The COVID-19 outbreak has been particularly tough for the self-employed. It may be that a project you were working on has been delayed, or perhaps your client has furloughed their employees and postponed their work with contractors. The upshot is the same, of course: things may be quiet for a while.
Once you’ve organised your finances and finally got your children into some kind of homeschooling routine (gaining a new appreciation for teachers in the process), what can you do to help your business while not, strictly speaking, working?
Admin, admin, and more admin
Whether it’s organising your receipts and invoices, updating your accounts, sorting through your in-tray or renewing your contractor insurance to ensure previous work continues to be covered and that you are insured when work restarts, now is the perfect time to get some business admin out of the way. Now could also be the time to look at your personal admin; reviewing your utility bills, sorting and destroying any old post and taking a closer look at your pension set up.
Improve your skillset
There are a lot of great online training providers out there that can teach you everything from coding to carpentry. So, why not take the opportunity to improve your skillset? This could be something like accounts to make running your business easier, or it could be a new talent you could offer to clients, from Photoshop to a project management qualification. If it’s something that will make you a more desirable hire when this is all over then so much the better.
Research potential new clients
At some point in the future, things will return to normal and you’ll be back working with existing clients as well as searching for new ones. A good practice while you have time is to start looking at clients you would like to work with in the future and make a list, perhaps starting with the most desirable and ranking them in order from there. On this list you should also have the name and contact details of the person you should be speaking to there. Once things do return to normal, you’ll be able to get in touch with them to arrange a chat or to pitch your services.
Prepare for the IR35 reform
Yes, the IR35 reform has been delayed for a year, but it’s still coming and you need to be ready for it. Now that you have the time, you could use some to educate yourself on the legislation and examine your contracts and working practices to ensure they place you on the right side of the reform in 2021. This means that when end clients need to start producing your Status Determination Statement (SDS), you are prepared to fight your corner should they say your our inside IR35 when you see yourself as outside.
We understand this is a tough time and that it can be hard to stay positive and productive, but it is important to make the most of this time. That way, you and your business will be in the best shape possible, so when things are back to normal you should see yourself more in-demand than ever.