I would love to have my own business but would it be a good career move?
Before making a decision that could have a significant impact on your finances, lifestyle and long term security it is worth doing some homework.
Start by looking at what you have. You may be surprised by the value of your current package, including, for example, paid holiday, pension, severance promises etc. Also, don’t forget softer benefits such as your colleagues - and look to the future: is promotion likely? Could changing employer or internal role fix things you don’t like?
Take account of different ways you could structure your consultancy - for example, self employment; engagement through a third-party agency; and/or your own company to employ you and provide your services.
Different tax, social security and expenses treatment would apply, most likely with a positive effect on cash flow, but you would lose employment-related security, for example, on ill treatment, termination, unemployment, sickness or maternity. Think about additional personal insurance costs, particularly if you or your family have medical conditions.
On the other hand, what you have to offer will weigh heavily in the balance. How big will fees be? How frequent and long will "gaps" in work be? Will there be additional costs for office, tax advice, business insurances, running a limited company? How good is your network and would you find looking for work stressful?
Talk to consultants, agencies and potential "buyers" but probe for differences in their situation and take care not to breach your employment contract in doing so.
As with any change, think about what might happen if things don’t work out. How easy would it be to get your old job, or a similar job, again? What if you could not work? Do you have savings to help meet your commitments or a working partner or pension to help cushion blows? Only you can decide whether potential freedom, challenge and financial rewards are "worth it".
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