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Working at home not just from home.

(11 Posts)
Graphista Thu 28-Jun-18 19:48:20

I'm being brave keeping usual name for this so PLEASE be gentle.

I'm 46 and a Lp currently not working due to ill health - this is very relevant -

OCD - germophobic which makes me phobic of contact with certain people too (due to the jobs they do), this causes depression, anxiety and the main problem

Agoraphobia. Been housebound almost 7 months this time but even when I am 'better' than I am now there are certain places I can't cope with and I cannot find new places without a great deal of planning and support.

I also have a physical disability, a spinal injury from a car accident, which causes chronic pain and limits mobility.

BUT I hate being on benefits, I worked full time from age 16 until the accident. Was raised to work and enjoyed it.

I had a very 'well' phase last year, but wasn't completely recovered but THOUGHT I was and so applied for literally hundreds of jobs. Even with support from career specialists inc having my cv scrutinised and overhauled several times, applying for jobs that said they welcomed 'returnees' I didn't even get an interview.

I think it was due to a combination of factors -

The large gap in my cv from not working and that being due to being ill.

Skills and qualifications being out of date - I was mainly applying for admin roles, that being something I have experience in but not overly stressful for me in terms of the OCD.

I tried to look for courses to update my skills but couldn't find any that were appropriate as I fall in a 'middle' skill level. Local IT courses for work returners are aimed at people who've never even turned on a PC, college courses were at diploma level which is a bit ahead of where I am and mainly focuses on programming. What I need really is just to 'catch up' on the changes to MSOffice and learn some other software. I'm a pretty fast learner and soon catch on. Plus I still use word processing and spreadsheets regularly as I find them useful and honestly I enjoy it.

My thinking going forward is this:

I'd like to set up as self-employed working (as per title) not just from home but at home.

1 So I can still keep working even when the agoraphobia is bad

2 so I can potentially move to another part of the country in the near future, and in effect take the job (and clients) with me

3 I can far more easily make adjustments at home for working with the back issues than I think most employers are willing/able to.

I have an (old) international business qualification, degree in nursing and degree in English.

The work I'm interested in doing is

Tefl online from home
General admin from home (have worked doing this in a variety of arenas before)
Proofreading, copywriting, editing <awaits some keen mner pointing out a spag error> grin

Stumbling blocks <ruddy Great Wall in my way> are

1 I don't currently have a PC and knowledge on hardware is not my forte. I may possibly have found a source of funding for this I'm awaiting someone getting back to me, but I'd need guidance so I don't waste the money.

2 possibly need to do further training to do tefl. Some companies require it others don't and are willing to accept degree in English. Any mners that work in this area I'd like to know who are the good employers/agencies (and who aren't)

3 need to bring skills on PC up to date.

4 need to work out full start up costs

5 need to assess if all this is truly feasible - I'm thinking I'd be happy to do a combination of all three so that I was working/earning enough.

6 need info/advice on how this all works in terms of coming off benefits as I realise it may well take time to build up to enough earnings to cover living costs

Sorry - million thoughts running through my brain!

TLDR: 46 yr old agoraphobic, currently on benefits wants to be able to work at home in some form of admin/publishing/tefl role.

I really hope you wonderful mners can help or at least signpost me in right direction.

OP’s posts: |
Graphista Thu 28-Jun-18 22:04:30

Bumping - I really want to try and do this.

OP’s posts: |
speakout Fri 29-Jun-18 19:39:43

Hi, I am not an expert in your field, but I do think there are lots of opportunities which will allow for " at home " working. Some other posters may have ideas but there are lots of online agencies for writing, working as a moderator etc.
I work at home, I don't need to leave the house apart from visiting the post office.
I make and sell crafts online. I buy most of my raw materials online too, so have no need to meet clients or customers.

Graphista Sat 30-Jun-18 01:31:47

I wish I'd your talent! Rubbish at crafts or at least not quick enough for it to be a viable option.

But yes I want to look into writing, editing etc

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abbsisspartacus Sat 30-Jun-18 20:08:41

I can craft I just can't craft to sell I mean what sells?

Graphista Wed 11-Jul-18 19:29:47

Bump

Today's questions.

1 how to figure out start up costs

Off the top of my head I need a desktop PC, printer and scanner, possibly a separate business phone/internet connection, stationery, is an accounting software package worth spending on?

2 how to find out where I stand with dwp if I do this. Particularly in terms of also possibly facing a move from ESA etc to UC.

3 the type of writing work I'm interested in is often advertised but I don't know which companies are OK to work for.

4 is there legal financial documentation/registration I'd need to do? Does that cost?

5 - could I actually just start bidding for and undertaking jobs with the eqpt I already have and guage if its a feasible idea? Would this wrong foot me with dwp given a lot of the jobs pay less than £10?

OP’s posts: |
TattiePants Fri 13-Jul-18 09:26:51

@Graphista the first thing I would do is find out if there are any online networking / support networks in your area. I'm in the NE and am part of a 10,000 member online support network for women running their own business. It's the perfect way to find out about local training seminars, available grants, tendering for jobs, accounting issues etc. There is always someone who has 'been there, done that' and is willing to help. If you want to PM me your general location I might be able to find a local network.

I started working for myself about 5 years ago in a completely new area (previously i finance) and it is definitely challenging and a bit scary at times but for me the benefits are huge.

As far as startup costs, sit down with a pen and paper and list everything you will absolutely need then try to research a price for each item. You mention accountancy software - if you are comfortable with spreadsheets then I would just use that for now as you are unlikely to have a high number of transactions initially. You'll be able to find an invoicing template online to copy. Again, do you really need a separate phone line? I just use my personal mobile. Don't forget insurance costs. Think about how you are going to get your name out there. Do you need a small marketing budget.

I use MS Office, Photoshop and a couple of bespoke IT packages and just use a Toshiba laptop purchased on the high street and the same printer that I always had.

Graphista Fri 13-Jul-18 20:17:52

Thank you so much for answering.

Re startup costs list, I can do that for basic items but I REALLY need guidance on the high cost items. Where the cost can vary greatly.

I am very comfy with spreadsheets - love em! So was thinking similarly myself.

Separate phone line - some of the companies that offer tefl online as a job require you to have a separate phone line and desktop computer. Apparently their software can't be run on laptops.

Yes I know insurance another necessity - would appreciate guidance on that.

Yes I had wondered about marketing too.

I will pm you. Again thanks.

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RB68 Fri 13-Jul-18 20:34:08

Hi - there are a number of organisations that do courses and information for microbusinesses.

Personally if I were you I would try and put a broad business plan together - numbers can come in a bit. But focus on who are your customers going to be, what you are going to offer them and how you are going to reach and communicate with them.

Not sure if networking groups will work for you from health point of view but many have online elements as well. There are also online courses you can do to review software etc but I have always felt jump in and have a play works best for me.

IT kit and equipment I would start with the basics - what you need is access to online - many software packages now are sold on a month by month basis and you sign up and down load it - so msoffice and outlook even file storage through google and the like. Be organised and structured and all of this you can set up before starting your business. This can easily be done with secondhand recon kit. Printer - make sure you look at price of inks not printer. Most printers now have scanner/copier.

Web page, facebook and linked in will be important if you are home based. Just starting out I would go with what you have for home - looking for business set ups later as they jump in cost.

It sounds like you are what is known as a VA a virtual assistant - so someone able to dip in and help a client with specific issues and projects - setting up a spreadsheet, typing some PR, sorting training documents etc etc and this then covers a multitude of tasks.

Registration as a sole trader is free with HMRC and you will need to do that within 3 months of starting your business ie marketing rather than earning. You will have to also pay National Insurance.

I won't lie it will bugger your benefits about so please be careful about timings of things and keeping records and I would try and get a phone interview with the benefits office to sort out whats what. Sometimes they do run schemes where you get a chance at starting your business but you need to be making money pretty quickly although if you work beyond certain hrs tax credits start to apply etc

RB68 Fri 13-Jul-18 20:36:20

Also if you have house insurance check you are covered to work/run a business from home.

There are websites you can use to tout for work/gain work

I would also consider doing some freebie work with friends or rellies to get good reviews and comments to use on a website etc

Graphista Fri 13-Jul-18 21:34:52

Thanks for the replies RB68 all good info and lots for me to think about.

I'm on old benefits system but in a UC area which complicates matters. But I am thinking to prep now (inc refreshing skills) and wait to actually start the business after I'm moved into UC (unwillingly, think this is happening in Feb, I'm dreading it!)

But then again - if I'm earning I'll at least have that money coming in while UC gets sorted out.

OP’s posts: |

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