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4 Tips for Working as a Successful Sole Trader

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by Startacus Admin

Working as a sole trader can be a challenge (to say the least) but it can also be extremely rewarding and profitable... if you do it right, that is!

As we have discussed before, there are a multitude confusing aspects of being a sole trader- many of which can get in the way of your actual work.

Here are the three top tips for sole traders, which should help make life a little bit easier, and your working time a bit more productive.

4 tips for working as a sole trader

Work on your time management

Being able to manage your time effectively is crucial to being successful as a sole trader. With so many different aspects of running a business to manage and organise, being able to look after your time precisely, and having the ability to plan ahead are crucial. Make plans which are timed meticulously and learn how to become stricter with yourself when sticking to these. Make a determined effort to cut all ‘dead time’ from your work day- a good way to do this is to be armed with your laptop wherever you go, in case you find yourself twiddling your thumbs instead of getting on with whatever it is you have to do.  This is an especially useful tip when using public transport, when you should be working rather than staring out the window.

Research the law

The area where you’re most likely to get caught out as a sole trader is if you’re not operating within the law. There are many regulations which specifically refer to sole traders but the good news is that these are usually much less complex and more manageable than those placed upon larger business.  

It might take up some of your valuable time now, but ensuring that everything you do is completely above board protects you, the work that you do, and could save you a huge amount of time, expense, and worry in the future. One thing that is particularly important to remember is that you are responsible for properly filing your tax returns each year and if your turnover exceeds £73,000 you must register for VAT.  Some people do not feel confident in their ability to carry out this kind of administrative task, so if you wish it can be completed by a third party accountancy specialist like Just Accountant.

4 tips for working as a sole trader

Give Yourself a Real Workday

If you have ever worked remotely or from your own home, you will be well aware of the difficulties which can arise when trying to maintain productivity.  The world is full of distractions, and when you are your own boss, it can be very easy to give in to these and end up wasting your entire day.  The way to counter this is to make your sole trader workday resemble that of the average worker as much as is possible.  This could include things like a ‘clocking-in time’, predetermined breaks, taking a walk at lunchtime and so forth.  Some people find it very useful to create a ‘cut-off’ point, after which you are not permitted to do anything related to work- this gives you the opportunity to get some essential ‘down-time’ and will create a restriction on your work-day which helps to remove procrastination.

If you are working from home, some people also find it useful to create a space which is exclusively reserved for working and free of the distractions which usually come from being in your own home.  

Shop around for a good insurance policy

This is about creating peace of mind when working as a sole trader- proper insurance coverage means that you will be able to go about your work activities unhindered by the worry of what might happen should something go wrong.

Finding a decent business insurance policy is vital. Consider what exactly you need to be covered for and then think about any extra additional things you may need to add to your policy to make sure it’s as comprehensive as possible. There are lots of great business insurance policies out there so shop around until you find the right one for you.

We have a rather useful guide to the types of insurance available and some of the things you need to consider when deciding what insurance policy you need. 

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Published on: 3rd May 2016

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