to check in twice a year with information about their payment practices.

In other words, if they don’t pay you, then the government are going to be asking why. One of the numbers that is going to be looked more closely at is the average amount of time it takes to pay invoices, and if it is too long then they can expect a fine.

I’m sure this is going to mean that contractors finally start to get paid quicker for their work, it is just a shame that it had to come to this…don’t you agree? What a sad state of affairs when the government needs to step in and say “pay people for the work they have done.” It’s almost as if these big companies expect people to work for free. Some times I think they do.

Nearly 5 million people are currently self employed in the UK, and with virtually nothing being done right now to ensure they get paid, this new move by the government is much needed.

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Research Shows Self Employed Work 10 Hours Less


If you thought working for an employer was the best option then it’s time to reconsider, as new research shows self employed people work 10 hours less a week.

Not only that, but the research also shows that they make £5000 more per year than the average salary, bringing in £33,000 a year compared to £27,000.

This includes umbrella contractors of course, and it doesn’t surprise me one bit as I’m always hearing stories of people who quit their job to become self employed and are now making more money working for themselves.

These statistics were all taken from the “definite study of the self employed” where 5,010 people in the UK were surveyed. Of those asked, 67% commented they were now better off financially now than when working for a boss, with 65% saying they now have more time to do the activities they want.

I’m sure they do, because when you think about it, if self employed people work 10 hours less a week, then based on a 5 day working week that is an extra 2 hours a day. Who wouldn’t want that? It’s much better to be spending time with family and friends rather than sitting at an office desk or being in traffic on the way home.

It’s also worth noting that many self employed people do work from home, or are at least based from home. This means that the commute is often no longer there, which means the time you save from working for yourself might even be more than 10 hours a week.

So why are more people than ever before starting to look at becoming self employed? When asked in the survey, 77% said they wanted more control of their work day, while 65% said the thought of being their own boss was something they liked.

Interestingly, 47% mentioned that lack of workplace politics was a motivating factor. This is something that I hear a lot, as it seems that many companies are now more like a high school drama than a place of work.

It’s much better to work on your own in my opinion, although this isn’t something that appeals to everyone. Some people would prefer to have the office politics I guess, and if that is your thing then becoming self employed might not be for you.

Although the research does show that self employed people work, on average, 10 hours less a work than people who have a job, don’t forget that it is not always like this at first. When you start working for yourself you might have to work more hours, so make sure you are aware of that.

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Jeremy Corbyn Attacks Umbrella Contractors (Again)


I’m sure that Jeremy Corbyn has attacked contractors before…well he seems to be at it again, with remarks made in a recent speech.

The Labour leader said in a speech at Peterborough that if a Labour Government were elected and he was Prime Minister then the “unscrupulous use of agency labour and bogus self employment” would be abolished.

It appears that Mr Corbyn is jumping on the popular bandwagon of insinuating that umbrella contractors and other freelance professionals are in some way “unscrupulous” and “bogus,” and just a way for big companies to hire workers without having to give them the benefits that employees enjoy.

What Jeremy Corbyn and many others don’t seems to understand, or maybe just don’t want to understand, is that we are in the middle of a revolution right now where people are demanding more control and freedom over the way they work.

In other words, for many people, becoming a contractor or starting a freelance business is the perfect way to use their skills to make money, while at the same time having the control to get more free time and achieve a good work-life balance.

Having Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister anytime soon probably isn’t going to happen, so most umbrella contractors can ignore this recent speech and just get on with business.

However, that’s not to say this should be ignored altogether because there has been more reports of people taking companies to court in the employee vs contractor debate, with some of them winning.

Of course, there are instances out there where employees do need more rights and even having politicians such as Mr Corbyn speaking about their situation, it’s just that most of the reports I’m reading have nothing to do with this type of thing at all.

Take the Uber situation as an example, where drivers are hired on a freelance basis which is made plainly clear right at the start. If you don’t want to accept this then don’t go any further and don’t apply to become a driver. It really is as simple as that.

That’s why it is beyond me why some drivers are taking Uber to court (and sometimes winning). It just doesn’t make any sense.

Compare that to a situation where someone is offered a permanent full-time job with guaranteed hours and a pension, only to then have those things taken away from them.

This is the type of situation Jeremy Corbyn should be talking about instead of attacking umbrella contractors and an industry who really doesn’t want his attention or support.

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50% of UK Contractors are too Busy to Exercise


While being self employed no doubt gives you more freedom, it seems that half of UK contractors can’t find the time to hit their local gym.

This survey was conducted with the aim of discovering just exactly how self employed people are spending their time, and although it’s encouraging that at least 50% are doing some form of exercise on a regular basis, it’s no doubt a cause for concern that so many people are still not getting active.

The exact figure was 46% that didn’t exercise according to the survey, with 48% of women claiming they struggled to find the time, while 43% of men said the same.

In my opinion I think that just about everybody out there would benefit from doing some form of regular exercise, even if it’s just an hour or two on the exercise bike every week.

I think there is a big misconception that you need to spend a lot of money on joining a fancy gym and then start working out for 2 hours every day.

Sure, there are some people who enjoy doing that, and if you really get into the fitness lifestyle then it can be enjoyable, but for the vast majority of the population even a small amount of effort will do them good.

This comes at a time when we are facing more obesity in the UK than ever before, and one of the main reasons for this is simply because people are not getting enough activity.

Many contractors, and self employed people in general, often spend most of their day sitting at a desk, and then at the end of a working day go to sit on the couch and watch some TV.

I’m not going to say it’s easy to start exercising on a regular basis, because once you get into a routine then you typically want to keep on following it, even when logically you realise something needs to change.

What you must understand is that small changes should be the main focus at first. For example, just go for 1 exercise session a week, and then determine you are going to stick with it. After a while you can then move up to more sessions, but for now the main priority is to start making a change.

This all assumes that you actually want to make a change of course. For some people, maybe they just don’t want to exercise on a regular basis, at the of the day it’s all about what you want to do.

However, if you are part of the 50% of contractors that don’t currently exercise but you either want to or need to, then my advise is just get started, even if it’s just a minimal amount of effort at first. The most important thing is you take action and be consistent.

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Some Contractors Looking Forward to Digital Tax


If you are an umbrella contracting professional then you are no doubt aware that income tax is about to change…by going digital.

More specifically, we are now going to see a new system implemented where you will file your tax returns online quarterly.

Since this was announced most people in the contractor community have been against the idea, but there are some contractors that seem to be looking forward to the new digital way of doing things.

The main problem with the system is that doing a tax return 4 times a year is simply too much, and for many self employed people it will take them away from their business for many valuable hours that could be better spent elsewhere.

I’m always willing to listen to other opinions though, and while it appears that many out there who are against it, there are some that are actually looking forward to digital tax.

Why you might be wondering? One of the main reasons that I’ve been hearing is that by doing a tax return 4 times a year it’s much easier to keep track of all your legitimate expenses and then claim for them.

For example, a recent survey showed that over 50% of contracting professionals don’t typically put down low value costs on their tax return.

However, now that they have to do it 4 times a year, this might just be the excuse they need to start recording everything, which ultimately means they will end up paying less tax.

Another reason why the new digital tax system might be good for your business? Let’s face it, there are many people out there who rush around at the same time every year trying to get their tax returns in by the deadline.

It’s similar to how people leave their Christmas shopping right to the last minute, and then go out on Christmas Eve at 5pm in a mad dash to find whatever they can.

Imagine if we had Christmas 4 times a year though…don’t you think that would make people more organised when it comes to shopping for presents? I think it would, and the same argument can be made about doing tax returns. The more you do it, the better and more efficient you become.

Still not convinced? Same here, but if you need another excuse to like the new digital tax era then how about this…it gives you a reason to finally get rid of that useless accountant that gets everything wrong each year, and instead, start searching for an accountant that specialises in doing tax returns for umbrella contractors.

Make sure you choose a good one, because you are going to need them 4 times a year now rather than just the once.

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Theresa May Advisor Criticises the Gig Economy


We all know the gig economy is becoming popular among contractors. However, a key advisor to the prime minister doesn’t like it at all.

Matthew Taylor, who is currently the future of work advisor to Theresa May has gone on record to say that the current gig economy is going to cost the government billions of pounds over the next few years, mainly because it means contractors and self employed people in general will be paying around £2000 less in tax a year.

How has he come up with this figure you might be wondering? It all comes down to companies such as Deliveroo and Uber, where many of the freelance contractors who work for these companies pay, on average, less tax than someone who is employed and earns the same amount of money per year.

This is no doubt why people, including many in the government, are questioning the employment status of workers in the gig economy, and saying that many times someone who is self employed should actually be employed.

Well, if they pay more tax then of course you are going to say that, as it means more money for the government.

If there is one thing the government doesn’t like it is losing out on money, and that is why I think we are going to be hearing more about the gig economy and the worker status of contractors and self employed.

We’ve already seen how the taxi app Uber have come under scrutiny recently, most notably where a judge decided that some of the freelance contractors working for them should be classified as employees instead.

Recent figures show that Uber now have 40,000 self employed drivers in the UK, but it makes you wonder how long they are going to remain this way.

I’m sure if Matthew Taylor or other people in the government have anything to do with it then it won’t be long until we see the vast majority, or even all of the drivers become employees, even if this isn’t what the drivers themselves want.

Interestingly, this is coming at a time when many well known retailers and companies are now starting to adopt the Uber style self employment model. Are they wasting their time though? Especially when so many people in power seem to want an end to this kind of gig economy.

Who knows, if it turns out that most people want to become a freelance contractor in a gig economy instead of an employee and they make their voice heard, then surely the government will have to stand up and take notice.

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Minimum of £67,000 Would get Contractors to Quit


What would it get you to quit the contracting lifestyle and back into employment? A new survey found that an offer of at least £67,000 a year would do it.

For many people though, not even an offer of two or three times that amount would get them to give up on being their own boss and going to work for someone else.

When you consider that the average salary in the UK is £27,000, it just goes to show you that contractors really enjoy what they do, and it isn’t just about the money.

There are many contracting professionals that earn more than £67k a year of course, such as the ex Google employee who gave up a cushy 6 figure salary to start working for himself…and now he makes more and has more free time.

I think that is what it all comes down to at the end of the day…having more free time and doing what you want and when you want.

People that are employed and working in an office all day can’t do that, but when your office is your kitchen table and you don’t have to get out of bed until 9am, then for most self employed people even £67,000 wouldn’t be enough to get them to start commuting to work again every day.

It’s what I keep telling people all the time…most contractors really value their time and doing the things they enjoy like going to the being with family, gym, sports, travel, and hobbies. When you are self employed then you set your work around these kind of activities, rather than the other way round.

In a different survey where employed people were surveyed, 42% said they would like to start their own business or become a contracting professional within the next 5 years. This doesn’t surprise me at all, and it just goes to show how the dream of becoming your own boss is now becoming a reality for millions of UK residents.

Some experts are even saying that 50% of the UK workforce will be self employed within 10 years. You know, I think that is a bit optimistic, but the fact is that more people than ever before are deciding to go it alone…whether it be as a contractor, freelancer, gig worker or by starting a business, so I could certainly imagine a time where half of the workers are self employed.

For now though, to those of you who are self employed enjoy your more free time and less hours working, but if you did receive an offer for £67,000 tomorrow then it would certainly be a nice choice to have, although for the majority of you I think I know what the answer would be.

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