Guidance for Bloggers & Self-Employed Mums

It is hard enough being a mum, but a thousand times more challenging if you are a mum who is also trying to start their own business or startup! On Muff and teacake I aim to provide guidance for bloggers and self-employed mums who are starting a business, or trying to grow an established one.

I cover everything from social media, tax, marketing and website design to help make those key decisions and action planning just a little bit easier!

I am a freelance writer, blogger and photographer as well as helping my husband build our family photography business. It all calls for an enormous amount of juggling and expertise, and I am happy to pass this on to others!

Top Tips for a New Start-Up Business

These days more and more people are getting into ‘start-ups’, and they are becoming an increasingly popular way for individuals who want to take control of their own financial and employment destiny. As a blogger/writer and photographer I’ve had a lot of experience of start-ups in the last 5 years, and wanted to share with you some practical advice which I’ve certainly benefitted from along the rocky road of business start-ups!

Top Tips for a New Start-Up Business

New Start-Up Business

Start with an Idea

If you’re thinking of starting up a business, you’ll first need to come up with a realistic idea which you can turn into a product or service. As your idea develops you’ll need to research, research, research! Find out who else is doing something similar, and research as much as you can about your potential competitors! How are you going to stand out and be unique?

Get Feedback

You may have an idea for a business or have created something you think people will want to purchase. Once you have identified who your potential customers are, start talking to them about your idea. You need to get as much feedback as you can. Listen to the feedback and adapt your ideas before you launch your business concept.

New Start-Up Business

Write a Business Plan

This needs to clearly show the results of the above feedback and explain in much more detail how you can turn your idea into viable business. You need clear objectives and time frames, and need to plan every aspect of your business from suppliers, to retail outlets and marketing.

Collaborate

Even if you intend to be a ‘sole trader’ and work alone, your business is likely to involve working with others including partners, suppliers and distributors. Source people with relevant skills and knowledge, and don’t feel you need to be an expert at everything.

New Start-Up Business

Working Space

A clear and well-organised working space is essential for helping you stay in control of every aspect of your business. It’s especially important if you are working from home. If home working isn’t a viable option, look to rent some office space once you’re in a financial position to do so. There are lots of online sources such as Instant Offices.

Pallet Racking

It may well be that you want to carry stock. Good advice is to never carry more stock than you need, and to be especially careful when you’re starting a new business, as no-one wants to store or purchase lots of stock which might not sell! If, however, you sell a lot of large items and need fast and efficient storage then look at warehouse storage solutions, where a professional team can set up pallet racking for your business. Pallet racking is the ultimate solution to arrange and re-arrange stock in customised pallets specifically tailored to your business type.

Finances

You need good financial advisers when you are handling complex issues such as finances, tax and business law. Some people like to do their own accounts, but it’s always best to ensure you seek proper advice for tax and other business related issues. It will cost, but this is nothing compared to the piece of mind which comes from knowing your finances are in safe and efficient hands.

Finally, remember that no business owner can be good at everything, but all successful business people have someone close to them who is!

If you have any top tips for starting up a business, I’d love to hear from you!

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Top Tax Tips for Freelance Bloggers

Since I started blogging I’ve had the privilege to meet many other fabulous bloggers who are all carving wonderful careers for themselves as their businesses develop. It isn’t an easy journey as there are many things to consider when becoming self-employed, and one of the most important to get absolutely right is tax!

top-tax-tips-for-bloggers
Be organised!

 

For freelancers in the United Kingdom, the taxation rules are based on two separate categories: capital expenditures and allowable expenses. The first category includes items that are necessary to your work; the second category includes expenses are relevant to maintenance and upkeep of those necessary items. I thought that in todays’s blog post I would usefully list all the accepted expenses in both categories:

Capital Expenditures

  • Office space and/or purchase of property (shop, studio etc…)
  • Equipment – office fixtures and fittings, including computers and cameras.
  • Vehicles

Allowable Expenses

  • Travel costs – AA/RAC membership, train, bus, air and taxi fares. Running costs of a car or other vehicle, including petrol, car tax, insurance, repairs and servicing – this is based on the proportion of mileage that was used solely for your business.
  • Stock
  • Bank fees – bank, overdraft and credit card charges, hire purchase interest and leasing payments.
  • Insurance – professional indemnity and public liability insurance premiums.
  • Office utilities and supplies – phone, mobile, internet, email and fax running costs; postage, stationery, printing and small office equipment costs; computer software.
  • Advertising and Marketing – newspapers, directories, website costs.
  • Accountancy – accountants and solicitors fees.
  • Subsistence – only a reasonable amount for breakfast and evening meals on overnight trips.

Top Tax Tips for Freelance Bloggers

1. Keep your accounts up to date, as backlogs can make things increasingly confusing, invoices can get lost and things overlooked. Keep everything relating to your accounts in one place, and always ensure that your digital records (spreadsheets etc…) are backed up.

2. Neatness will always be your best friend when it comes to filing your tax return as auditors can read through and approve your return quickly. You can file your return online too, which is a fast and efficient way to do this.

3. Don’t let the forms confuse you!  Just because there are pages of endless empty boxes on the tax form don’t feel you have to come up with a number for each one! Focus on the information that you DO have, and find the boxes which correspond. Remember that there are two significant parts to your tax return: your income, and your deductions.

4. Use a professional if you’re really unsure! In fact, hiring an accountant for your self-employment tax return is a deductible expense! Make absolutely certain to take along all relevant receipts and invoices for your meeting.

5. Don’t throw your old tax returns away. HM Revenue and Customs says to keep them for 6 years.

6. Be punctual! There’s no benefit to waiting until the last minute to file your tax return, you could incur penalties.Depending on where you file, there are often staggered deadlines for your tax return based on whether it is filed online or on paper, or whether or not it is a self-employed form. If you file online in the UK, the deadline is January 31. If you send a paper form, the deadline is October 31.

For further information, please look at this super useful guidance sheet from HM Revenue and Customs.

I hope this helps!

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