Tag Archives: self employed

Take the leap into self-employment

23 Jul

You might think that becoming self-employed is not an option in this economy but just look at the facts:

  • Last year 15% of ALL workers in the UK were self-employed.
  • 4.6 million people were self-employed in 2014.
  • 32% of these were women.
  • 43% were aged 50+

The idea of being your own boss is appealing to many, but often people don’t know where to start with the transition to self-employment. Some don’t even realise that their talents or skills can become a new career.

There are two types of business: a service or a product.

Here at Opportunity Plus we have helped many service and product based businesses get started, so we have seen a range of ideas. Cleaning, dog-walking and tradesman are some of the most common services we encounter and cards, jewellery and photographic prints are amongst the products.

With the right knowledge and guidance you too can join the many others who have used their skill or hobby to generate an income.

Once you’ve established what you’ve got to offer, you need to start asking yourself some questions about your possible business.

  • Who’s going to buy it?
  • Why will they buy it?
  • How am I going to sell it?
  • Where will I trade?

Starting a business takes a lot more planning and research than you may at first think, but it’s worth it in the end!

Answering these questions is the very first steps to planning your new career and if you want help developing this and moving through the next stages until you’re ready to trade then get in contact with us and see how we can help you, whether that’s face to face or virtually.

Telephone 0800 043 2440 or email info@opsw.co.uk

What are employers really asking?

15 May

We’ve all had those moments in interviews where we are asked a question but we just can’t figure out what it means. Often interviewers will ask questions in a cryptic way, when what they’re really asking is something much simpler.

We’ve put together a quiz to see if you can work out what is meant by some of the most common interview questions!

Take our quiz below- 

Did you make it on to the leader board?  Keep an eye out for our tips and advice on answering these questions coming soon!

OPSW Enterprise

2 Apr

“When you find an idea that you just can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably a good one to pursue.” – Josh James, Omniture CEO

Did You Know?

  • The South West ranks 2nd for the highest amount of self-employed workers.
  • 57,000 people in Devon are self-employed.
  • Nearly two-thirds of small business owners have no business or management experience.

Registering as a sole trader

Many of our customers ask how to register as a sole trader once they have decided to take the plunge and start their business.  This is done online here.  HMRC have a range of useful “webinars” available to teach you about a range of topics to do with tax, national insurance and Self Assessment.  You can even watch them live and ask questions.

Business Insurance

When you start trading, you will usually need some sort of business insurance, and if you are working from home or using your car, your house and car insurance may be affected too.  Simply Business is a good place to start, to find out exactly what insurance you will need and how much it will cost you. Call them on 0845 071 0270.

Start Your Own Business

We now run a range of Accredited Start Your Own Business courses at Level 1 and 2.  Visit www.opportunityplus.org.uk or call 0800 043 2440 for more information.

Case Study

Carole started a cupcake business, which she ran for four years on a mobile basis.  Following the success of the mobile business, she decided to open a cake shop in her home town of Teignmouth, allowing customers to see and sample her cakes.  She still caters for weddings and other events too.  Find out more at www.carolescupcakes.moonfruit.com

2 catercarole


Newly Self Employed

16 Sep

One of our most popular services for customers starting their own businesses, is HMRC’s Newly Self Employed course.  The course covers everything your need to know about registering your business, tax and National Insurance and is run by HMRC themselves, giving you the opportunity to ask questions that are specific to your business needs.  We run these on a regular basis in Totnes and Newton Abbot, please call us on 0800 043 2440 if you would like to come along to the next course.

If you are not able to attend one of these courses, or if you need to double check some information after attending a course, HMRC have a fantastic range of webinars (videos)  available on their website.  These are first released as a LIVE webinar, you need to register in advance for these, and you can watch and interact with the webinar, enabling you to ask questions.  They are also recorded and available for viewing at any time, though with a pre-recorded webinar you will not be able to get instant answers to your questions.

Some examples of the topics that are covered are:

Self-employment and HMRC – what you need to know

How to complete your first online Tax Return

National Insurance for the self-employed

A Facebook Start Up Success

17 Dec

Effie Moss spent this summer perfecting the design for a teepee hideaway to make for her two year old daughter.  Her daughter loved her teepee so much that Effie decided to start a business making teepees for other children.  She set a Facebook page in October, offering a free teepee to one of her likers when she reached 1000.  She got to 3000 likes in just 18 days, two months on she has over 6000 likes and business is booming.  If you want to start a successful Facebook page, trying sharing your page and products on other pages such as The Supermums Craft Fair, Hike Those Likes, and I Run a Small Business, and of course Opportunity Plus South West, as well as any local business pages (such as the Devon Small Business Page) or pages relevant to your industry.

What does Just for Tiny People do?

Just For Tiny People creates unique, handmade magical hideaways for tiny people. Our main products are our teepees and our childrens dens. Lots of fun and perfect for a big imagination.

How did you get started?

During the summer I decided to make a teepee for my little girl. I spent 8 weeks perfecting the design, scrapping fabric and making an awful lot of mistakes. The final result was a perfect magical teepee.

How do you market your business?

Just For Tiny People will be launching our new website in the new year, in the meantime I use facebook (@Justfortinypeople) and twitter (@justfortinypeop) as my main mediums.

Have you got any tips for someone starting a Facebook page?

A Facebook page requires a lot of time to network and build relationships, likes will come in peaks and troughs as will sales. It is always a good idea to indicate your contact details in the about section and post content that invokes thought and conversation from your followers. Your facebook page is your virtual shop front – it takes an awful lot of work, but well worth it.

What is the best thing about self employment?

The  huge sense of pride when you put a smile on the face of your customer.

What is hard about running your own business?

Trying to juggle everything. You are a one man band who is a product manufacturer, designer, accountant, social media expert, website content writer .. there sometimes aren’t enough hours in the day.. but I wouldn’t change it for the world 🙂:)

Find Effie’s magical hideaways on Facebook and Twitter.

Ten Tips for Working from Home

10 Dec

Working from home is a dream shared by many – the thought of that extra time in bed, no road rage, no waiting for the bus – it’s easy to see why!  With the growth of the Internet it is becoming easier to work from home at least some of the time.  But it’s not always everything it’s cracked up to be – whilst you might at first love the idea of extra time with your family, it can be hard to concentrate and achieve what you need to with children around.  Here are my Top Ten Tips for making working from home work for you.

1 – Create a workspace for yourself.  It doesn’t have to be an office, it might just be your kitchen table.  Get everything you need ready and remove anything that’s not work related.  If you’ve got family members at home, make sure they know that this is your work area and they shouldn’t disturb you there.

2 – Get dressed as if you were going to the office.  Working in your pyjamas might sound like a dream come true, but it can be hard to get into the right mindset when you’re not dressed the part.

3 – Set aside proper time for work – don’t just squeeze in what you can when your baby is taking a nap – set yourself proper hours and stick to them.  Make sure your family know your hours too and don’t disturb you when you are in work mode.

4 – Wash up before you start.  Whether you’re working from your kitchen table or an office two floors away, when you’re struggling with your work, housework can suddenly look like a very attractive prospect!

5 – Take a lunch break.  Set a proper time for your lunch break and use the time to relax and switch off from work.  Try to get out for a walk if you can.

6 – See people!  Working from home can get lonely so arrange to meet a friend for a coffee, go for a networking meeting, or go and meet a client as often as you can.

7 – Choose your hours to suit you and your customers.  If you know you work best in the morning, get up early, work, and then enjoy your free time in the early evening.  If you struggle to get up, start later and enjoy that lie in!  But remember that you need to make sure that your hours fit with your customers’ needs.

8 – Be organised.  Keep a To Do list and take great pleasure in crossing things off it when they’re done!

9 – Set yourself targets and reward yourself when you meet them.  It might just be treating yourself to a biscuit once you’ve sent that tricky email, or it could be buying that jumper you’ve had your eye on for ages after you’ve made a big sale.

10 – Make the most of working from home!  Remind yourself why it appealed to you in the first place and make sure you are still getting that benefit.  So if you wanted more time with your family, make sure you are spending that time with your family and not just working longer hours.  If you wanted lie ins, don’t start work before ten unless you have to.  If you wanted to save on travel costs then make sure you’re not spending the same money driving around visiting customers all the time.

If you’d like some support creating your own flexible business opportunity that allows you to work from home, call us on 0800 043 2440.