Making the leap to being self employed

I have recently decided to become self employed and have just created my own company in the UK.

I am basically selling my time as an electronics engineer and consultant together with software development.

I currently have a couple of small software projects and 1 big client who has me working on hardware development about 40 hours a week, sometimes in my shed - other times from their site.

Being new to being a business man though not new to engineering I am looking to find what experiences others of had. I’ve always been a fan of open source so would like to use that as much as possible for business software, but since this business is my only source of income I need any such software to reliable.

I have a redmine server running to help me with project control but I need something to help me run my accounts and track clients with existing and future opportunities for me.

I know @jeremy, @jonobacon and @sil are all running their own companies and others here may be too.

Any advise or suggestions please?

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Be careful if you are doing 40 hours a week for one client on an ongoing basis - AIUI (and I’m not an expert) there’s a risk you will end up being classified as an employee. Google IR35 if you haven’t already. :slight_smile:

Thanks for mentioning that, my accountant thinks I’m probably OK with this since its a fixed 6 month position, I have my own facilities at home and they are not the only client. But, it’s an important point for all UK businesses.

I used to be a Limitted Company for my work (web development).
I absolutely depended on my accountant as I didn’t have the skills necessary for running a company myself.
I think the main thing is to keep on top of all correspndence. I much more enjoy programming than responding to letters about tax etc!

The other thing is that you will need to be 100% responsibile for getting clients to pay invoices, even big established companies can “forget” to pay an invoice, so you need to be diligent at chasing them.
The way to thought about it is that doing admin stuff is part of your job now, so make sure you allocate resources/time for managing it.

As for software, spreadsheets are I find a good starting point (XLSX).
Just make sure you BACKUP
(My friend started a company and a month later was stung by some rasomware!)

I often paste my personal accounts into a spreadsheet so I can graph my account to see how I’m doing.

Is your company just a vehicile for you to get paid or are you thinking of growing and taking on staff?

Don’t we all? At the end of the day we need to keep the paperwork in place but it is not the part of the job.

Initially at least the company is just me as it provides a mechanism for me to handle several different income sources but I’ll be happy to take on more staff if it takes off.

I think it is :slight_smile:

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Sorry typo, missed a word out should be:

Don’t we all? At the end of the day we need to keep the paperwork in place but it is not the fun part of the job.

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No suggestions, just wishing you success! :slight_smile:

Get to know your government officials better. Just ignore those letters. :smile:


A lot of the US podcasts I listen to go on about freashbooks, They now seem to have a presence in the UK so that might be an option to explore. I personally use gnucash but only for my personal accounts. It has many features for managing company accounts that I don’t use, so cant comment on, but the bits I do use are very good.


I personally use Crunch for my accounts – online service, and paid for, but the reason I think it’s worth it is that I ring them up all the time with dumb accountancy questions and they’re super helpful. (If you like the idea, I can give you a referral code where we both get a bit of money off.) Tracking clients; @jonobacon has a whizzy system for that, and he will be able to tell you more. I need to do more of that than I currently do…

Good to hear and best of luck Warren! :slight_smile:

I don’t have any experience here in the UK setting up a company so I would love to hear what resources, like websites and books about the business side of things, you used to get started ?

Also there is a podcast on the network that talks about being self employed called Free Agents (


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