Choosing to become self-employed comes a whole host of decisions. Not only do you have to worry about drumming up enough business to keep yourself profitable; you also need to take into account that you are in charge of every element of your business – including your finances.
Now, if you have got a natural interest in bookkeeping, taxes and finance, then that’s great. Dealing with your self-assessment form should be easy.
However, if – like many self-employed workers – the thought of filling in this form fills you with dread, then it is only natural to consider hiring an accountant.
However, is it really necessary?
Whilst it isn’t mandatory to hire accountant, managing the financial element of your business can be hard. From making enough money to pay yourself and your employees, to dealing with income tax, pensions and National Insurance… all of this can feel overwhelming.
Here is where an accountant can lend you their assistance. They can take over the management of your payroll, invoicing, paperwork, taxes and pension contributions, and ensure it is all completed on-time, so you don’t have to deal with any unnecessary fines.
Similarly, they can help you with the following:
This means you can remain focused on doing what you do best – running your business and offering your specialist services.
However, if you haven’t got a team of employees to deal with or the self-employed work you do is simple; then you may find handling your own finances is easier and cheaper than you think.
Often the hardest thing about filling in your self-assessment form is knowing what information to include and what you are entitled to claim for.
For instance, if the service you offer is done remotely, with no need to travel or physically meet with your clients, then filling in the form will be simple as you’ll only need to mention your earnings for the tax year and any expenses you have (e.g. electricity, heating, buying a new laptop etc.).
If on the other hand, you need to travel, meet with clients or you sell a product, then your form will become more complicated as you’ll need to mention your petrol and clothing costs, as well as any materials you need to buy in order to create your product.
Now, if you do fall into the latter category, don’t worry. Just because this makes the form more complicated to complete, doesn’t mean you can’t become your own accountant. The steps to doing so are simpler than you think:
This will mainly depend on how you personally feel.
If the whole concept of forms, taxes and pensions leaves you feeling stressed, then hiring an accountant may be the right choice for you. If, on the other hand, numbers really interest you and you feel fairly confident in your ability to manage your own books; track your cash flow and fill in forms and invoices; then managing them on your own is possible – as proven with the tips above.
The question really is – do you really want to do it yourself?
Have you ever wondered what it would take to take your love of photography and turn it into a professional career? In this article, we aim to show you how to launch your own photography business, whilst providing you with the tools to make this dream a reality.
Step One: Business plan
Anyone who is serious about starting a business, should have a plan. Yes, it is important that you have got the skills to do the job – in this case take professional photos – however, you need to have business skills too to ensure your business becomes a success.
For this reason, you need to create a business plan. Here is what a typical one looks like:
In other words, your business plan will show the projected route of your business, so it needs to be detailed.
Step Two: Unique selling point/photography specialism
Most professional photographers specialise in a particular service. This can vary from landscape photography to family portraits to wedding photography. Now as you can imagine, with every photographer having a unique selling point, you will encounter a certain amount of competition. Yet this doesn’t mean you can’t make your own mark.
With vision, commitment and an impressive portfolio (proving your talent), you can build a successful business in your chosen niche. The key is learning how to understand your customer demographic (their age, gender, income, occupation, wants, needs, etc.) and using this knowledge to attract more business.
Step Three: Create a portfolio
Your portfolio is your chance to showcase your skills and show prospective clients what they can expect i.e. the quality of your work and your photography style. That is why it is important to use your portfolio to your full advantage, so you can keep those commissions coming in.
Tip: when creating your portfolio make sure it is accessible both in print and online. This will ensure that it is seen by a wider audience.
Step Four: Marketing
The key to succeeding is ensuring that you have always got a steady flow of customers – whether they are returning ones or new ones – as regular customers will mean regular cash flow.
Now when you are first starting out it can be hard to decide where to spend your limited budget. However, by first ensuring that you have got a strong business plan and that you have thoroughly researched your customer demographic, you can more confidently assign cash to your marketing campaign as you’ll know who to target.
Still before you do any marketing, try researching your various marketing options – social media, PPC ads, stands as wedding fairs, brochures etc. – so you can determine which is the best route for you.
Step Five: Continue developing your photography and business skills
The market is constantly changing, so not only do you need to keep on top of your business skills; you should also continue to strengthen your photography techniques. From acquainting yourself with the latest technology and photography equipment, to taking business courses, you can develop your skills in a number of ways:
Tip Six: Stick with it
Combine all of the tips above together; persevere and stay strong, and you can make your dream of becoming a professional photographer a reality.
As a childminder you want to make sure that your services are inclusive of all children, including those with learning disabilities. Not only will this broaden your working opportunities; this additional knowledge will make you a true asset to nurseries and parents.
So what can you do? How can you make your services more accessible?
The first step is understanding learning disabilities and what falls under its definition.
What are learning disabilities?
According to the Department of Health, learning disabilities are defined as a ‘significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information, to learn new skills, with a reduced ability to copy independently.’
Currently, there are thousands of children in the UK who have been diagnosed with some form of learning disability. Yet, there are thousands more who are yet to be diagnosed.
What can you do?
From providing a wider variety of interactive learning activities, to being more flexible with your timetable/routine; there is a lot you can do as a childminder to ensure that your childcare offering is truly inclusive.
Yet not everyone is flexible…
In fact, many parents struggle to find a professional childminder or nursery with the necessary skills/knowledge to properly care for children with learning disabilities.
But here is the thing – you don’t have to make massive changes to ensure that the children in your care remain safe and nurtured. By making a few simple adaptations/provisions to your services, it is possible to create a space where ALL children can play, learn and access activities.
Changes can range from the amount of exercise they have, to the types of activities they want to do. Similarly, offering a more flexible timetable can ensure that their learning stays on track, but takes into account the difficulties they may face with certain tasks.
TIP: plan their childcare provision with the help of their parents, but also speak to their social worker (if they have one) or any other professional services their parents to get advice.
Take for instance, creating a quiet space. Whilst children with learning disabilities may need the calm this kind of space creates more frequently; quiet spaces are ideal for any child.
This same rule can apply to other situations. So instead of believing that you’ll have to make massive changes in order to accommodate a child with a learning disability, remember this simply isn’t true.
For this reason, consider doing the following:
– Improve the lighting in your playrooms – this will assist any child that has visual impairments and will enable them to see things better.
– Use different colours to identify different areas – for example use bright, happy colours in your playrooms, and muted colours in other spaces, so all of the children can differentiate between the purpose of each space and the behaviour they should adopt.
-Improve flooring – make sure it is non-slip and that there are no obstacles in the way. Similarly, consider incorporating walking aids from room to room to enable children to move around more freely. Also, try taking into consideration how the space looks and how it will impact children who may process visual information and clues more slowly.
Now most of the time children rarely see the differences between themselves, so your task as a childminder is to ensure that you continue to model this behaviour so everyone in your care is treated equally and the same. The first step to achieving this is examining the language you use to interact and encourage children to play together. Your language should encourage them to engage, play and treat each other with fairness, kindness and as equals.
And this can make a massive difference to your career, as not only will you feel more prepared to assist children with learning disabilities; the skills you’ll acquire will help you to create a safe, inclusive and nurturing play environment where they can grow and flourish.
So if you are interested in expanding your childcare offering, why not consider incorporating all of these into your childcare provision? Combined, they can help you to create a fantastic learning and play space for ALL children.
Creativity is regularly overlooked. In the workplace, at home… even at school it is placed lower on the priority scale. However, embracing your creativity can make a real difference to the way you behave and engage with other aspects of your life.
In this blog, we’ll aim to prove why creativity is important and why you shouldn’t overlook it.
Despite being an important skill and quality to have, creativity is often valued less than it should be. Part of the problem stems from the fact that you can’t fit it neatly into a box. Creativity likes to be free; to expand and to grow into something new. As a result, people are often suspicious of it.
Similarly, people who are creative tend to be complex, contradictory and regularly frustrated. They are able to view the world in all of its complexity and as such can often frustrate those around them. Similarly, their indecisiveness – in a modern culture that demands decisiveness – can make it harder to fit in.
Now before you start thinking that these are all reasons why you should keep your own creativity lower on the list; take a look at the following positives of having a creative mind:
Being creative and investing yourself in a creative activity -such as writing, singing, painting etc. – can all help you to express your emotions in a safe environment.
Being creative and opening your mind to new things can be very liberating, and can open doors to new aspects in your life, including your career. So if you are looking to make a change and aren’t afraid to think outside the box, then why not unleash your creative side and see what it can do for you?
To learn more about how you can broaden your creativity, take a look at our range of online courses.
Not everyone has got the luxury of being able to afford a childminder or a nursery when they return to work. In fact, a lot of us choose to turn to family members – namely, retired grandparents – to look after our kids to help save money.
Yet, are they actually entitled to anything? For instance, if they are looking after your children regularly, then can you pay them for ‘acting’ as a childminder?
Nearly 97% of families in the UK turn to grandparents or other close relatives for childminding support. This can range from picking up/dropping children at school, or looking after them for the entire day whilst parents work.
Bearing this in mind, it makes sense to wonder if you should pay them for their childminding duties. Yet what are the legal implications of this? If you are paying someone as a childminder, are there rules?
Legally, you should register as a childminder if you are caring for children: who are not close relatives; if you are doing it for more than two hours a day, and if you are charging for it.
Similarly, once registered as a professional childminder, you will need to undergo a DBS to determine that you are safe to work with children; that you have got a paediatric first aid certificate (if you haven’t got one you need one), and that you have been inspected by OFSTED (UK).
Close relatives are usually classed as grandparents and aunts/uncles – essentially immediate family. Cousins or more distant relatives are just outside of this group, and may need to register as a childminder – in the eyes of the law – if they look after your child on a regular basis.
The rules on this are not very clear though, so if you are not sure we recommend investigating further.
However, it is also important to note here that whilst close relatives don’t need to register, technically they can charge for looking after your child.
Now this is a little bit of a grey area. Whilst it is not uncommon for parents to give money to relatives who look after their children regularly; there is much debate over whether they should declare this money and pay income tax (by declaring themselves on a self-assessment form), or whether it should be seen as a token gesture payment.
In the case of token gestures, they can be counted as such if they are less than a childminder’s professional rate. At the moment 25 hours of childcare (per week) for an under 2 year old is around £107. Full time it is £227 per week.
For many people, the reason why they rely on relatives and grandparents is because it wouldn’t be worth returning to work if they had to pay for childcare. Similarly, for parents who work odd hours or shifts, getting a childminder who can do these types of hours is hard.
This isn’t a problem with relatives, as they can easily have their grandchildren to sleep over; can run them to school in the morning, and will happily look after them during the holidays.
Bearing all of this in mind, the money you offer could easily be construed as expenses for things such as food or for taking them on outings during half term.
Now, should you find yourself in a situation where your relative wants a childminders rate, then it may be worth using a professional childminder instead. After all, if you are paying them the same rate, then you may as well take advantage of the activities, play and learning exercises that childminders offer.
In the last few years, it has become possible for grandparents in the UK to be paid for looking after their grandchildren full time. This is usually deducted from the parents own contributions and is transferred to the grandparents instead. For more information, we recommend visiting the HMRC. Alternatively, to find out more about the service childminders provide, take a look at our online childminding courses.
It is a decision every parent faces – do you send your child to nursery or do you get a childminder?
And it is a tough decision to make as on the one hand with a nursery your child will have ample chance to socialise, mix and get ready to start school, whilst on the other, with a childminder your child will receive more one-on-one attention.
So how do you choose which is best for you and your child? Which is the right choice?
Instead of supplying you with a long list of their pros and cons, below we have come up with a range of things to consider to help make it easier for you to make a real and informed decision:
That being said, most nurseries endeavour to make sure all of their staff are trained and qualified, whilst the majority of childminders will also undertake a range of childcare courses.
For this reason, when choosing between the two ask to see their qualifications. Qualifications are a great way to build reassurance that your child is in safe hands, as they demonstrate their ability to provide your child with the right care, as well as understand your child’s needs and how they can help them to develop.
Childminders are similarly inspected by OFSTED (in England) to ensure that they meet safety and learning standards (that are expected of them). These reports can also be found on their website.
For both, we recommend reading the reports, but also paying attention to when these reports were done. As I mentioned before, they are done at intervals, so the report could be a couple of years old and no longer entirely accurate.
Whatever the routine they adopt, nurseries will display a weekly/monthly timetable for you to view so you are fully aware of what your child is doing.
Childminders tend to operate differently and will structure their day based on the children they are caring for. Like a nursery, childminders are expected to offer different tasks/activities during the day, in order to stimulate children and encourage learning.
Nurseries and childminders should keep detailed records of your child’s development. These will be entered daily, weekly or monthly into a reporting system which they can then pass on to you. Alternatively, you can leave a notebook with your childminder, where they can make daily entries of your child’s activities, eating habits and nap times etc.
We suggest asking to see their policy documents on discipline, so you can see how they choose to handle it. From distraction techniques, to raising concerns with you, to working together; techniques can vary so be sure to thoroughly read them and only use a nursery/childminder that suits you.
Naturally, we all want the best for our children, so picking between a nursery or a childminder is a decision that will take time and careful consideration.
So why not try using the questions above to help you make the right choice? Alternatively, why not take a look at our range of childcare and childminding courses, so you can gain a firmer impression of the qualifications they possess and how they can assist your child?
We all dream of earning a little more, especially when our salaries don’t match the blood, sweat and tears we invest into our jobs.
Yet, what is interesting about salaries is that some of the UK’s highest paying jobs don’t actually require you to have an arsenal of training or qualifications. In fact, there are many that are more interested in you having experience or particular character/personality traits.
So if you are interested in moving careers and getting the salary you deserve, then you may find that some of the jobs below are more accessible than you think.
Let’s first take a look at the careers that require a degree or professional qualification:
1. Marketing/Sales Directors – marketing and sales directors are in charge of promoting products or the company’s brand, and are often in charge of a marketing team. Through analysing their target audiences reactions and engagement with campaigns, they can help to strategize new plans and use them to boost the firm’s sales.
Salary: £40,000 (min.) – £1 million (max.)
Entry Requirements: whilst a degree in business or communications can help you to gain this role, you also need to have prowess in intrapersonal communication. Similarly, experience in managing teams and campaigns can give you a lot of head way.
2. Brokers – responsible for buying and selling the stocks and assets of others; brokers can earn commissions by helping their clients to manage their money and investments. They can also lend their advice on the best financial products currently on the market.
Salary: £28,000 (min.) – up to £1 million (max.)
Entry Requirements: a degree in maths and/or business can be useful; however, having them is not essential for getting this job. In fact, if you are interested in exploring this route, there are numerous opportunities to train in-house or gain mentorships and experience.
3. Financial Managers and Directors – common in both the public and private sectors, Financial Managers provide financial guidance and support to their clients in order to help their organisation make wise business choices with their money.
Salary: £40,000 (min.) – up to £1 million (max.)
Entry Requirements: a degree in finance, accountancy, economics or business is required for this job, as well as experience, as you will be expected to work your way up the ladder. For more information on how to boost your financial knowledge or experience, take a look at our online courses.
4. Chief Executives – typically you are expected to have a degree, postgraduate or professional qualification that is related to your field, in order to become a chief executive. Similarly, a strong history of making good business decisions and experience (at least a few years) working in a senior management role is required.
Chief executives can be found across a number of industries including: medicine, technology and finance.
Salary: £75,000 (min.) – £1 million+ (max.)
Entry Requirements: as mentioned before, you will need a degree, postgraduate qualification or a professional diploma related to your field to help you get this role. Saying that, there have been a number of inventors and entrepreneurs who have become chief executives within their own companies.
5. Doctors and Surgeons – to become a doctor, anaesthetist, consultant, surgeon or an advanced medical practitioner you will need at least 7 years of higher education. Those within specialist fields – i.e. surgeons, psychiatrists etc. – tend to earn the most within this professional career route.
Salary: £45,000 (min.) – £500,000+ (max.)
Entry requirements: if you wish to pursue this route you will need at least 7 years of higher education combined with internships and on the job training.
6. IT and Telecommunications Directors – this is an in-demand job as practically every business uses computers and needs someone to manage them. Within this role, you’d be expected to manage and improve IT systems, assist employees with their IT problems and install new updates.
Salary: £70,000 (min.) – £500,000+ (max.)
Entry requirements: there are a number of routes into this role. Most in this profession have degrees in computer science, maths or other technical fields; however, it is possible to have an unrelated degree (or no degree at all) and to work your way up. For more information on how to boost your IT skills, check out our online IT courses.
7. Financial Institution Managers and Directors – it is possible to work your way up in the bank from a Teller up to a Financial Institution Manager, and earn good money (as you gain more experience). Within this role you’d be expected to lead a team and motivate them towards achieving their targets and resolving client problems.
Salary: £17,500 (min. when you start as a Teller) – £250,000+ (max.)
Entry Requirements: whilst a degree in maths or finance can help you move up this career ladder faster; it is possible to become a financial institution manager by starting as a teller with a degree in something else.
High Paying Jobs that Don’t Require a Degree
Okay, we’ve talked about the top 7 paying jobs in the UK that require a degree, but what about the ones that don’t need one?
As I mentioned before, you don’t have to have a long list of qualifications in order to be paid well, as I’ll now prove below:
1. Police Constable – if you are interested in pursuing a career within law enforcement, then the first role you may encounter is working as a police constable. Comprised of walking the streets, doing training and completing paperwork and office tasks; as your career progresses you can rise up the ranks to Sargent and Inspector.
Salary: £20,000 (min.) – £50,000 (max.)
Entry Requirements: starting out as a constable you will need a GCSE qualification in English Language (C or above) and will need to pass the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing.
2. Firefighter – this career role has the potential to pay really well as you move up the ranks, as long as you meet their fitness criteria.
Salary: £17,500 (min.) – £40,000+ (max. station manager salary)
Entry Requirements: during recruitment you will need to pass a series of written exams, aptitude tests and physical examinations.
3. Train and Tram Drivers – this is another role where you can benefit from a number of bonuses/perks as you gather experience. This role is also ideal for those who love to travel and help people.
Salary: £25,000 (min.) – £50,000 (max.)
Entry Requirements: all you need to do is pass their driving assessments and have a natural passion for driving.
4. Air Traffic Controllers – I won’t lie. Working as an air traffic controller can be stressful as you are responsible for the safety and wellbeing for those both on the ground and in the air. Alongside helping to guide and advise pilots on when it is safe to take off and land (on time), you will be expected to work to a strict schedule, and have advanced organisational and time management skills.
Salary: £38,000 (min.) – £120,000+ (max.)
Entry Requirements: whilst you don’t need a degree to apply for this role, you will need at least 5 GCSE’s and an air traffic controllers licence (where you will need to pass the NATS vocational course – which can take 3 years).
5. Construction Manager – to work in this role you will need strong communication and leadership skills, and will need to be good at coordinating and supervising projects. You will also be expected to roll up your sleeves and actually work on-site (when the occasion calls for it).
Salary: £20,000 (min.) – £50,000+ (max.)
Entry Requirements: alongside working your way up and becoming an expert in the trade, you will also need a trade certificate.
6. Human Resources Manager – there are a number of roles and careers routes within this sector, making it perfect for anyone who enjoys working with people, helping others and solving intrapersonal issues. Senior roles you can explore include: HR Specialists, HR Officers and HR Advisors.
Salary: £28,000 (min.) – £50,000+
Entry Requirements: whilst a degree in business, communications, marketing or HR can help you to climb the ladder faster; you can become a HR Manager through experience and on the job training. For more information on the specialities within HR, take a look at our online HR course.
As you can see, with or without a degree, you can make a difference to your career and your earnings. So if you are looking for a change, why not consider exploring one of the careers above? You might be surprised by where these job choices take you…
Many would argue that given our increasing reliance on the internet that offline marketing is no longer necessary. Why spend a fortune on flyers, business cards and magazine adverts, when you can reach a wider audience much faster – and more cheaply – online?
The truth is – despite these preconceptions, offline marketing does still matter. And when done in tandem with online marketing, it can bring incredible results to a business.
From poster campaigns to vouchers in magazines, all of these techniques can bring value to your overall marketing campaign if done correctly. The key, is achieving the best of both worlds.
Take the following points. Each prove why offline marketing is still popular in the business world:
Now, you might not think it, but offline marketing has the potential to bring in strong ROIs. For instance, direct mail is reputed to bring in the third highest ROI behind email and social media (according to the Direct Marketing Association). True, it is only 27% compared 122% (for emails), yet the fact still remains that it ranks third. Meaning, that when combined with other online marketing tools they can make a lethal combination.
The truth is, the online world is extremely crazy and crowded, and can often leave users feeling overwhelmed and bombarded (thanks to the breadth of marketing emails and pop up adverts that try to sell them products). For many, the urge to disconnect or even deliberately overlook adverts (because they are so sick of seeing them) can actually cause them to reach for the paper that has just been pushed through their door.
Magazines, newspapers, flyers… they all still get seen. They all still get read. They all still get noticed, making them a valuable marketing tool.
Now before you automatically think – how can you track offline marketing? It is actually possible. Yes, it may be harder, but by using a combination of offline and online marketing, you can easily create campaigns where customers can take printed coupons from a magazine/newspaper and use them online to access your products. By doing so, you can track their unique code and monitor the reach of your campaign.
And this is only one example of how you can use offline marketing to produce results…
For instance, offline can be used to encourage potential customers to go online and seek more information, or even speak to you in person. It can be used to place that seed of thought that entices them to want to know more. Similarly, printing vouchers in leaflets and magazines can act as a great incentive for your customers to choose you, as no matter their shopping preferences, they can use your vouchers both in store or online.
Both can be used simultaneously to bring you more business…
Many might assume offline marketing is old fashioned; however, it has changed a lot since the creation of the web.
Yet, despite evolving and growing to accommodate the evolution of the internet, one thing is still clear – it is often offline marketing that first helps a business to stand out from the crowd.
That is why, if you are genuinely interested in making your mark, you should consider registering onto a marketing course. With the support of online marketing courses, you can quickly learn the ins and outs of offline and online marketing, and use these skills to make a massive difference to your earnings.
For more information, take a look at our range of online marketing courses.
You may think 2020 is ages away, but if you are planning to go to university or dream of trying something new, then now is the time to make important decisions about your career and qualifications.
The reality is – with technology constantly advancing, the job market is rapidly changing in a bid to keep up with it. As a result, you can’t put off thinking about your career because if you want to make the right choices – and ensure you get your foot in the door at the right time – you need to be fully aware of what the job market has got in store.
So what has the job market got in store for us?
Below are a handful of careers that experts are predicting will be popular in 2020:
Can you see yourself in any of these roles? If so, the time to act is now. Enrol into college or onto an online course and you can easily prepare for the future. For more information visit our website.
Life coaching is one of a number of careers that is rising in popularity, so if you are highly motivated and have got a natural affinity for helping people to improve their strengths and overcome their weaknesses, then this may be the career for you.
One of the key jobs of a Life Coach is to motivate others and inspire them to reach their goals. By helping them to solve problems and overcome any obstacles standing in their way, Life Coaches cannot only help their clients to tackle their issues head on, but can also act as a stepping stone to empowering their clients as they achieve their ambitions.
Providing this support can be done in a number of ways – over the phone, via skype and email, or in person.
NOTE: This should all be done objectively, without the Life Coach having to instruct them on this journey. Similarly, a Life Coach should never push their own agenda or beliefs onto a client, but should simply act as a second pair of eyes.
There are a number of reasons why a person may seek the help of a Life Coach. From needing help for getting a promotion, to wanting to reignite the passion in their relationship, to wanting help with attaining their fitness goals; Life Coaches can play an active role across various aspects of a person’s life.
Here are some examples of what a Life Coach can expect on a daily basis:
Life Coaches are trained to help people from all walks of life. No matter your background or your needs, they can provide you with the guidance you desire.
In fact, Life Coaches are often used to provide the following:
Whilst in the UK Life Coaching is not regulated, clients prefer to use qualified Life Coaches who have got membership with a professional organisation. For this reason, if you are genuinely interested in becoming a Life Coach it is recommended that you get at least a Level 3 Diploma in Life Coaching.
This can easily be achieved by enrolling into college or alternatively registering onto a distance learning/online Life Coaching course. Online courses are especially useful as you can complete this from the comfort of your own home whilst still maintaining a healthy work/study balance. At the same time you can learn over the course of 12 months what life coaching involves and how to coach others as well as yourself.
So if you are interested in helping others to find the motivation, drive and inspiration to achieve their goals, then why not consider enrolling onto an online course and witnessing the difference your support and guidance can make to others.