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Forums  /  Public discussions - anyone can read  / Self employed  / Being self employed
Being self employed

Posted Wed 27 Oct 2010 20:09

Does anyone have any experience of being self employed as a single parent being reliant on benefits?

I've been self employed before and would like to be again but am currently reliant on benefts. If I start being self employed again it will be some time before I actually generate any income from it, and even longer before I generate a regular income that I could actually live off of and what I have found out so far it seems that it could be very difficult to try and do it from being on benefits so if anyone has any experience I'd love to talk about it.
edited by Losana on 27/10/2010

Posted Tue 09 Nov 2010 18:45

hi louisa
i was self employed a few years ago and still recived tax credits so that helped and from what the job centre has told me this still applies if you are working and earning for over 16 hours a week. also if you are on income support or jobssekers allowance for ovcer 6 months i think it is they will pay your rent and council tax for a month after you start work and they give you a payment for going back to work which i think they said was a one off payment of £200 or it could be £250 which doesn't need to be paid back. but ring the gingerbread helpline as they have all the facts and figures for benefits and could tell you exactly where you stand. there number is 08088020925.
nicky (moderator)

Posted Sun 21 Nov 2010 18:50

I've gone self-employed this year but I 'm not entirely sure of when I have to hand in accounts Jan or April. I presume I will hear from tax office or whoever! still maintaining my freedom and not having to go to job centre is good.

Posted Sun 28 Nov 2010 21:15

By hand in accounts do you mean complete your tax return? If so then register to do it online as it's far easier and you get longer . Don't bank on the tax office contacting you though, all the dates and info you'll need are on their website so be pro-active - they don't accept 'I didn't know' as an excuse . If you're a sole trader you don't need to actually hand your accounts books over to anyone but you do have to keep them, though they can be very simple depending on what your business is, mine has very few actual outgoings so books were simple , in case the tax office decides to check up on yoru tax return. I found all that side of things quite easy when I was self employed before but I was married and had my hubbies income to live off of in lean times and I am really not sure how it would work without that second family income, if I loose benefits due to simply being self employed (which has been suggested by one advice source will happen, though another said I'd get more which makes no sense what so ever to me) but have no income at all since I could actually be working for absolutely nothing just to get myself back into work and established, winning the contracts etc, for a long time then it's an impossible situation.

Posted Fri 10 Dec 2010 22:10


I think it's all pretty much dependent on your hours worked and your income as to what you can get. I currently just work 5 hours a week and don't make much so get Income Support. However, after Christmas I'm going to up my hours to 16 which should start to generate more income. That way I'll be eligible for Working Tax Credit as well as the Child Tax Credit I already get.

If you work 16 hours or more your WTC will help you out, you just need to keep them informed of changes. And you'll still get Housing benefit, and Council Tax benefit, and again the amount you'll get will depend on your income as it goes up. If you work for 30 hours or more then you'll qualify for another element of Tax Credit but I don't know so much about that.

You just have to keep whatever agency you are dealing with informed about your probable income. And yes, register and do your tax return on-line. Very very easy if your income is under £15,000.

Posted Tue 05 Jun 2012 12:41

I have recently returned back to being self employed and made sure before I came of Income Support I accessed as much free support as possible and all entitlements. The support service wasn't the best but I received the Job Grant of £250 and the advisor told me there was a discretionary fund which gave me money in the form of vouchers to get smart work clothes for meetings including shoes. They also paid for a bus pass for a month and I claimed In-Work credit which is £40 per week for 52 weeks. If I didnt ask them about these things, I wouldn't have been offered! Direct.gov.uk were very helpful in providing me with information. More than likely you are still on a low income so will get Working Tax Credits alongside Child Tax Credits, Housing and Council Tax Benefit and a free NHS prescriptions etc with a Tax Credit Exemption Card you get sent.

Hope that helps :-)

Posted Sat 24 Nov 2012 11:10

Best thing I did was going self employed!!! Didn't earn much, if anything, for a good few months - till now - as I had to invest a lot of time into writing things and designing. Now it will start to pay off and I long for a live free of benefits of any kind!!!!!!!! I started with the New Enterprise Scheme - yes they give you £250 bonus, and £65 per week for 12 weeks, then £32 for next 12 weeks. On top of that I got working tax credit and child tax cred which helps me survive quite nicely! I am MUCH better off doing this than I was on JSA - that was hell, and often had no food left at the end of the week, really a big nightmare. I am glad I did this - I can work from home mostly, and now I have prospects I didn't have before; I can envisage a lot of money coming in in the next year; and it's not the importance of the money but self-worth and dignity, and using your knowledge and skills effectively. I also found the way of doing this business with veryyyyyyyyyy little money input!!!!! You can just find something simple to sell as a "second" income stream - sell it on ebay, do it properly as a business account - anything - just collect petals and dry them, collect seeds, packet them in mini handmade envelopes using paper bags cut up! I grew loads of cuttings of plants and sold them cheaply to get income to start the main business!! Anything works! Good luck , Liz x

Posted Tue 17 Dec 2013 10:10

I am currently on jsa a single mum of 5 years and have 7 yr old boy. I told job centre advisor I wanted to go self employed and she has put me in touch with an organisation called WENTA. I have been given an advisor and i have an appt. with her in the morning. I hope this will be the start of my life back as over the past 5 years or so I feel I have lost who I am and i've not felt myself and have become very introvert which is how I was when I was a child/teenager. Have not been happy at all and have simply felt like Iv just been 'existing'. I have the most amazing boy who I can't imagine life without now but I have felt I have missed alot of his childhood as I have had chronic depression since he was 6 months old and since then I have been on/off every anti depressant in the book and every benefit in the book. I gave up on anti depressants a few months ago and tried talking cbt therapy but that didnt help. Have now got apt see doc again this week to see if there is any other help available as am still struggling with the depression and anxiety on a daily basis. My main problem in life which has always held me back from my goals is my chronic lack of confidence as a person and lack of positivity. I just want so desperately to be a more positive person and get my life back and who I was back. I would love to hear from any single mums/parents who have had a similar experience or have set up business /gone through the WENTA programme. x

Posted Fri 31 Jan 2014 13:03

Hi I'm a single mum to two girls age 6 & 10. I work 16 hours a week but want to start my online clothes shop to enable me to work around my daughters and holidays , etc. I've found a good wholesaler and have the space at home to store the goods. The problem I'm having though is understanding all the technical bits that come with setting up an "online business". I was thinking about setting up a "selling page" on Facebook but how do I go about taking payment? Also ebay, do I have to register as a business & set up an ebay shop? If there is anyone on here that has done anything similar to this & is able to give me some guidance that will be much appreciated. I'm starting up on a small scale but hope that it will progress into something more encouraging

Posted Tue 19 May 2015 14:11

Hello.What sort of seeds did u sell and are u still managing to earn enough self emp pls?Thanks

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