Sole traders benefit from better relationships

Monday 9 June 2014

Becoming a sole trader could help with your relationships, according to new research.

A study from Huckletree, a workspace provider, showed that 43 per cent of those that work from home have improved relationships with their partner or spouse.

Fifty-five per cent enjoy a healthier work/life balance, while 22.8 per cent are thankful for more time in bed.

What's more, 35 per cent enjoy avoiding office politics and 25 per cent appreciate being able to be there for their children.

However, the survey of 4,000 solo workers and entrepreneurs showed that loneliness can be a problem for the self-employed.

Indeed, 38 per cent said working from home made them feel lonely and 48 per cent stated that they would appreciate other people around to bounce ideas off.

Gabriela Hersham, owner of Huckletree, said: "The research still showed that even those who did find their lives had improved because of the autonomy of being a free agent still had a big colleague-shaped hole in their lives.

"When you're working on your own all day, it's very easy to feel lonely. Perhaps the solution is to find a way of extricating the best bits of being employed, like having colleagues to bounce ideas off, from the worse bits, such as office politics and not having control over how you work."

Of course, for contractors and those that go in and work with businesses, feelings of loneliness can be abated somewhat.

Sole traders can also get involved in industry and networking events to build a pool of like-minded acquaintances to talk shop with.

This can go some way to making the experience of being self-employed more balanced.

Nonetheless, the survey of 4,000 sole traders and entrepreneurs showed that it is often the little things that make all the difference.

Thirteen per cent said they benefitted from having the TV or radio on, 23 per cent enjoy being able to 'chill out' sometimes and 14 per cent are happy with being able to eat/drink/smoke whenever they like.

It is perhaps unsurprising that more and more people are choosing to become self-employed. However, there are several things that people need to consider before deciding to become a sole trader.

These include legal, profits and tax. For instance, compared to a limited company, you take home less net pay from an equivalent turnover. What's more, as a sole trader you are legally responsible for any losses the business makes. This means it is crucial to keep on top of finances and record all sales and spending.

When you become a sole trader, you must register with HM Revenue and Customs. If this is done after October 5th, you will be part of the second tax year and could be charged a penalty.

In terms of tax, a self-assessment tax return has to be filed with HM Revenue and Customs each year. VAT has to be paid if the business has a profit larger than £79,000 a year. What's more, income tax is payable on all profits and National Insurance Contributions are required.

By Victoria McDonnell

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