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ebay selling tax

Selling online?

By | Finance, Work employment

Here’s what you need to know about taxes

With online shopping becoming more and more popular, e-commerce and online business start ups are growing at a rapid rate. In fact, according to the Business Data Group, the UK’s e-commerce start-up sector is booming at levels not seen before.

Research showed that in the week before the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown was announced, more than 500 e-commerce start-ups were formed. Five weeks later, that figure had risen exponentially to almost 1,300 e-commerce start-ups per week – around 800 more than the same week in 2019.

If you own an e-commerce business, or you’re thinking about starting one, then there are special rules and regulations for operating. Here, Zoe Gibbons, partner and e-commerce specialist at Perrys Chartered Accountants, explains what you need to know about selling online.

Do online sellers have to pay tax?
Setting up as an online business is a great way to keep overheads to a minimum and benefit from flexible working arrangements. However, like any other business, an e-commerce business will be subject to paying taxes.

If you are self-employed, including as an online seller, then you’ll need to complete an annual self-assessment tax return to disclose any income and expenditure and submit it online to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

However, there are some exceptions. For example, if you are selling items online and it is not part of a business activity, such as selling second-hand possessions on eBay, then you won’t need to pay tax. However, if you plan to do it regularly, this could count as a business even if you already have a job.

As of 2016, the Finance Act gave HMRC the authority to investigate the selling sites of individuals who do not appear to be declaring income. This is assessed based on the following criteria:
• Intention to make a profit as opposed to selling for fun or to raise emergency funds.
• Repetition of similar transactions over a short period of time.
• Borrowing money to fund transactions.
• Inability to prove items sold were pre-loved or used before being listed.
• Items sold at a fixed price in a similar way to other retailers.
• Limited time between purchase and selling of items.
• Modification of items in order to sell them for profit.

How much can you sell online before paying tax?
If you’re hoping to make a small amount of money from selling online, then the good news is HMRC currently allows for £1,000 to be earned in sales before any tax is payable.

However, even if you’re selling online on platforms such as eBay, Depop and Gumtree, and you’re not a registered business, once you pass the £1,000 earnings threshold you may be liable for tax as a self-employed individual.

What taxes do online businesses need to pay?
Depending on how your business is set up, the following taxes may apply:
• Income Tax
• Corporation Tax
• National Insurance
• VAT
• Employers’ PAYE
• Business rates

It is recommended that you seek the advice of a professional accountant for any e-commerce business tax related matters.

Is there an online sales tax?
In March 2020, HMRC introduced the Digital Services Tax – a 2% tax on the revenues of search engines, social media services and online marketplaces, which derive value from UK users. The majority of businesses affected by this tax are large multi-national enterprises, such as Amazon, Facebook and Google.

However, the UK Treasury is also investigating the options for introducing an online sales tax in response to the recent shift in shopping patterns and online consumer behaviour. Currently, it is considering a 2% online sales tax on e-commerce sellers and marketplaces.

This could mean that e-commerce businesses will need to pay 2% of tax on their online sales to UK customers.

Do you pay taxes when selling online to other countries?
If you sell goods online to customers who are overseas, then other considerations will apply. For example, your goods may require accompanying documentation and could be subject to customs duty and sales tax on arrival at their destination.

If you are in any doubt, then you should seek the assistance of a qualified accountant who has experience dealing with e-commerce businesses.

home work and studt

Unusual ways to make extra money

By | Finance, Work employment
by Peter Watton
OddsMonkey

More and more Brits are turning to side hustles to supplement their incomes, and you might want to make some extra cash too. Here, Peter Watton from OddsMonkey picks out the side hustles that are perfect for parents.

Many families across the UK have seen their monthly income drop throughout the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This has led more and more people to top up their income with side hustles, which are jobs you can do in your spare time. Our research has shown that some people are even earning up to £4,000 per year from their extra business – though the average amount is £230 per month.

Finding time to earn extra money can be challenging when you’re a parent, so it’s important to think about side hustles that can be done from home, or arranged around your childcare responsibilities. It’s also useful if your extra earner is easy to set up, is simple and doesn’t take up any space in your home.

This is why many online earning opportunities can be a smart way forward for parents who want some extra spending money. Below, I’ll share a few side hustles that are great for parents to fit in and do from home.

1. Dropshipping
You might have heard of dropshipping, as it’s used by sellers as big as Amazon, as well as many small online businesses. But, you might not know how to get started. Dropshipping is a way of selling items online without the need to acquire stock, meaning you don’t need to make space to keep products in your home.

Dropshippers find products, then advertise them, and order on behalf of customers from suppliers. So, you take on the public-facing duties of advertising and setting up an e-commerce website, and let the suppliers fulfil the orders.

To get started, you just need to find a product you like, and then set up a platform to advertise it. While this side hustle does require an initial investment of time, once it’s set up it can be a really good option, as you can set your own working hours and work on your business at home.

2. Matched betting
Matched betting is a way of making money that you might not know much about. This is method of betting that takes advantage of free offers from betting providers. By using these free offers, and betting on both outcomes of an event (such as a football game), you can guarantee that you’ll at least make your money back, even if you don’t make a profit.

There are lots of calculation websites that can help you work out what bets to take. It’s also worth noting that any earnings from matched betting are tax-free, whereas with other side hustles, you’ll need to pay income tax on any earnings over £1,000 per year. This side hustle does require investing time to learn the principles of matched betting, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s easy to do from home while watching your little ones.

3. Testing food products
Manufacturers need to do testing to see how customers will react to their new products before they hit the shops. You can get involved with this, and try some exciting new flavours while earning either money or vouchers! Plenty of food trials don’t even require you to leave your house either.

You’ll need to join a market research company as a consumer tester, as food manufacturers use these companies to get their focus group feedback. After you’ve filled out a survey to show the company what kind of demographic you fall into, they’ll send you samples to try out and give feedback on. This can be a fun, easy way to earn some extra money while also trying new things.

You should be aware however that there are some scam websites out there, so double-check that the company you find is genuine by reading reviews and contacting the manufacturer of some of the products offered for testing. They’ll be able to tell you that the market research firm is genuine, and then you can be sure you’re with a reputable company.

4. Renting out your things
You might not think of your belongings as being a potential source of income, but many people are increasingly making money by renting out their things. You can rent out everything from bicycles to musical and electrical equipment. You’ll just need to be at home for renters to pick them up and then give them back to you after use.

There are many websites where you can sign up and offer your items up for renting. A popular website for this is Fat Llama, which allows people to see items offered for renting in their area. Just take a photo of your items, set up an account, and add your town or city so people know where you are located.

5. Going on a game show
This one is the most fun out of all the potential side hustles. Lots of your favourite shows will be open to applications for contestants throughout the year and you can apply to be on them by using the BBC and ITV pages for applying to participate. Watch for when your favourite shows (or the ones you think you’ll excel at!) are open for contestants, and then try your hand at collecting some winnings.

Of course, you will need childcare as filming can’t take place at home – but this is a special occasion, so a babysitter is definitely in order. Lots of game shows are also filmed in one day, which helps when organising a babysitter or alternative activity for your children.

It can be overwhelming deciding what side hustle might work for you and lots of the advice about earning extra money doesn’t take into account the time you spend watching and looking after your children. But, these potential earners are all good for fitting in around your parental responsibilities, and working from home means you can balance them with family time too.

OddsMonkey are an industry leader in the world of matched betting, and are the original developers of the UK’s leading matched betting software.
To find out more, visit: www.oddsmonkey.com

The best of the best tips on being work smart

By | Work employment
by Emma Cleary
Flexibility Matters

A smart approach to work is critical right now, whether you’re looking for a completely new challenge with hours that suit you, or you want to freshen up your existing arrangement.

Over the pandemic, at Flexibility Matters we ran 20 online seminars where we were joined by industry leading specialists sharing their best tips on tackling the challenging work environment we were facing. From mentoring through furlough and redundancy to creating a killer CV and mastering LinkedIn, we continued to support both our candidates and clients with the tools to thrive. Here, we’ve picked out our favourite directives for you to be #worksmart and #workready right now.

LinkedIn. The must-have tool for getting yourself a job…
Kerry Watkins, Founder and MD of Social Brighton, advised that the key to creating the ideal LinkedIn networking profile is to treat it as you would a real-life networking event, to ensure you make more meaningful connections and see greater impact. Kerry says: “Your profile, in a nutshell, needs to highlight what you want people to know about you and how you want them to feel about you. It then needs to be easy for them to do what you want them to do.” Kerry’s top tips include:
• The headline is your badge at a networking event. It will follow you around the room, so the 120 characters need to state exactly what you do and be compelling.
• The about section is your chance to expand on your headline with the top three things you want people to know, feel and remember about you. These can be your skills, approach to work or personality, but they need to be authentic.
• The featured section backs up the ‘about section’, making your profile more colourful. Add to it articles you have written, videos you have made or projects you have worked on.

Creating a killer CV that beats the bots…
Ali Waters, Recruitment Trainer and Consultant, took us through how to work around the automated CV rejecter algorithms, and once through to human eyes and interview stage, what an employer really wants to know.

Ali points out that, the automated CV gatekeepers strip out the formatting of CVs and cover letters and scans for keywords that match the job specification, scoring accordingly. So, customising each of your applications is extremely important. This can be done by mirroring the keywords found in the job spec within your CV and focusing on hard skills – job-specific abilities or knowledge learned through education. #toptip: Copy and paste the job description into an online keyword generator and use the results within your application.

To impress the human eye, make sure your CV is simple, concise, and achievement-based, avoiding cliches such as ‘attention to detail’ and ‘good team player’. Also, the career summary list of responsibilities and achievements needs to be re-prioritised according to the job specification list of requirements.

At interview stage Lynn Tulip RCDP, Career Transition Coaching recommends, firstly, celebrating reaching interview stage as that’s a win in itself. She also points out that you are interviewing the business as much as they are interviewing you – so think about whether you fit with them culturally and in terms of beliefs and ethics.

Ask yourself, can you do the job? And do you really WANT the job? Research the company and the job requirements and practice the open, closed, behavioural, situational and competency questions in combination with your CV – examples and evidence are critical. #toptip: Connect with employees who already work at the company you want to work for.

Embracing change and pivoting your career
Lucy Freeborn from North Star Consulting, a life-coach specifically trained to help women switch up their lifestyles, took us through the fundamentals on how to pivot our careers and change direction.

As a first step, we were introduced to the Kubler-Ross Change Curve, which explains that change is a process and one we will always move through. By taking control of this process, we are then empowered to see beyond the ‘shock’ of an initial big change and see the bigger picture of what could lie beyond.

When identifying our values and passions, Lucy explains that our values are our sacred ground and the way to measure our own success. Staying in a profession, a relationship or a situation that doesn’t sit well with our values leads to discomfort or ‘hollow’ success. Reconnecting with our values will help to establish what direction we should go in.

Creating realistic goals and putting a robust plan in place allows us to make big changes to our professional life as it forces us to recognise what has stopped us from achieving success in the past, so we can seek the support needed for it not to happen again.

For more on being #worksmart and #workready, see our full suite of expert tips on our website: www.flexibilitymatters.co.uk/news

Flexibility Matters match talented professionals with roles outside of the 9-5, from full-time flex to part-time and consultancy, devising a flexible working strategy that suits both businesses and employees. Register on www.flexibilitymatters.co.uk or get in touch directly on email: emma@flexmatters.co.uk.

 

 

Go-get-em

Flexible and hybrid working is here to stay – make it work for you

By | Work employment

The global COVID-19 crisis has transformed the face of work for millions. With many businesses now taking on a more blended approach to remote and office-based work, ‘flexible working’ is well and truly here to stay. The enforced need to adapt has fundamentally changed the way companies are run and has shown that many jobs can and are being done remotely, part-time or with compressed hours – and with great success.

At Flexibility Matters we have been actively championing this necessary business change for the past six years. Matching businesses with results-oriented professionals that simply need a flexible approach to their work hours, has meant that we understand very well the key requirements for successful partnerships.

During the lockdown period we launched a new service specifically designed to support businesses to maintain projects whilst teams were scattered or unable to work. Experts in their fields, such as Marketing, HR and Finance, Flexibility Matters Consultants worked on an agreed day rate and on continual rolling contracts. It was a great example of flexible workers being able to adapt to suit business demands and we were delighted at how well this worked for both our candidates and businesses.

We’ve been reporting for years that flexible workers are more focussed, productive, and happy and we know the key ingredients to being a successful one.

Whether you’re looking for a completely new challenge working hours that suit your circumstances or you need full workplace flexibility such as home-based work, for parenting or carer reasons, here are just a few of our top tips to being remote or flexible work capable:

• Flexible working enabling tech.

Ensure you have a reliable and secure Internet connection, especially for video calls. Plus, have the software and hardware tools that you need to be 100% remote working effective, such as Microsoft Teams, Office 365 and Zoom.

• Set yourself up for success in your workspace.

Whether this means you find a great co-working space near you or a designated area at home that makes you feel focussed and motivated.

• Be clear in your communications.

Conversing remotely removes a lot of the extra information gained from the visual and audio cues of speaking in person. So, make sure you recognise this, and that communication is extra clear and timely and that it builds trust between you and your employers.

• Know when to log-off.

The best part of working remotely is having the flexibility to work when you are most productive, so be careful about setting the expectation that you are available 24/7 and set clear boundaries between work and life.

• Be adaptable.

Being adaptable is a big part of being flexible and it should work for both you and your employer. Being willing to, on occasion, step outside of your core working hours to accommodate something business critical will secure a successful flexible partnership.

At Flexibility Matters, flexible working is at our core and we are uniquely positioned to resource for this new ‘normal’.
If you’re a professional looking for a flexible career role, take a look at our website and register with us today:
www.flexibilitymatters.co.uk, or get in touch with me on 0781 0541 599 or email: emma@flexmatters.co.uk.

www.flexibilitymatters.co.uk

Meet the women leading ‘the flex movement’!

By | family, Finance, Work employment
by Emma Cleary
Flexibility Matters

This year’s International Women’s Day, #ChooseToChallenge, is for me the perfect reminder of all the fabulous women I’ve encountered on my journey who have inspired me to continue championing flexible working and its benefits.

As the founder of Flexibility Matters, I started my flexible work journey out of the necessity to find a job in Sussex that accommodated three nursery aged children! Flex is fundamental to work and life and I’ve made it my mission to find flexible roles for talented and experienced parents to allow them to continue to progress their careers.

At a pivotal webinar on ‘How Covid-19 made working flexibly business critical’, some of the wonderfully flexible ladies I’ve met along the way and some of whom I work with now, were able to reveal their most important insights on busting the nine to five working myth.

Jane Galloway, Head of Flexible Working at NHS England, and NHS Improvement said: “In general, increasing access to flexible working options increases staff engagement, and we know that in the NHS, good staff engagement leads to better patient care.”.

Dagmar Albers, UK Diversity & Inclusion Lead, who has been avidly working within Pfizer to roll out team pact workshops on informal flexible working agreements, revealed: “Once teams agree a pact, they are then able to work at a time and place best for them in terms of productivity, energy and of course positive outcomes, whilst effectively managing commitments outside of work. It is about the outcome produced and not the number of hours worked and about trusting each other to deliver in a way that works for them”.

Jessica Hornsby, Organisational Capability Lead has been working within Thales on fundamentally shifting the mindset around flexible working, that they now term SMART working, for over four years. She saw many assumptions smashed by COVID-19. The most impactful being how few roles ‘have’ to be office based.

Another remarkable lady, Ursula Tavender, Learning and Development Specialist and Co-Director of Flexpo, has been leading the charge on flex and equality in the workplace for over 5 years now. Ursula says: “Flexible working is the most powerful tool we have in the working world to make sure that everyone, whatever their circumstances, has equal access to meaningful work and equal opportunity to progress. It has always been the key to closing pay gaps, and now it has also become the key to our ability to build back better as we navigate the phases of the pandemic. We’ve learned so much during this past year about what’s possible; now is the time to leverage the opportunity in front of us to change the world of work forever.”

For the past six years Flexibility Matters have been matching businesses with results-oriented professionals that need a flexible approach to their work hours. Whilst influencing business mindsets and challenging traditional cultures has not been simple, with a little push from a pandemic that chose to challenge us all, it now feels like a more flexible approach to work is here to stay.

We’ve been reporting for years that flexible workers are more focused, productive and happy and we know the key ingredients to being a successful one. Whether you’ve been made redundant or you’re simply looking for a brand new flexible challenge, get in touch on 07810 541599 or register at www.flexibilitymatters.co.uk

Divorce is changing for the better

By | family, Finance, Legal, Relationships, Work employment
by Rachael House
Senior Associate Solicitor, Family Law, Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors

What is the current divorce law in this country?
Under current divorce law, if you and your spouse have not been separated for two years or more you can only get divorced by showing that your spouse has committed adultery or behaved in such a way that you cannot tolerate living with them (known as unreasonable behaviour). Only then will a court grant you a divorce.

Adultery and unreasonable behaviour divorces are known as ‘fault-based’ divorces and usually increase acrimony between spouses. For example, to demonstrate that your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot tolerate living with them, you have to write some unpleasant words about them and their behaviour. For your spouse who is at the receiving end of these unkind words it can cause them distress and make them even more unhappy with you, when tensions may already be running high. This type of divorce is especially unhelpful where there are children of the family, as relationships between parents can deteriorate further at a time when it is more important than ever for parents to work co-operatively.

Over the years, the Government has been reluctant to reform divorce law, believing that making it easier for couples to divorce would somehow undermine the sanctity of marriage and increase the rates of divorce.

What is changing?
In 2017, a national survey carried out by the Nuffield Foundation found that in fault-based divorces 62% of petitioners (those instigating the divorce) and 78% of respondents (those at the receiving end of a divorce) said that using fault had made the process more bitter, 21% of respondents said fault had made it harder to sort out arrangements for children, and 31% of respondents thought fault made sorting out finances harder.

In 2020 the Government passed the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill following lengthy campaigning by family lawyers. The Bill paves the way for a new divorce process where blame does not have to be attached to one party.

The general consensus amongst family lawyers is that the changes do not make the physical process of divorce any easier and certainly no quicker than the current system. The huge benefit of the changes, however, is that the process will be far less acrimonious and emotionally damaging for all those involved.

When can I get divorced under the new law?
The new law will come into force in autumn 2021 (no exact date has been set as yet) so there is still some time to wait.

Once the new law is in force, you will be able to proceed with a divorce by providing a ‘statement of irretrievable breakdown.’ The current two-stage process, decree nisi and decree absolute, will remain and a minimum timeframe of six months will be set from the date of the petition to decree absolute. There will also be an option for you and your spouse to issue a joint divorce petition.

What if I still want to get divorced now without blaming my spouse?
If you want to press ahead with a divorce now without attributing blame, then if you have been separated for two years or more you can get divorced on the basis of ‘two years separation’ – provided your spouse consents. If your spouse is not going to consent then you can only get divorced without attributing blame if you have been separated for five years or more.

If the above routes are not a viable option for you but you still wish to formalise the financial matters of a separation immediately, then you can enter into a separation agreement with your spouse – provided they co-operate – to divide up the finances of the marriage with a view to divorcing once the new law comes into force. At the point of divorce, your separation agreement can be converted by a family lawyer into a court order. It will then become legally binding under matrimonial law once a judge approves the order.

What shall I do next?
If you are unsure as to whether to press ahead with your divorce or to wait a while, it is important to find out more about the legal options available to you by contacting a family lawyer for advice.

Rachael House is a specialist family solicitor at Mackrell Turner Garrett, an established firm of experienced Solicitors based in Woking. www.mtgsurrey.co.uk

FLEXIBLE is the new working normal – are you equipped?

By | Finance, Relationships, Work employment
by Emma Cleary
Flexibility Matters

With a recent employee survey revealing that more than nine in 10 working parents and carers want their workplace to retain flexible working indefinitely* and another reporting that 28% of employers believe the increase in homeworking has increased productivity**, COVID-19 has shifted the working pattern mindset to flexible.

And, whilst the version of flexible working parents had been experiencing during the lockdown period was not ideal, what it has done is prove that flexibility can be possible in so many more jobs than previously thought.

The shift towards greater use of home working will make work more accessible and sustainable for all, particularly for those with caring responsibilities, and at the same time support employers to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce. Whilst employers are having to fully embrace telecommuting and reduced, or part-time work, flexible workers are having to match this with an open and adaptive attitude to new technology, training and performance management.

As a working parent, whether your current work has changed shape significantly or you’re embarking on a completely new career path, flexible working is becoming the new normal and being properly equipped for it is more important than ever. No one understands this more than us who, since 2014, have been working with employers and talented candidates filling roles outside of the traditional 9-5 working hours. To help you become fully job ready for the ‘new normal’ flexible world of work, we’ve put together some suggestions on where to start.

Understand your transferable skills
Identify the transferable skills and experience drawn from your entire career and from any periods between work. This will allow you to reveal skills and knowledge that you may not have initially considered and highlight all that you have to offer, widening your options and opportunities. Make sure you showcase these in your CV and LinkedIn profile.

Do your research
Ensure you are familiar and skilled with the latest remote working technology and that of your target industry. Educate yourself with up to date industry trends and news and identify where you may need to upskill according to what role you want to be considered for.

Have you learnt a new skill to showcase?
Have you recently learnt a new skill that you are able to showcase? This could be award-winning time-management acquired from juggling home-schooling, freelance working and everything else thrown your way! It could also be an industry related course completed online that might just make that small difference when being considered for a particular role.

* A survey of over 1,000 UK parents and carers of children aged 18 and under by Charity Working Families (Jun 2020)

**A survey of 1,046 employers by cipd.co.uk/. (July 2020)

At Flexibility Matters, we’re not only matching flexible working talent to their ideal job roles in businesses around Sussex, but we also offer free events, such as networking and interview workshops to help all our members, whatever their backgrounds. Register on www.flexibilitymatters.co.uk or get in touch with us directly on email: emma@flexmatters.co.uk Tel: 0781 0541 599.

feet bed family

Beat ‘burnout’ by working flexibly – enjoy your work and your life!

By | Education, Work employment

With 87% of all full-time employees either working flexibly already or wanting to and 40% stating they would choose flexible working over a pay-rise*, having a flexible approach to work is certainly in demand, especially with working parents. But Emma Cleary from Flexibility Matters asks, are businesses meeting this demand?

It appears that at least 25 companies around Sussex and Surrey are, and they have carved out a blueprint for more businesses to follow suit and successfully implement flexible working within their cultures. Over a series of roundtable collaborations, senior members of organisations including Leaders, Brandwatch and Thales shared some of their challenges, but most importantly their tried and tested solutions to realising flexible success.

In terms of undeniable business benefits, it’s becoming more and more clear that a flexible workforce improves productivity and decreases absenteeism and companies committing to this way of working are attracting and retaining the best talent. “If you want to hold on to talent, you have to be an organisation that works for your employees” says fully flexible worker, Jess Hornsby from Thales who contributed to the collaborations.

Alison Prangnell, a Marketing Manager and Stress Management Consultant from Hassocks, reveals that, since becoming a full-time flexible worker, she not only enjoys her work, but also her life!

Alison worked in senior management roles for technology and cyber security businesses around the South East for several years. Yet following a period of burnout, caused by excessive and prolonged stress, she decided to change the shape of her work completely. She now works 25 hours per week remotely as Head of Marketing for Workhorse and the rest of her time as a freelance Stress Management Consultant at her own business, Anderida Coaching. Spending her time flexibly, switching between streams of work that both interest her and provide value, means that she now enjoys both her work and her life.

Alison says “At Workhorse, I’m contracted on results. I also have another job – to help employees understand how to manage stress effectively for their health, happiness and work/life balance, so that they don’t find themselves at burnout. This is my passion job. My flexible working arrangement at Workhorse means I am also able to pursue this long held dream”.

For working parents, getting the balance of childcare and work responsibilities just right can be challenging, so, what can you do to ensure you’re making flexible working a reality for yourself?

Getting your CV up to scratch is key. Keep it to two pages, don’t be afraid to explain any career breaks, highlight all transferable skills and include a succinct personal profile that you can adapt per application. An accompanying cover letter that cites recent trends in the sector relevant to the role you are applying for will help you stand out. And lastly, focusing on your LinkedIn profile is a great way to get in contact with old colleagues and clients as well as educating yourself about up to date industry trends.

At Flexibility Matters, we’re not only matching flexible working talent to their ideal job roles in businesses around Sussex, Surrey and South London, but we’ve also got some super helpful tools on our website. These include a series of top tips from nailing interviews to writing personal profiles and a CV Builder, designed to get your most important skills and experience noticed.

*Source: Timewise Flexible Job Index

Register on www.flexibilitymatters.co.uk or get in touch directly on email: emma@flexmatters.co.uk, Tel: 0781 0541 599. For the blueprint on implementing flexible working, go to our website contact page and message: ‘please can you send me the full 10-point best practice guide’.

Are you work ready? A guide to stepping back in

By | Education, family, Work employment
by Emma Cleary
Flexibility Matters

This summer you may be preparing to send your little ones off to school in September, making way for some time when its finally about you again. It may be time for you to step back into your existing career or a completely new one and if you’ve been out of the workplace for a while it can seem daunting diving back in.

No-one understands these challenges more than flexible recruitment experts Flexibility Matters who, since 2007, have been working with employers and talented mums filling roles outside of the traditional 9-5 working hours. Dedicated to flexible recruiting, best practice in flexible working, events and training, here they share their step by step guide to getting work ready after a career break.

Regain your confidence by understanding your skills
The very first step is to regain a handle on who you are in the workplace and what you really want from it, acknowledging the practical elements such as pay, commute and environment. Identify your talents (what you are good at naturally) and do a soft and hard skills audit categorising your strengths. This exercise alone will show you the unique offerings you have, affirming your value.

Identify, as well, your transferable skills and experience drawn from your entire career and from any career breaks. Doing this will reveal that you have even more to offer than you may have initially considered – widening your options.

If you feel out of touch with the latest technology and market trends of your target industry, don’t just worry about it – do something about it. Do some research and find out what you need to be back on top.

Perfect your CV
Now you have a handle on your potential and direction, you’re able to present yourself with confidence in your CV, keeping in mind that it will work best for you if you tailor it to the individual roles you apply for.

Keep it to two pages and don’t be afraid to explain any career break, highlighting all the new transferable skills and personal strengths you’ve gained during it. Start with a succinct and authentic personal profile that you can adapt to individual roles to instantly convince the hiring manager of your qualifications and experience that match the job requirements.

Create an adaptable cover letter too and, to demonstrate you have done your homework and are up to date, cite challenges and recent trends in the sector relevant to the role you are applying for.

Create a dazzling LinkedIn profile
A LinkedIn profile is an absolute must for any job seeker but particularly important when you have had a career break. It’s the perfect way to get in contact with old colleagues and clients as well as educating yourself with up to date industry trends and news.

Your opening headline and summary are key – use the headline space to showcase your specialism or area of focus and the summary to concisely convey your professional history, qualifications and personality.

Fit in some interview practice
You may be nervous about the prospect of a job interview, so get some practice in using friends and family – perfecting a confident hand-shake with lots of eye contact.

Make sure you know your CV inside out as it generally structures the process. Be clear on what your project examples are in response to competency-based questions.

If you’ve been out of an office for a long while, you may want to get yourself back into a workplace zone and think about the image you want to present based on the roles you are seeking. A wardrobe review may be in order or it could be a great excuse to visit the High Street for a confidence boosting revamp.

Get yourself out there!

At Flexibility Matters, we are not only matching flexible working talent to their ideal job roles in businesses around Sussex, but we also offer free events, such as networking and interview workshops to help all our members, whatevertheir backgrounds, get there.

Register on www.flexibilitymatters.co.uk or get in touch with us directly on email: emma@flexmatters.co.uk, Tel: 07810 541 599.

Should I go self-employed?

By | family, Finance, Work employment
by Emma Cleary
Ten2Two Sussex

We’re told top talent is scarce to find at the moment. As a flexible recruiter, Ten2Two Sussex has lots of brilliant professional talent on its books. But not everyone can find the flexible employment they’re seeking as they care for children or ageing parents.

1. Going self-employed to find flexibility
For those working mums seeking part-time jobs, and finding it a tough act to get into, it’s no surprise many turn to self-employment as their main way to keep the balls juggling in the air. If you’re able to go freelance or self-employed, it’s an attractive option where school holidays are concerned.

Not only that, but when the school plays or assemblies crop up, you’re able to plan your hours and be there without feeling like you’re asking your boss for another ‘favour’.

2. Looking at the long-term picture
Many working mums seeking part-time jobs often start their own businesses, as we know. It helps to fill a gap of time while children are very young and often sleeping indiscriminately. But if the business is far removed from your original line of work, and you find that if you want to get back into that work later on, it’s not always the easy option after all.

While the initial years of child rearing can be tougher than any paid job you’ll ever do, they don’t last forever. We say you should always take a long-term view of your career.

3. Talk to a flexible recruiter
If you’re considering your career options after starting a family, self-employment isn’t necessarily the only option on the table.
More and more flexible recruiters are appearing.

Ten2Two has been operating for eleven years now as a flexible recruitment agency in Sussex and our role is specifically to recruit for professional jobs that are local. Register with Ten2Two and we’ll tell you about professional roles that are suited to your skills and experience.

4. Think wage negotiation
A tough market brings other employment concerns, like wage negotiation. The self-employed professionals we know are often being asked to reduce their rates. This can affect confidence, forcing the contractor to feel a lack of self-worth or recognition.

When you work at home by yourself, this isn’t so great. But hold your nerve – if you’re being asked to earn less than you did ten years’ ago, there’s something wrong. Say no and you won’t look back – other work usually turns up. Say yes, and it could get sticky, particularly if you face other obstacles down the line.

5. Can you work from home?
When you’re self-employed, there’s a strong chance you’ll be working from home. Yes, you can catch up on the washing, but some people find it hard to focus at home and others miss the companionship of having colleagues to talk to.

It can also make certain parts of a job more challenging, depending on what you do. Others find the time more productive, without having to do a long commute.

Still not sure whether to go self-employed?
If you’re not sure whether to go self-employed, take heart. More and more employers are seeing the benefits of flexible workers, and we’re slowly seeing a shift towards part-time senior briefs as employers get great skills for less than a full-time wage.

Ultimately, self-employment isn’t the only option on the table for working parents. It might sound cheesy, but it’s best to always take your time making your decision and stay true to yourself.

If you’d like to register with flexible recruitment agency Ten2Two Sussex, please contact Emma Cleary at 07810 541599 or email emma@ten2two.org today.
Or if you’re a business in the local area, get in touch to see how flexible workers can help your organisation this year.