Tag Archives: home office

A Bit On The Side

A Bit on the Side

No, not what you’re thinking, I’m talking about the Side Gig, Side Hustle, Moonlighting, Homers, whatever you want to call it, it can be a very good idea.

Initially I built up my accounts practice on the side of my day job before leaving that job to grow my business full time.

More and more people are moonlighting on the side of their day job – so why is this such a good idea?

Test the waters

If you eventually want your side job to become your full time job, growing it on the side gives you time to test the waters, experiment and learn.  It lets you try out different strategies to see what works and allows you to fail, all whilst keeping the financial security of your day job.

Not having to rely on your side gig for income allows you to focus on the long term success rather than short term income.

Extra Income

You’ll no doubt make some money from your side gig to compliment your full time income.  Whether you use this extra income to grow the business, save or dig yourself out of debt is up to you but the extra cash will always be nice.

Cash lets you fund your own start up or take a pay cut when you eventually want/need to ditch the full time job and make your side job the full timer.

Money can make you feel that you have options, that you have some backup, that you can afford to fail.  In other words it makes you feel safe, and if you feel safe you are more likely to take the small risks necessary to start up.

What to do

You need to establish what your side gig is going to be – what are you good at, what do you know how to do, what would you like to do, what would others pay you to do.

Getting started

Once you’ve decided what you are going to do you need to work out how you are going to get clients/customers.  How are you going to get the word out about what you are doing and what platforms are you going to use to do this.

Keeping it going

Office management – even if your side job is something low tech such as dog walking, don’t think you don’t need to get involved in office management.

A side gig doesn’t have to be about money.  It can be for fun, to gain experience or self education.   However, if money is the main objective you need to take it seriously.  Dealing with administrative tasks, paperwork, income, expenses, taxes and marketing all need to be done.  If you are making money you have a legal obligation to declare this for tax which requires some record keeping.

Stay Organised

If you’re working 9–5 and then moonlighting on the side, you are going to be busy.  You must stay on top of the admin and if you are making money you need to stay on top of the finances.  Keep track of all income, expenses, bank and paypal accounts.  You may need to develop systems for tracking this, customer/client relationship management and other items relevant to your line of work.  These systems can be anything from notebook scribbles or spreadsheets to specialised software.  The more you have going on, the more you need to attend to these back office tasks.

Word of warning

If your side gig is something that could tread on the toes of your full time employers business, you should get their permission first as there may be clauses in your employment contract to stop employees setting up in competition against them or stealing their clients.

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Photo Credit: Splitshire.com

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All About Poole

I recently saw a blog from a follower giving 40 reasons to move to Toronto, so I thought I would take inspiration from this and compile a list of things about Poole. Now Poole is a lot smaller than Toronto and our Mayor is not known internationally for taking crack and using inappropriate language, in fact, I have no idea who our Mayor is but let’s see what we can come up with.

    • We have one of the largest natural harbours in the world.
    • We have Blue Flag beaches

      • A Chain Ferry
      • Not one but two lifting bridges.
      • 4 Tides per day
      • It’s where the Scouts were founded by Lord Baden Powell – dib dib dib
      • The home of Sunseeker Yachts

      • The home of Lush – they make our industrial estates smell lovely

        • Head Quarters for the RNLI – they have a fancy new college building where you can even get married.

          • The Sandbanks Pennisular has the 4th highest land value in the world – you need serious millions for even a scrap of land.
          • Poole Quay – where several of the pubs date back to the 1600’s
          • The Dolphin Shopping Centre – an incredibly ugly 1960s concrete monstrosity, how did they ever think that looked good.
          • We have cross channel ferries.
          • Rainfall is well below the UK average.
          • Population (at the last census in 2011) is 147,600 with 22% under 19 and 20.5% over 65.
          • In 2006 a National Housing Federation study claimed Poole was the most unaffordable town to live in, in the UK.
          • The castle on Brownsea Island was originally a fortification built by Henry VIII in 1549 – now its owned by the National Trust who lease it to John Lewis for their staff holidays.

            • Ryvitas are made here – you can smell it when they burn them.
            • The heathland at Canford Heath is an 850 acre site of special scientific interest.
            • We have ‘Bikers Night’ on Poole Quay every Tuesday.
            • Polo on the beach.

            • It’s home to Diane Hudson Accountancy Ltd.

 

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HMRCs Home Office Policies

How much can you claim, for using a room in your home for business purposes?

HMRCs guidance uses typically vague words such as ‘fair & reasonable’ and ‘modest or excessive’. The trouble is someone earning mega money will think one figure is fair and reasonable but to most of us the same figure would seem excessive.

HMRC believes just £4 per week is all that should be claimed for the use of a home office. This measly amount is deemed as a ‘significant’ expenses and any claim over this amount must be justified by providing records or demonstrating your calculations.

How to can claim over the £4 per week

One way to prove your claim is reasonable is to calculate your monthly outgoings for gas, electric, rent, water etc then divide this by the number of rooms in the property (excluding kitchens & bathrooms).  For example if you have 5 rooms (Lounge, Dining Room, 3 Bedrooms) and one is used as an office take 1/5th of these bills.

If this amount seems too substantial for your business use you could divide it down further by the number of hours you spend in it working each day eg, 8/24 hrs or by the number of days per week that you work or by square meterage if known.

Beware

Be careful if claiming for more than one room as you will need more justification but it is possible ie a photographer could have an office and a darkroom (days before digital).

You should never claim the room is ‘solely’ for business purposes as this could lead to a business rates claim by the local council for part of your home or even Capital Gains Tax when you sell your property. Most people’s home office also doubles as a spare bedroom or is home to the unused exercise bike or the kids use it for doing their homework.

If you run your business through a Limited Company you can draw up a lease agreement so your company is reimbursing you for the costs of the room thus reducing your Corporation Tax but again, to be exempt from Capital Gains Tax when you sell the property make sure the agreement doesn’t state that it is solely and exclusively for business purposes.

Canford Heath

Want to see whats beyond the little path at the front of our place?

 

Canford Heath is an 850 acre heathland of special scientific interest.

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It’s very pretty in the evening sun

 

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Late summer is the prettiest time of year 

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There are nine cows – 2 big black Shetlands & 7 British Whites

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Full moon rising at the top of the path to Wallisdown

For the Love of Lists

Lists – I love them, always have done. There’s something deeply satisfying about ticking off items on your lists. I guess that’s why I took to accountancy, it’s basically just lists of income & lists of expenses.

When you have lots to do or lots to remember and everything is whizzing around in your head itbigstock-The-word-Everything-on-a-To-Do-45656401-300x300 can seem like double the amount of tasks you actually have to accomplish and can seem quite overwhelming. By writing the tasks down in a list it helps to clarify, organise and prioritise the tasks and then when you can see exactly what’s to be done and you know you won’t forget anything, it suddenly all seems less overwhelming.

As humans, we tend to have a natural state of ‘slackness’, lists help to focus the mind. Shopping lists, reminders and ‘to do’ lists are all variations on productivity based lists that we use to help us stop procrastinating. The ‘to do’ list is the one we spend most time on. We don’t seem to struggle to write a shopping list and then buy everything on it but getting tasks on a ‘to do’ list done is a whole different matter.

Tips for your ‘To Do’ list

Don’t make tasks too large, break them down into smaller tasks, you’ll have more to tick off and will feel like you are achieving more.

Prioritise – put the list in order of urgency.

Be realistic with your planning. It will have a negative effect if you are unable to accomplish your tasks in the time you set yourself.

If you can’t get motivated try doing the simplest, quickest tasks on your list first. Ticking off some items will help you get going.

Find methods that work for you. You may need a list of long-term tasks and then make sub lists for smaller more immediate or daily tasks.

My Lists

In my personal life I have lists for everything, shopping (I have an app for that one), packing, camping, finances, birthdays, bucket lists etc, etc but we won’t go into those as some may think it’s a bit sad.

In work, although I have many lists to organise and keep track of things in my business, my ‘to do’ list is the most essential. (That and the list that shows who owes me money.)

I do a monthly to do list so on the first day of each month a new blank list complete with tick boxes is printed off. First I put on everything that was left to do from the last month. I draw a red line under these so I know they were from the previous month and that these items must be done by the end of the new month, that way I am never too far behind with anything. Then in a separate section I write in anything that I know has to be done in the month and the date it has to be done by, items such as PAYE submissions, Companies House annual returns, VAT returns etc. Again a line is drawn under these, then any new work that comes in during the month is listed underneath and whilst I try to get as much completed in the month, I know it’s ok if these have to be carried over to the following month.

Click link to my blankTo do list

Some days when there seems to be a lot of little bits & pieces to do, I will write a sub list just for the day. You need to be flexible, I do not always do the items in order of the list, if you know you only have 20 mins to spare, just chose a quick task to tackle, it’s not always practical to start a task you won’t be able to finish.

Lists can help a lot but don’t be ruled by them, sometimes life just gets in the way of your goals.

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Reba – The Face Behind the Noise

A few of you have met her but a lot of you have just heard her. I’m talking about our big fluffy monster who barks like crazy every time you come to my front door. We are trying to stop this behaviour but she is just so protective of her space.

I usually try to shut her in the kitchen before I answer the door as once the door is open she changes from being protective to very excitable and I know being jumped at, licked and covered in fur isn’t to everybody’s liking.

Her name is Reba (named after a bicycle suspension fork).

She’s a proper Welsh Border Collie from a sheep farm in the Brecon Beacons, she’s now 10 years old and we’ve had her from a puppy.

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She loves to come with us for forest bike rides, she runs along beside us and gets impatient when we stop for a rest.

She also likes sticks

And her teddy’s

And we love her to bits

Bye

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Desks – Which One Is Yours

‘If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?’
Albert Einstein

In my last blog about Working from Home, I stated the importance of having a dedicated work space but whether it’s at home or not, what does this space say about you.

1. Messy as a Pigsty
If your desk is just pleasantly messy you are probably the creative type as it’s believed a messy environment encourages creativity. However, if it resembles a toxic waste zone you will just be hated by all who have to work near you.

2. Inspirational Message Overload
Personally I hate these things especially the team building ones you see in company offices, I’m far too cynical for these. People who need to be surrounded by these messages and quotes are thought to be slightly neurotic. ‘Inspirational statements are a psychological form of trying to keep people together emotionally and it calms anxiety.’

3. The Office Meeting Place
Is your desk the place everyone wants to be at? Maybe because you always have a bowl of sweets on your desk or have cool pictures or stationery that everyone wants to borrow. You are thought to be extrovert and you love the attention. You probably always had the best pencil case at school.

4. Clean on Monday, Messy by Tuesday
You try to start the week organised and promise to stay on top of things but then life takes over. You are a person who finds it hard to break habits but you get things done ….. eventually.

5. Always Neat & Tidy
Being perfectly organised is part of your daily routine. You are super organised, always on time and prompt to reply to emails. You wouldn’t dream of eating at your desk.

So, which one am I? I like to think I’m a 5 but sometimes (most times) I’m probably a 4.

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Photo Credit:  SplitShire