Becoming self-employed


Why self-employment?

If you are considering self-employment, it is important you take into consideration a number of factors before deciding to go down this road.

Being your own boss can be rewarding and self-fulfilling. However, starting up and running a business is risky and is not for everyone.

Before you start your business, you should know all the steps involved. Look at the HM Revenues & Custom e-learning package to make sure you know what self-employment would mean for you.

Then, look at what services in Brent can help you, find legal advice, find an accountant and the best authorised insurer for you


Claiming benefits

When you become self-employed, you need to make sure that you report changes to your circumstances and income to both the Department for Work and Pensions (through Jobcentre Plus) and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). You might still receive welfare benefits to top up your income.

Generally, you might be eligible for benefits and tax credits for people in work.

In addition, you might benefit from support aimed specifically at people who intend to be self-employed. If you are thinking of moving from benefits into self employment Jobcentre Plus (JCP) may be able to help you financially.

Make sure you speak to your JCP adviser as soon as possible to take advantage of this support.

It's important to let these departments know about any changes right away so that they can work out the benefits that you are entitled to claim, and to avoid overpayment of the previous benefits that you were eligible for as unemployed.

You can also get guidance on how to work out your hours and earnings, as they might fluctuate, particularly from experienced advisers at the Brent Citizens Advice Bureau

Rights and duties

Your rights and duties

If you consider becoming self-employed - by offering your services in return of payment, as a freelancer, or as a consultant (or a "sole trader" according to HMRC) - you need to understand both the rights and responsibilities you have. 

Your obligations include:

Look at the HMRC summary of obligations for further information.

Your entitlements include:

If you have difficulty in deciding if you are employed or self-employed, please check on the HMRC website. It is important to remember that a self-employed person in one job might also simultaneously be employed in another job. Some of the responsibilities and rights are different to the ones that employees have.