Tag Archives: change

Life After Redundancy

25 Nov

Life After Redundancy

Redundancy.  A scary word whatever point of life you are at.  Gone are the days of having a “job for life”.  But redundancy doesn’t have to be seen as a negative thing, it could be the opportunity you need to follow your dreams.  It might be a chance to go travelling, to move house, to find a new job in a different industry, or you might even want to start up your own business.  With the growth of the Internet and social media, it is becoming easier for anyone to start a business and market to customers near and far.

Here are three stories of people who were made redundant and started their own businesses.

  • Jayden had been working as a Facilities Manager for several years when he found out that he would be made redundant. Rather than let it get him down, he used his redundancy payout to set up a shop, selling vintage furniture and other items, many of which he upcycles himself.

“Redundancy has turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. Without it I would never have taken the leap and followed my dream to have my own shop.”

The Bloody Chic Of It, Teignmouth http://www.facebook.com/TheBloodyChicOfIt

  • Vicci graduated with a degree in Graphic Design, but found employment outside of the industry.  It was only ever meant to be an interim role, but seven years later she was still there.  Then came the news that she would be made redundant.  Once she got over the initial blow, she realised this was her chance to follow her dreams.  She set up her own greetings card company, with shops on Etsy and Folksy, and a page on Facebook.

“It’s been a roller-coaster and I can honestly say I’ve never worked so hard BUT it’s all for me, for the future and for my dreams. It’s certainly not easy but every sale and every happy customer makes it all worthwhile.  My redundancy was a blessing in disguise, it gave me the opportunity (and funds) to start something amazing and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to just go for it! If you don’t try, you’ll never know and may always be asking yourself ‘what if?’”

Simply Lovely, Cumbria www.justsimplylovely.co.uk

  • Ganga was working for ChildLine SouthWest in an admin role when pregnant with her first child. Two months after her birth the branch was closed down due to government cuts and all staff were made redundant.

“I had not been working there long enough to qualify for redundancy pay, so when my maternity leave was over I had to sign on to Job Seekers Allowance.  However this turned out to be a real blessing as it enabled me to access the New Enterprise Allowance scheme which has helped me start my own business.  I am doing freelance admin, which I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and it allows me to be at home with my daughter watching her grow up – something that probably wouldn’t have happened had I not been made redundant as I would have felt financially obliged to return to work.”

Eclipse Admin Services www.facebook.com/EclipseAdminServices

For more information:

If you are made redundant you can get information about your rights under the Employment Rights Act 1966 from:

• The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) on 08457 47 47 47 or go to http://www.acas.co.uk

• Citizens Advice http://www.adviceguide.org.uk

• Department for Business, Innovation & Skills at http://www.berr.gov.uk/ or their helpline number 020 7215 5000

• Insolvency Service Redundancy Payments Office if your employer is insolvent or has not paid you a redundancy payment. Phone 0845 145 0004 or go to http://www.insolvency.gov.uk

• Trade Union Congress (TUC) at www.tuc.org.uk

Source: hmrc.gov.uk

Are you at risk of redundancy?  How can you make the most of your opportunity?  If you are considering starting your own business, check out Opportunity Plus UK’s great range of Business Start Up courses.  www.opportunityplus.org.uk 

Tax Credits

2 Sep

Do you qualify for Tax Credits?  They have proved to be a lifeline for so many of us, and are especially useful for the early stages of self employment.  If you have been claiming Job Seekers Allowance, and decide to start your own business for 16 hours or more a week, you may qualify for Working Tax Credits, which could bring in roughly the same amount of money that you were previously receiving on JSA.  This can take a lot of the risk out of becoming self employed, as you still have some regular income to rely on, meaning that you can afford to invest your business income back into your business.

To receive Working Tax Credits, you usually need to work at least 16 hours a week (employed or self employed), and have a low income (this includes your partner’s income too).  You don’t need to have children to qualify.

The easiest way to find out how much you could get, is to use this simple calculator.  You will need to have a rough idea of your income for the previous tax year, and an estimate for this year if you think it will be very different (for example if you have been on maternity leave, or have been made redundant or started a new job).  You can also try out different scenarios, for example based on you working different numbers of hours, or using more or less childcare.

To make a claim, simply call 0345 300 3900.

For more information, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website, gov.uk, or the HMRC website.

Adapting to Change: Seashore Ceramics

24 Sep

A couple of years ago I was wondering what to get for a good friend’s baby’s christening and first birthday.  She was having a tea party, so I decided that I should paint her a personalised teapot.  Moments after deciding this I walked past a closed shop, with a notice in the window “Pottery Painting Studio opening soon”.  Fate was on my side that day!  The lovely Seashore Ceramics opened a couple of weeks later.  Unfortunately they have had to come to the difficult decision to close the shop now, so this is a story all about adapting to change.

On leaving university, I went straight into a career in publishing and marketing, working for companies such as Reader’s Digest in London. However, the industry is going through a huge time of change at the moment, with an increasing amount of restructures, buy-outs and redundancies happening. On moving back to Devon both me and my husband had taken office jobs but really felt like it was time to make a change and become our own bosses.

I had always joked to friends that one day I would set up a pottery painting cafe because I’d enjoyed doing it on friends hen parties so much, and I decided to make that dream a reality. We searched for a suitable location and decided on Teignmouth as having a busy tourist trade and not being too far a drive from our home, plus not being too close to any similar businesses. We found a retail premises which we did up from scratch – I was pregnant at the time and stripping wallpaper up a high ladder with morning sickness was an interesting experience! We also got training in how to glaze and fire the pottery from our suppliers and spent many evenings running profit and loss forecasts, working out who was best to buy our stock from, and developing our website and branding. It was so much fun putting all the knowledge I had learnt in my previous time in marketing into my own business!

The shop opened in April 2011, to a warm reception from the lovely Teignmouth locals. We quickly discovered that the business was more dependent on the school holidays than we had hoped, but gradually things built to a lovely busy summer season. We worked hard to build a local customer base by doing events at local school fetes, preschools etc and our regular customers soon became friends too – one of my favourite parts of the business! However the winter season was extremely quiet in Teignmouth and we did begin to wonder if it was the best location for us, so decided to stay one more summer and then re-assess our plans. Our baby daughter also arrived in the winter and the reality of running a shop-based business soon hit home – amazing in some respects, that we could bring her in with us every day and she has met so many lovely people, but also very hard work in others (for example trying to get a teething baby to nap in a busy shop!)

Summer 2012 was still nice and busy but we really found ourselves affected by the weather, and another business which had opened up in Teignmouth also offering pottery painting. As petrol costs went up and up the cost of commuting from Bovey Tracey to Teignmouth every day also became a major factor. So with a heavy heart we decided not to renew the lease in September.

However, the story doesn’t end there! Over the last year or so we have begun the makings of a mobile business with the sessions we have been doing in schools, preschools and for Brownies, Guides, etc, so we will be continuing build that over the next few months. One of the best things about having the shop has been that we have both discovered a love for making our own ceramic artwork and will be selling this at craft fairs on a regular basis in future. I also discovered a slightly geekier interest in bookkeeping and am hoping to do a course in this as soon as childcare for my daughter allows. We have kept our kiln and pottery stock so will be running ‘pop-up’ sessions in local village halls in the school holidays, and will be keeping our ear to the ground to hopefully find a great new location for next summer, hopefully nearer to where we live.

The main thing I have learnt from being self employed is adapt, adapt, adapt! It’s very hard to do so when a business, especially a shop, becomes your ‘baby’, but I feel really positive about the opportunities the future holds for our business. If anyone is interested in booking us for a mobile session, please contact us on 0776 474 4569, info@seashoreceramics.co.uk, or through our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/seashoreceramics




Welfare Reform

1 Aug

Last week I attended a meeting on Welfare Reform.  Although there is still much to be decided and actual rates have not yet been set, it was good to get an update on the plans for the not-so-distant future.  Everything should be a lot simpler when the Universal Credit comes into play – if you have a change in your circumstances there is just one place to get in touch with, and rather than waiting on hold for hours you will actually be able to update your own information online.  The other really great thing is that it will take away the risk of taking on short-term employment or having an income which isn’t the same each week or month – you (and even your employer) can update your income monthly and your benefits will change accordingly, avoiding over- or under-payments of benefits.

If you’re not sure what benefits you are entitled to, or want to see what you could be entitled to if you start work or self employment, take a look at the Benefits Adviser Service.