Solo a mano

I have no idea what that technically translates as, but it might be construed as rude. 🙂

Anyway, today, I’m officially self-employed, having left my previous job with no savings, almost £4 over my small overdraft limit, no work-related social life to miss, and no workplace relationships. I’ve never gained a holiday through working, or earned enough to buy a house, never started any big credit purchases… so it makes me wonder, what the fuss was all about?

Here’s my circumstances. I’m a single parent of a 12-year old who schools at home. I do that, so I’m her unpaid tutor. I pay for all the books, all the trips, all the projects, and all the internet she hoovers up with her global blogging phenomenon.

She was bullied at school, has no friends, and might be diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s on the wait-and-see list. We both have counselling, which is free on the NHS.

In the meantime, I write novels or do illustrations, or design covers, whenever I’m sitting down trying to watch TV. My laptop gets in the way of the TV, and sometimes she talks me through the finer points of CSI or NCIS. I’ll get paid my tiny royalties for any that sell on Amazon some day, or when pigs fly – whichever happens first.

I’ve also taught individuals blogging and tweeting, and shared info on self-publishing for cups of tea and laughs.

If I call the Jobcentre and ask for money to live on though, I have to be available for and actively seeking work. Which I’m not – I can’t go out and leave DS10 alone to form her own anonymous internet review empire instead of doing schoolwork. So I have to work from home around what constitutes schoolwork.

So I’m not eligible for those benefits as an individual, which in fact makes it easier to get on with working. No worries about what status to declare, or justifying all the books I’ve written. The only worry is what we’re going to live on until I start making any profit from writing and tutoring people, both big and small.

Being self-employed is straightforward. If you earn less than £5000 p/a, you can apply to be exempt from National Insurance contributions. You can still get help with Housing Benefit and Council Tax by giving your income details, and also get Working Tax Credits. You can do your own accounts, unless you become very successful and require the help of an accountant, particularly if you become so successful that you need to delegate and employ other people.

You deduct your outgoings the same as running any other business. It’s amazing what it costs to work for yourself. Last time I was self-employed, as nightclub security. I kept having to deduct figures from my income to replace my watches. Comes from buying cheap ones to start with, but every time one gets smashed, full of blood, or disappears, they need to be replaced – and away from that job, I never wore one. So it was a uniform expense.

So anyway, I really am starting from scratch financially. But there’s a lot of freedom in that which I’ve gained. Freedom to work, freedom to study, freedom to teach, and freedom to parent with responsibility.

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