SIDE HUSTLE: 9 Key Steps To Becoming Self Employed


So, you want to become self employed, huh?

The first thing I need to say is that is is VERY different to working as an employee for someone else’s business: you become the CEO, the head of marketing, the IT guy, the accountant - and everything else that’s required to get you to where you want to be. So, needless to say… many skills are required.

This is why, before handing in your notice and thinking about what life ‘could be,’ it is important to run through the following steps in order to decide if it really is a path you want to take. And if it is, being certain that now is the right time to take the leap.


1. Look at your schedule: Do you REALLY have time and the mental capacity for this? If you are a final year medic who is already extremely stressed due to the pressure and the exams etc, putting more pressure on yourself is NOT going to do anything for you! Remember, mental health is so incredibly important. If you’re not in a good place, you won’t be able to keep up. End of.


2. CHECK YOUR JOB CONTRACT: Make sure what you are starting or are keen to start does not conflict with any clauses inside your contract - you don’t want to get in trouble!
3. Here’s the point where many people would say… do you know what you want to do? You may know that you want to do something… but what?!

...So here is where I want to you to ask yourself to find your ‘why’. WHY do you want to work for yourself? Is it because it’s cool to be an entrepreneur? Or is it because you want freedom of time? Or because you want to make an impact in the world? Or maybe just some extra cash so you can buy your mum a christmas present! It is SO important to know why you are doing what you are doing. ...Because then, when the times get tough, you have a reason to keep going. If your reason is not solid and you do not truly believe it in your heart and soul, then it will not be strong enough to pull you through those times.


4. So, now you know why… you need to decide WHAT. This #TicknersTips blog post is in-depth look at how you can start earning money right now. If you aren’t too sure what you want to do, go back and read or listen to it quickly then come back here with a fresh load of ideas. 

Now, do you know what products exactly you are going to be selling? Have you thought about the pricing and how you are going to price yourself compared with competitors? And how are you going to afford the initial costs (if there are any)? How are you going to market your products differently to other brands? These are all questions to be asking yourself!

  1. Okay, so if you know what you’re going to do, here’s what really is make or break:

Put aside 2 hours per day for this project. This 2 hours must be pure focus on the project. No checking Instagram, no calling your friends. This is the time that you are going to be putting into YOUR business. Remember, input = output. When you are self-employed, you are in control of how well you do. Nobody is telling you what to do, so it is so important to be on it at all times.

  1. Part of this 2 hours could be my point 6 which is ensuring all of your social channels are aligned. So, let’s say you are starting a new online store selling hair products. Firstly, you need to make sure the website is looking fresh and aligned with your target audience. There are several ways to easily make a website nowadays, but there may be some monthly costs. You can use the free version of the website provider until you are pulling in money, but honestly I recommend paying to remove the watermarks otherwise it looks cheap. However, I think having just an MVP (minimum viable product) is ok to begin with: I like Shopify the best.
Alternatively, you could start by running your business through Instagram and Facebook… It depends where you feel most comfortable, but when using social platforms for your business, ensure you have sufficient legal framework in place.


 TIPS FOR YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA: Your name and handle (@) on all these social platforms need to align, and so does all the content. Post once per day on each. It’s going to be hard: but remember, if it were easy, everybody would be doing it!


Stay in your job or at University for the time being. It is so important to hedge your bets. Jumping all in on a fleecey jumper business may feel so right, however… you do not know if it will work, or if you will actually enjoy doing it. Through putting in your two hours per day initially, you will get an understanding of whether it is the right thing for you or not. Then, over time, you can see whether your business will be profitable enough for you to quit everything else you are doing.

...You WILL come home from work or University feeling exhausted and like you don’t want to work on it. But remember, that’s why 9/10 startups fail. You are not going to be one of them. You need to use your drive, will and determination to push through and beat the odds. You need energy, drive, and determination. When everything feels like it is going wrong, refer back to your ‘why,’ and push through. People always strive for short term progress, and forget about the long term. However, making it through these tough times and being consistent is going to be what reaps you the rewards in the long term.

Regarding quitting your job: If you have kids or other people depending on you, then I think it is even more important for you to be cautious. However, if you are a 23 year old who has just finished University and still has the option to live with your parents, then go for it.


In the UK, it’s important to register as a sole trader under HMRC within three months of trading. Dependant on your industry, there may also be other laws and regulations which you are required to follow. This is where the responsibility lies on you to ensure you have covered everything you need to, and that you are following all compliance set out by your legislator. Honestly, I cannot emphasise this enough - there would be nothing worse than getting in trouble with the law. So do your homework, and make sure you are abiding by the rules. This is super important, you need to be paying tax! I also recommend starting a separate bank account to put all money in so that it’s easier when it comes to tax returns. Remember, you can also claim things back if you are registered as a sole-trader so I recommend this. I personally don’t know the ins and outs - I am learning and will update you as I learn! The biggest thing that has helped me is creating a spreadsheet of my ‘ins’ (earnings) and ‘outs’ (expenditures). Doing this means that when it comes to the tax year, I am able to send this file to my accountant who

9. My final point is on judgement from others. Often, when doing something a little (or a lot) different to the ‘norm,’ people jump at the chance to criticise you. Not only will they question you, but they will talk about you, and they may even mock you. And as daunting and awful as this may sound, you need to look past it, and keep your head down.
Remember your why.
What other people think of you is irrelevant. You are doing what you dream of doing and that is incredible. If you truly believe that your business endeavour will be worth it, do it. Start small, and start now.