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To help, we’ve put together a run-down of the most common costs you’re likely to encounter as a new start-up. Obviously, this list isn’t comprehensive. But it’ll give you a good idea of what kind of financial outlay you’ll need to get on the road to successful self-employment.


Accountancy Fees
While some people are comfortable sorting their accounts, others prefer to leave it to the professionals. If that sounds like the case for you, then be sure to set some money aside for your tax return.

Accountants’ costs can vary widely, so shop around and seek recommendations from fellow business owners before making a choice. Try our best option tool to identify the most suitable type of accountant for you.

Business cards and stationery
Think business cards are old hat? Think again! Even in this age of social media and cloud sharing, the humble business card still has a place. And the best bit? They only cost a few pounds to get produced — a worthy investment.

If you’re operating in a paperwork-heavy sector (legal professions/accounting) it might also be worth considering some letter-headed stationery. Again, the cost is low, and it’ll give your business that professional look.

Computer and software fees
The world today is dominated by digital tech, so any start-up worth its salt will need at least one computer to operate successfully. In certain sectors, you may need to factor in subscriptions to specialist software, too.

With the above in mind, you’ll want to make sure that you’re investing wisely and at the earliest opportunity. In our experience, it’s simply not worth cutting corners when it comes to sorting your tech requirements.

There is a whole host of options when it comes to getting your business insured. You’ll need to think about public liability insurance if you have business premises, professional indemnity insurance to cover the work you do, and employer’s liability insurance if you take on staff. We’ve covered everything in detail in our beginners guide to business insurance.

Some employers provide health insurance as a perk. If that’s been the case for you (and you used it), then it’s worth checking out how you can carry that over to self-employment. It’s a bit of a luxury, but if it helps to keep you healthy and working, then it’s worth it.

Living costs
At the start of your freelance or contracting journey, you’ll find that your own wellbeing gets pushed to the bottom of your priority list. But that can result in stress, disillusionment, and business failure.

Don’t let that happen. Factor your living expenses into any costings you put together. Making sure you have money to eat and clothe yourself is kind of important, after all.

Office space
One of the biggest costs you’ll encounter as a new start-up is workspace. From desk hire in a co-working space to plumping for your very own office, it’s going to be a big decision, and it’s going to cost money. You could work from home of course, but that depends on your sector and your requirements for meeting space.

To help you weave your way through the world of workspace options, we put together this handy guide.

Phone contract
When setting out your budget, it can be easy to forget about your phone contract. But as we all know too well, your mobile plays a massive part in your working life. With that in mind, it’s best to include a work phone in your financial plan. And remember to try and get a contract with plenty of data. You might need to work from your laptop on the go, and without WiFi you’ll need to tether to your phone to access the internet.

If you intend to take on staff in the early days of your business, then make sure you’ve got something put aside to pay them. Although it might feel counterintuitive to set aside money for staff before you’ve started making cash, you’re obligated to make sure your employees get paid – whether you’re making a profit or not.

Tax – there’s no way around it. As a business, you’ll be responsible for your tax, including quarterly VAT returns if you’re VAT registered and corporation tax if you operate as a limited company. And don’t forget your personal tax return in all cases.

The legal implications of not paying tax are, as you probably know, severe. So always ensure you have enough money saved to pay any tax bills that are likely to arise.

Getting caught up in the entrepreneurial excitement of running your business can often cloud the importance of staying at the top of your game professionally. It’s all well and good to be a whizz at doing your own marketing, but if you’re rusty on what you’re actually getting paid for you will come unstuck.

Put a small percentage of your budget against training and development. It’ll result in you being more inspired and focussed on delivering the best service for your customers. Of all the investments you make as a business owner, this might just be the most important one.

Becoming self-employed is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. But without careful financial planning, the party can be ruined before it’s even started. Be sure to absorb the points above, and make your budget work for you.


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