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self employment ideas

(18 Posts)
Coraline69 Wed 24-Jul-19 10:19:46

Good morning,
I have been thinking a lot lately about wanting to become self-employed. I currently work as an admin assistant at my local hospital and I pretty much hate every minute of it.
I've had a rocky road regarding work (I'm 50) I started out in the Air Force left and had a family, decided to become a teacher but had a breakdown, then a nurse, another breakdown!
So I've had 3 different admin jobs in the hospital and they weren't great, each one steadily worse than the last. I am completely sick of it tbh, worrying about work when I'm not in work etc etc.
I feel that I am a bit long in the tooth for yet another career change as you can understand, I have lost a bit of faith in that idea as it hasn't worked in the past.
It is not that I am work shy, I work really hard at whatever I do and I have never been criticised for the quality or voracity of my work, it is just the people I work with and for that I find soul destroying and the manner in which they treat me (I am the lowest band in the hospital ladder so I am the proverbial cat that gets kicked).
I am starting to think that being self-employed would suit me better but I do have a very large mortgage to pay for. I thought I could work on being self-employed alongside full-time work such as going to college (nightschool) and gaining qualifications possibly.
I want ideally work either part-time or be self-employed before I'm 60 so that I can carry that on for as long as I'm able to carry on.
The trouble is, I can't afford to sink £1000's into something that's not going to get me far.
I've thought about hairdressing (not well paid and maybe I'm too old)
Dog walking/grooming (I don't own a dog and I'm worried I'd have to fork out for a dog friendly van etc)
Nail technician (but is the market flooded with that anyway)
Counsellor/coaching (not sure of the costs but a friend of mine is a counsellor and she trained for 7 years and had to find all of her own placements!)

I would really love to hear your thoughts/experiences

Thanks xxx

Scribbles Wed 24-Jul-19 11:48:00

Maybe your first step should be to think long and hard about where your skills and interests lie and how these might be developed to provide a valuable service to others. In the 1960s, my mother made a decent freelance income from icing celebration cakes for people in our village and round about. It was something she had a flair for and word got around; eventually, she became so busy she had to turn down commissions.

For example, if you have a talent for sewing and dress making, then perhaps you could use this to offer a making/alteration/mending service locally? Advertise on local shop notice boards, local forums and free magazines and, if you're good, peop!e will beat a path to your door and recommend you to others.

It's a bit mundane but a really good and reliable cleaning lady is always in great demand. You might choose to be completely independent or to work through an agency.

Gardening skills? I have a female gardener who found herself needing to make a living when her spouse walked out after 20 years of marriage during which time she'd been a homemaker and had no experience or skills relevant to the local job market. She's conscientious and reliable and, three years in, becoming extremely busy.

Decorating, DiY and home maintenance? Many people require such services and many may prefer to employ a woman.

My feeling is that you should look at essential services which people will always want/need rather than "luxury" services such as finger nails, hair braiding, colour consultancy etc which are among the first things to go when recession strikes.

Daddima Wed 24-Jul-19 12:02:46

My friend makes a decent living as a ‘personal concierge’. She is usually asked to wait in someone’s home for repair people or deliveries, but will also do dog walking or cat feeding ( though she also feeds a monitor lizard when the owner is away). Someone else pays her to check on their elderly father and make him a light lunch.

MissAdventure Wed 24-Jul-19 13:14:24

You could be a p.a online.
I can't remember what the proper title is.
Alternatively, my friend set up her own cleaning business, and earned a fortune within 18 months.
All she did was put cards through letterboxes advertising herself.

glammanana Wed 24-Jul-19 13:26:52

If you have foody skills maybe do as a very good friend of mine did and advertise to supply finger food for buffets,she was very successful with weddings/funerals/christening etc .
She became that busy that she had 2 x staff to help her at most of the venues catered for, she kept her prices realistic and her menu's simple she totally cleaned up in the area she worked as she was recommended and well thought off.

Charleygirl5 Wed 24-Jul-19 13:28:31

I have spent days trying to find a podiatrist locally but for me, parking was the major problem. I have now found a mobile one who is coming tomorrow. I do not know what qualifications you would need for that or how long it would take.

Cleaning does not pay well and if you have a large mortgage that could be difficult.

Maybe rent a room?

shysal Wed 24-Jul-19 13:45:28

DD2 is learning to be a driving instructor. She is able to do the training while still doing her normal job. It costs a bit and wouldn't suit everybody, but the hours when qualified will be flexible and the income not bad.
I hope you come up with something to suit you.

Jane10 Wed 24-Jul-19 13:59:48

Cleaning / concierge type jobs could rack up a lot of good contacts quickly and with no initial outlay if you advertise carefully. You'd be in charge, could work the hours that you like and, if you didn't like the employers, you could just walk away.
Eg A good cleaner could ask £12-15 per hour. Better than NHS.
Use your typing skills to type up manuscripts etc for people who cant/don't type?

NanaandGrampy Wed 24-Jul-19 14:06:28

I think I would invest a little money and see a career counsellor . They can evaluate your skill set, you can discuss your options and they should be able to guide you towards making a decision.

Its often helpful to have a second point of view to evaluate the pros and cons .

Good Luck Coraline

Coraline69 Wed 24-Jul-19 22:04:01

Hello ladies,

Thank you so much for all of your wonderful advice. I will take all of it on board over the next few weeks and update you with what I decide to do.

I really appreciate the time you've taken to reply to me,


BradfordLass72 Thu 25-Jul-19 07:19:41

I used to do people's ironing.

Some good self-employed ideas have come from listening to people saying, 'I wish there was....' Or 'I wish I could find.....'
"someone to clean my oven"
"someone to put up shelves without charging the earth"
"someone to take down and clean all my curtains"
"someone to clean my inside windows"
Often the jobs others don't like doing are lucrative.

Basic handyperson and repair skills can be learned at night school or even some DIY stores run courses. Women living alone are often reluctant to ask a male workman into their homes.

My friend Judy makes patchwork quilts and sells them for over $1,000 a pop.
She used to make elaborated designs (Ohio Star, Wedding Ring ) and still will for a premium but now mostly sews simple squares which take no time at all - in fact the precision cutting out takes longer.

She picks up cheap or free cotton dresses and sheets from a charity shop (uses plain single sheets for the liner so the quilt itself can be taken off and washed) and uses buttons from the dresses as closures.

She's very creative with decorative braid and laces and has a real eye for colour.
They look spectacular when finished and one she made from crazy patchwork was 1st in a competition and sold for $5,000.
She told me it was the quickest and easiest to make of all her quilts.

Look at what you actually like to do as it will be a chore going into business if it's just for the dosh.

BlueBelle Thu 25-Jul-19 07:33:35

I can’t really help with the self employed bit as I think there are huge fall backs if one week you don’t earn enough and you still have a big old mortgage to pay and don’t have a second income ( husband earning) to fall back on, ironing, dog walking, gardening cleaning are not going to work without investment, time, and contacts they are add ons only and will bring in peanuts but I just wanted to say I got the best job ever and the best pay at the age of 53 and worked until I was 69 So please don’t think you are too long in the tooth at 50
Good luck anyway

oldgimmer1 Thu 25-Jul-19 07:46:17

I used to be self-employed as a piano teacher. It wasn't a living, and I ended up getting a job.

I'm wondering if there's scope for a form-filling service? I do this on a paid basis for a charity and there's so much demand for it, particularly benefits forms.

It would suit you skill set and wouldn't cost much to set up.

MamaCaz Thu 25-Jul-19 07:50:15

Others will correct me if I am wrong, but I think you can earn up to £1,000 a year without having to register as self-employed or fill in a self-employed tax return at the end of the year, so perhaps you could dip a toe in the water with one or more of your ideas before plunging right in?

Pantglas1 Thu 25-Jul-19 07:53:25

Dog walking seems to be very popular in north Wales- so many families out at work all day and need someone to take their pooch out for half an hour pooh break etc between 10-3. Nice little earner for 5-6 hours if all your clients are in the same town and you still get weekends free.

Itsnotme Fri 30-Aug-19 20:27:38

I used to be a self employed nail technician for 12 years. I got a good client base. It’s one of those jobs that you have to have enormous patience, a steady hand, eye for detail, precision, and bearing in mind you are face to face with your customer, you have to have a nice personality, and enjoy conversation whilst you create flawless perfect nails.

It’s £1000s for training and the industry is changing all the time. People think painting nails is easy. There’s extensions, gels, dip systems all with different product makes, which means different techniques,

It’s practice practice practice. I did nails for film stars and models, and yes it pays good money if you set it up right.

I loved it, and it’s enormous satisfaction when the client is thrilled with their new nails, but it’s demanding when you have a time limit in the fashion industry. You learn to work very fast with brilliant results. I miss it, but my life changed and I can’t go back to it just yet.

1960Gran Mon 07-Oct-19 06:40:45

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Jane10 Mon 07-Oct-19 06:51:27