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Posted by Sandra Mary Smith, Mar 17 2011 5:07PM

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moral support

Hi,
would anyone like to offer me some encouragement and pearls of wisdom ! Im fairly new to this line of work and have been self-employed as a therapist since november last year. Im still trying to get my head around bookeeping/tax etc and clients are scarce. Im in the process of HMRC workshops which are hard going and am in touch with businesslink. Its just all foreign to me! Is it just a matter of time? or am I being a bit slow! Any comments would be appreciated :) Sandra
Angela Rawlins
Mar 17 2011 5:19PM
Hi Sandra

I'm in the lucky position OR NOT of living with an Accountant, Auditor and a trainee tax inspector!! My husband, the Accountant said to me: Keep a record of you incomings and out goings - simple! With regards to tax, he sorts that for me:) See if you can find an accountant or some one who can help. Accountants fees may be expensive and the self assessment forms are a challenge.

Keep going:)
Roushan Martens
Mar 17 2011 6:08PM
Chin up! The start is the hardest part, honestly. Think of this as a great period of time that you won't have again once you're busy, to do any reading and study that you're interested in. Where at all possible, get treatments yourself of the therapies you are practicing - it gives you really important learning that will carry over to your clients, who will be more and more impressed. It also helps reduce the stress and worry of the lean times!

Try and arrange swaps with people from your course, or other therapists. Even try out some different therapies, so you will have personal experience if clients mention them (not suggesting that you give advice on therapies you aren't trained in, just that you will have more understanding of your clients' experience).

Network with other therapists who do different therapies to you, and do swaps with them, so they can experience how great you are, and recommend you if their clients want to try your therapy. Tax, hmm, you either deal ok with it or you don't. I find the self-assessment online ok, but understand that it is alienating to a lot of people. If it's really freaking you out, then find a bookkeeper. They're not cheap, I'm afraid. You could always suggest paying them in treatments, but I've not yet come across any bookkeepers that are mad about the idea...

Good luck!
Roushan
Amanda Clegg
Mar 18 2011 3:59PM
Hi there

As Angela's husband says, keep records. I keep a simple cashbook of ins and outs and all the relevant reciepts. You also need to keep all motoring related bills if you are mobile - even carwash, oil, maps etc. as your accountant can claim a proportion of hte whole costs. Similarly your laundry items go on expenses and my accounts lady reminded me that the washing machine can be classed as a capital expense (and tumble dryer too, when/if I need a new one). I have great lady in essex that does my tax return for me, and is not too expensive. If you want a formal set of accounts you'll have to pay a bit more, but honestly, money well spent as you'll save not only on tax but also on time and worry. Let me know if you want any contact details
Nikki Watson
Mar 21 2011 12:32PM
Hi Sandra

You are not alone don't worry!

I officially became a self employed therapist in january this year - so far I've had 5 clients! I did expect the beginning to be hard; but what I had not truly realised until I started putting my name out in the public domain is that there are an awful lot of other therapists in this area! I do believe in what I do though and as i am also studying at the same time I am not too worried that the clients aren't beating down my door. It would be nice to have money coming in though. At the moment it all seems like money going out!

i was really scared about the tax side. As I am blind I don't find the paperwork side of things easy at the best of times. However, My husband was made redundant last year and he is more than happy to deal with it on my behalf. I have also found business links and HMRC extremely helpful. I'm about to go on my second HMRC course.

When I started training I was told that once you start work the 1st 2 years are the hardest. We'll get there though.

Good luck and best wishes.

Nikki
Sandra Mary Smith
Mar 21 2011 1:01PM
Thanks to all of you above who have taken time to reply. I know this is just a rough patch but at the moment it is really hard going. Im working hard though, putting into place the legal/paperwork side of things, everytime I think Iv finished something else comes to my attention or something needs changing. A fellow therapist advised me to 'keep it simple' but I have found to keep on top of all the neccesary simple isnt enough.On a brighter but 'scarier' note, Im doing a short talk/demo on saturday at a local patchwork group and am hoping to interest someone there ! Thanks again Sandra :)
Nicki Lee
Mar 22 2011 11:51AM
Congratulations on getting going in your business! And a very good idea to make sure you start of the 'business' part properly.
When I first started a long time ago, I didn't make much the first year and didn't want to pay an accountant so I did it myself. It took three days, going though the self assessment form question by question, and many calls to the revenue helpline. But I got there, and the next year it took 1-1/2 days with a few less calls, and so on. Now it's online it's easier. Keep strict accounts and total them monthly which is so much easier. Online there is a help box for all the questions which can be very helpful, and they are on the end of the phone (just don't leave it until end of Jan when it's hard to get through). The good news (sort of) is if you make under a certain amount you don't have to separate all your expenses into categories.
If you really feel daunted by doing it yourself you could have an accountant do it the first year to put you on the right track. To save money, though, don't just hand them a box of receipts, have your figures ready for them as that should reduce costs. Check around other therapists to find an accountant used to working with our industry and very small businesses.
Good luck! It's really not that bad.
Nicki
Amanda Clegg
Mar 22 2011 1:11PM
useful thread on 'allowable expenses' http://www.ctha.com/Forums/?b=9520&login=1
Sandra Mary Smith
Mar 22 2011 1:34PM
Thanks Amanda, that link is to another of my many questions ! Thanks anyway :)

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