A Canadian Guide To Being Self-Employed

A Canadian Guide To Being Self-Employed

It’s no easy task to run a business, and doing so entirely alone can be both liberating as well as terrifying. Having to rely solely on your own capabilities and dedication to completing your goals can feel like a monumental endeavor, but there are ways in which you can make this whole process simpler and less intimidating. In Canada, there are far fewer self-employed individuals as these numbers plummeted during the pandemic, but now there are signs that these numbers are on the rise again along with the economy. If you’re interested in pursuing your own business idea and going self-employed, then check out this guide for tips and advice to help you on your way.

Set Your Boundaries Between Work And Life

First and foremost, you need to be setting your own boundaries for yourself when you decide to start working self-employed. Once you essentially become your own boss and are able to set many of your own deadlines and responsibilities, it can be easy to allow your personal life to bleed into your professional one. While this is one of the benefits of being self-employed, having flexibility and the ability to shape your work-life balance doesn’t mean you should let them overlap with each other. You should clearly set out the time that you work and notify those that need to know, such as family and friends, that you are going to be professional and treat it as though you are in actual employment, whether you’re in your own office space or working from home. On the flip side of this, being self-employed can lead some people to forget about their own personal needs due to the added weight of responsibilities. You need to designate time to relax and unwind so that you don’t overdo it with work. 

Create A Positive Workspace

Choosing to rent out an office or convert an area of your home into a workspace is entirely dependent on your personal needs. If you don’t have room at home to keep your business separate from your personal life, it may be worth hiring space elsewhere to run your business. At the same time, this rented office space will present you with added storage, helping your business stay organized and keeping your home decluttered. Try to take advantage of your new freedom when it comes to deciding on where you’ll work. Remember that you’re likely to be spending most of your time in this space, so having somewhere with good natural light and fresh air from big windows is important. As well as this, ensure you have room for everything you need, including storage, furniture, and of course, your own workspace. Alongside this, you’ll want to make sure you have good access to essentials like bathrooms and food and drink.

Continue To Learn About Your Industry

When you’re self-employed, there is a chance that a lot of your focus will be on the specific work that you do rather than the bigger picture of running your business. While it’s very important to keep things running smoothly with the actual work that your business does, without a strong team behind you, you’re also going to have to handle the research side of your business, as well as many other parts too. It’s so important to stay ahead of the game within your industry, which means continuous research into both the industry as a whole and your competitors. There are many changes that can happen within your industry, from average cost adjustments to brand new ways of working caused by new tech and innovative ideas. Learning about what everyone else is doing, whether they’re large businesses or other self-employed individuals, will help you to make sure you’re not getting left behind. 

Keep Learning New Skills

As well as conducting research into your industry, you also need to be learning as many new skills as you can that can assist you in running your business and improve your business offerings as a whole. For example, perhaps you have limited knowledge of managing the social media of a business. While it can be unnerving when trying to tackle something that you’re not familiar with, spending some time getting to grips with these skills will allow you to effectively implement them into your business. There are countless resources online that can provide guidance and tutorials on everything from marketing and social media to tech usage and even general business tactics. After all, this could very well be your first attempt at running a company, and there may be a lot of things you don’t have a clue about in the business world.

Stay On Top Of Your Taxes

Business owners have a duty to manage their taxes and ensure they’re keeping everything up to date. Failing to pay taxes over a long time can get you into serious trouble, especially if you don’t have the funds to cover them once you get pulled up on it. In Canada, it’s important to remember that each province and territory has varying tax rates, so figuring out exactly how much of your income and profits you need to be setting aside for taxes is imperative. There are plenty of resources out there to help you manage this, like this Alberta tax calculator from Wealthsimple, for example. You can select your province or territory, then input all of your income streams, deductions, dividends, and capital gains, and the calculator will show you what you need to pay, as well as what income you’ll have left after paying. This responsibility lies solely with you, so factor it into your routine as soon as possible, if you haven’t already. 

Prepare For The Unknown

There are always possible unknown events that can occur, whether you’re running a business alone or with a hundred employees. However, unknown events tend to be more common for the self-employed in society, and these can come in many forms. The ebb and flow of workloads as clients come and go, for example, can have a significant impact on your business. Whether they’re searching for a better deal elsewhere or just no longer need your services, this loss of revenue can be damaging to your mental health as well as your business if you’re not prepared. That’s why it’s crucial to set up some form of an emergency saving fund to prepare for this possibility. It’s worth having as much money set aside as possible to help you to ride out any risky periods of uncertainty. As well as this, you should always be looking for ways to expand and grow your company by searching for new clients. This will soften the blow if existing clients move their business elsewhere.

Build Business Relationships

While you may feel like doing everything on your own is the whole purpose of being self-employed, it’s worth remembering that we are often better when we work with others. There is no shame in seeking help as well as alliances with other businesses. This could be either through outsourced services or by making deals with other professionals or businesses. When you outsource a task to other experts, you may be paying them for their services, but you’re also building a relationship with them. Loyalty, as well as showing your own usefulness to other businesses, can lead to you both helping each other out via a mutually beneficial arrangement. Perhaps your business deals with innovative tech implementation for businesses, which could seriously improve the services of the outsourced marketing company you’re working with. Building a strong relationship with them and offering them your services at a reduced cost could lead to you obtaining a similar offer from them. There are many possibilities for working with others, so avoid shutting others out, or you might be missing out on some great opportunities.

Stick To Your Routine

Due to the added freedom of being self-employed, it’s easy to allow yourself to become too flexible with your routines. While it may sound great to just do things when you feel like it, this mentality can be somewhat damaging to the success of your business. Having a routine is a great way to maintain structure and keep on top of the many tasks that you have to do. Remember that without a support structure that employees can provide, you need to do everything you can to keep on track, and a good routine can provide you with this. It can also be easy to get distracted when working alone, as boredom and loneliness can set in. However, if you give yourself a timeframe or deadline for certain jobs, it will be much easier to snap yourself out of your procrastination and refocus on the task at hand. Developing good routines in your life is a great way to be more productive, but it also improves your mental well-being. A simple daily routine, both for your work and personal life, can reduce stress and help you see the bigger picture without becoming bogged down worrying about what you need to do next.

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