Being self employed in the UK in 2018

Sometimes being self employed can fee like you’re the only person on the planet who works by themselves. Let’s take a look at the self employment landscape in the UK in 2018.

What’s it like being self employed?

Scary. Exciting. Lonely. Busy. Exhilarating. Empowering. I guarantee you’ll NEVER be bored ever again. You’ll start to love Mondays more than Fridays and your family may, from time to time, have to remind you to stop working.

Be prepared to work more hours for less money. Especially at the start of your self employment journey. Remember that every second of work is benefiting YOUR business and YOURS alone. You’re not just another number on a spreadsheet of a faceless conglomerate. Your hard work isn’t lining the pockets of very, very rich shareholders.

The UK self employment landscape in 2018

Every year I’m going to post 10 or so bullet points highlighting what the business landscape looks like at the moment. This is entirely subjective and based on my view of self employed life in the UK. It’s based on my own personal views and the views of my self employed friends. It’s also based on the feedback I receive via literally thousands of YouTube comments across my various channels. Here’s what I think it means to be self employed in the UK in 2018:

  • Giant conglomerates are taking over the world
  • Apple has $281 billion cash
  • Amazon turned over $178 billion in 2017
  • Retail as we know it is dying
  • Retail isn’t dying
  • There’s the uncertainty of Brexit and most folk, leavers and remainers, are sick of hearing about it
  • It’s never been easier for micro businesses to play on the global stage
  • There are HUGE opportunities out there for smaller businesses
  • HMRC are still toying with us when it comes to your ‘digital tax account
  • Now that every web site has more cookie warnings than actual content, are the EU about to completely break the internet with Article 13?

We’re living in very interesting times. The big companies are getting REALLY big. Like bigger than countries. They have market shares that are, at first glance, concerning. You may think this is bad – the big players will suck up every competitor like a sponge and we’ll be left with a market dominated by big players and very little competition. Ultimately this will lead to higher prices and less choice for consumers. It’s a real life manifestation of ‘1984’. I don’t see it like that.

You see, the big boys are getting SO BIG that acquisitions of even medium sized enterprises just aren’t worth the hassle. Taking Apple as an interesting example, they could afford to buy a whole host of big names and chuck the Apple logo on their products. They could wipe every competitor off the planet if they really wanted – certainly when it comes to peripherals, speakers, Bluetooth gadgets and the like. Even giant software houses. So why don’t they? I suspect it has a lot to do with over complicating things for very little benefit to the bottom line. In a word, it’s pointless. They have so much money that absorbing the revenues of Xyz Corp really wound’t make much difference. This makes me feel much better about there always being space for the smaller players.

Take my joinery business as an example. IKEA are dominating the world of cheap furniture on a global scale. It’s now hard to find a house in the UK that doesn’t have at least something made by IKEA. Yet my joinery business is busier than it’s ever been. Perhaps by saving a bit of money on shelves or wardrobes folk have more to spend on something that matters such as built in bespoke units or a custom made coffee table. People are now actively hunting out products that make their houses a bit different and this is great news for me and a world of makers out there.

Things are busy and fortunately I don’t have enough time to worry about Brexit. Life goes on!

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Originally published: 1st August 2018
Last updated: 1st August 2018

Andy Mac