Category Archives: self-employment

Friday Featured Opportunity: part-time tutoring in Cumbria

tutors needed

Cumbria Clever Tutors is a professional provider of private one-to-one home tutors in a range of school based and professional study subjects in the Cumbria area, which includes Carlisle, Penrith, Workington, Cockermouth, Whitehaven, Kendal and the surrounding area. They are looking for tutors in a wide range of disciplines including:  Science, mathematics, English and other related subjects, and would like to hear from post-graduate students to tutor  across all levels from primary to GCSE and A-level and above.

They are looking for degree qualified people with an interest in teaching, tutoring and helping others with a passion for their subject, to deliver one-to-one tuition within various towns across Cumbria. The candidate will be degree qualified with some experience either in tutoring, teaching, mentoring, supervising, lecturing, training, or generally helping others to succeed in life. You will need to be available during or  after school hours and some weekdays.  It would be helpful if you had your own transportation to travel to pupils/students homes in the areas listed above.   However, you can offer private tuition in your own home if you choose. You will need an enhanced DBS (formerly known as a CRB)and if you do not have one you will need to cover the cost of acquiring one, although we can initiate the process for you.

The benefits are as follows: they provide part-time work on a self employed basis with a very good level of remuneration (minimum of £20-00 per hour), together with insurance cover whilst working on our behalf. This is a brilliant opportunity for the right candidates to get involved within the educational sector and really make a difference for pupils and students looking for help. PLEASE CALL DR ALAN WATSON ON 01900 608211. or E-MAIL CUMBRIA@CLEVERTUTORS .COM


Fancy a career in fashion? We’ve got tips from Urban Outfitters

hereurban outfitters


The fashion industry is notoriously difficult to break into, so gaining a little advice from someone who has already managed to do this can prove invaluable.

Sonia Aguado, the editorial copywriter at Urban Outfitters, has worked at several fashion retailers during her career and has given us some helpful tips on how to get your foot in the fashion door.  

sonia at urban outfitters

What is your background? How did you become an editorial copywriter?

After sixth form I went to UCA Epsom to study Fashion Journalism. At the time, I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do, but I was interested in fashion and writing, so it was the perfect course for me.

After my first year, and having been exposed to so many areas of the industry I didn’t even know existed, I felt a bit like a lost puppy and didn’t know where my place in the industry would be.

During our second year, we were required to complete an internship – I interned with the press teams at New Look and ASOS and absolutely loved them. I then thought PR was what I wanted to do, but again, this changed.

After graduating, I worked part time at a small PR agency and didn’t enjoy it at all. At this point, one of my uni friends, who was a copywriter at ASOS, asked if I wanted to freelance with their team and I jumped at the chance; this was how I got into the world of copywriting.

 How did you find your job?

I got my job by knowing people in the industry and being in the right place at the right time. After I started freelancing at ASOS, another of my uni friends joined the team. She then got a job at Urban Outfitters as a copywriter, and when she was there she brought me in to freelance with them too.

I got to know the team really well and when the other copywriter announced she was leaving, I was put forward for the position. After being there for a few months, I was given the chance to become a junior editorial copywriter, instead of doing product copy, and from there I was promoted to editorial copywriter.

I think the best way to look for jobs in this field is by networking, freelancing, and getting to know people who could then put you forward for any roles that would suit you.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

I enjoy the creativity that comes with my role, the people I work with, and working for a company that I loved before I was even a part of it.

What do you least enjoy about your job?

 We have deadlines to adhere to, but everything works in a chain reaction, so if one team is running behind with something, it then affects you and your work. Also, getting the dreaded writer’s block!

What takes up most of your time?

Writing copy for the website/the customer newsletter.

Are specific qualifications essential to work in your field? And if so, which ones?

A degree in fashion or writing is helpful, as well as experience in the area.

What skills and qualities are needed to be successful in your field?

Being able to write, attention to detail, proofreading skills, being able to work under pressure, and creativity!

Do you have any advice you could give to an aspiring graduate who is keen to get a foot on the ladder?

Make the most of your contacts and don’t underestimate the relationships you make at uni. The industry is very small and you end up knowing someone wherever you go. My friends at uni are the ones who put me forward for the roles I have had, and a recommendation is always going to be a lot more effective in getting you an interview than a cover letter that gets lost in someone’s inbox. Intern as much as you can and try to get some freelance work to build up your contacts.

Do you have any interview tips for a prospective applicant?

 Always research the company. Read their website, their blog, sign up to their newsletter, get to know their tone of voice, and get to know what they’re doing on social media etc. Have examples of your writing available, whether that’s a portfolio, a website or a blog.

If you would like to hear more about the career opportunities at Urban Outfitters, visit their careers page here.



Free Event: Social Enterprise Workshop

social enterprise event - networking



Want to have a positive social impact? Ever had an idea but not known where to start?

If the answer is yes, perhaps you should be thinking about starting your own social enterprise venture…

Unlike a business or corporation, social enterprise ventures are not profit driven; profits are usually reinvested into the organisation or community. The main goal of a social enterprise is to drive positive change; however this does not mean social enterprises are not financially successful. Social enterprises are businesses where society profits! There are many successful social enterprises in the UK and there’s more being brought to market every year.

If you have an interesting idea for a social enterprise and want to be an agent of change, we have the event for you!

On Tuesday 10th May at 2.00pm, we have a member of Manchester Metropolitan University’s Business School coming to the University of Cumbria to deliver a workshop about social entrepreneurship. The workshop will introduce students to social enterprise, motivate and inspire students to start their own ventures and will also act as a great networking platform (remember it’s all about who you know!). The event is two hours long, free to attend and will be held at the Fusehill Street campus in Carlisle.

Don’t worry if you don’t currently have any enterprising ideas, if you are interested in social enterprise you should still pop along to the Social Enterprise workshop. You never know, you may leave the event with an idea that could change your life; or more importantly – the lives of others.

We hope you can make it! Let’s help make the world a better place and drive positive change!

If you are interested in attending this event please book tickets through the following link;

For more information please contact Ben Parker via email at

Basic Guide to Becoming a Self-employed Student (Part 2)


Business Start-up Essentials – To do list

Imagining your idea actually coming into fruition is very exciting! What follows is, admittedly, less exciting but crucial to your success. These include your responsibilities as a self-employed student and some basic good business advice.

1. Name your business

A tricky and vital decision. Always bear in mind that you want people to know that you take your business seriously. Humour means that people may remember you for the wrong reasons. A double entendre may be hilarious to you but may not be appreciated by your customers. Keep it clear, easy to pronounce and something that adds confidence to your business idea. There are also some regulations around trading names that you will need to investigate before you go printing business cards.

2. Register with HMRC

As a self-employed person you become responsible for paying the tax on your earnings, otherwise known as income tax. It also means that you pay your own National Insurance Contributions and those of any employees. You are legally obliged to register during your first three months of trading.

National Insurance

As a self-employed person you will currently pay Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance Contributions. This depends on what you earn and the amounts change every year. For the 2014-15 tax year, if you make more than £5,885 profit then you pay £2.75 per week in Class 2 NICs. Class 4 NICs apply if you have an annual profit between £7,956 and £41,865 then you pay 9% on that amount. Any profit over the latter figure is subject to a 2% payment.

There are also tax allowances and reliefs that you can claim that are specifically for the self-employed.

Tax Returns

You are also legally bound to submit a Self-Assessment Tax Return every year. There are different deadlines for this depending on whether you send your form online or in the post and there are fines for lateness. The actual payments of the tax you owe are usually made twice a year on 31st January and 31st July.

TOP TIP! Save 20% of your earnings as you go so you owe tax you have it there to pay.

3. Set up a business bank account

It is wise to keep business and personal affairs separate – at least financially! There are some good business banking deals available if you shop around and it will make it easier to track your business finances. You can also get tax relief on the cost of your banking fees.

4. Establish your record keeping system

You are responsible for recording all of your business’s expenses, bills, debts and sales. When it comes to accounts and book-keeping it is absolutely crucial that you are organised, accurate and entirely up-to-date. It’s not just about transparency for the tax office, it’s about business success. Keep your paperwork current, don’t put it off, there can be no ‘all-nighters’! All records should be kept for six tax years just in case HMRC ask for them.

5. Find out if you need to also register to pay Value Added Tax (V.A.T.)

If you make a certain level of turnover then you MUST register for and pay VAT. This amount changes with each tax year. For example, from April 2014, if your turnover reached £81,000 then you had to be VAT registered.

Whilst this sum may seem massive and faraway at the start of a business, you don’t know how quickly yours will grow. It is your responsibility to register within 30 days or there is a fine from HMRC.

Some business owners decide to register for VAT even before they reach the threshold. This can be because you can claim back VAT on certain business expenses and can lend credibility to your business. There is also a flat rate VAT scheme available. Your accountant will be able to advise you what is best for your business as you develop.

6. Construction Industry Scheme

If your business is within the construction industry as a sub-contractor or contractor then you need to register with the Construction Industry Scheme (C.I.S.).

7. Insure your business

Different types of business and trading have different legal insurance requirements. As a self-employed business you are responsible for ensuring that you are covered – “I didn’t know” is not an accepted defence and the fines are massive!

  • Professional Indemnity means that you are covered if a client sues you because they are unhappy with the business advice you gave or the service you provided.
  • Public Liability Insurance covers you for any injuries to 3rd parties or property damage that has been caused by your business.
  • If you have any employees that are not your family then you must have Employers Liability insurance for a minimum of £5 million and have this on display.
  • Depending on what you do you may need Contents, Stock and Materials or Vehicle Insurance.

This may all seem like the concerns of big businesses that are far removed from your fledgling business, but yours is just as legitimate and governed by the same laws. You might not need to know right now, but you may need to be organising this in 6 months’ time.


There is a great, free e-learning tutorial on HMRC’s website called ‘Starting Your Own Business’ LINK TO which can support you through this process.

It breaks everything down into modules that you can do at your own pace and repeat as often as you need to. It covers a range of subjects from registering with HMRC to how to do your Self-Assessment tax return online and everything in-between!


We hope this guide has helped break down the tax part of ‘becoming self-employed’. Take your idea, energy and enthusiasm and get building your very own business!

You can do it, just don’t ignore any aspect of your responsibilities, follow the regulations and get professional advice when you need it. 

Good luck!


This article was written by Tony Shanks Operations Director at

Basic Guide to Becoming a Self-employed Student (Part 1)


If ‘Dragon’s Den’ and ‘The Apprentice’ have taught us anything, it’s that enthusiasm plus a creative idea does not always equal a successful business! But for students, self-employment can be the best solution to the old funding problem. No more long hours for minimum pay and you can completely control of your own timetable of work and study.

You are in the most creative and truly collaborative social space of your life, so ideas are not the issue. But this needs to be combined with factual knowledge about the tax system and the laws around being officially self-employed. Rather a daunting prospect!

The sheer amount of available information is overwhelming in itself, never mind actually identifying the legitimate and useful.  So, we have put together this basic guide to prepare you to take your business from lightbulb moment to regular income.

Stuff you just need to know

The government department in charge of administering tax procedures is called Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, or HMRC to its friends. And you will become its friend.

HMRC has its own language that you need to start learning. It assigns very specific definitions and a whole host of regulations to particular words or phrases. So let’s get some of the basic vocabulary identified and if you have an accountant they can translate whatever else you need as you develop.

Your basic HMRC-English Dictionary


HMRC consider that you are a ‘trader’ if you frequently sell services or goods in order to make a profit and you fulfil any of these criteria:

  • Get paid for delivering a service
  • Sell things you have made for a profit
  • Sell items for other people on a commission basis
  • If you often sell at car boot sales, through classifieds or online. (This doesn’t mean the odd item or a batch of stuff once a year when you move flats.)

Sole Trader

This is the most uncomplicated way to set up as self-employed. As an individual you are responsible for the business.


A business partnership has similar rules to a sole trader but just has two or more people holding responsibility.

Limited Company

This is a more complex way to establish your business. The company becomes an entity in its own right and you become both its owner and employee. It is recommended to get in touch with an accountant if you’re thinking about this option.


This is when an existing business sells you the right to run one of its branches.


This is a different business model which involves multiple people who all have ownership and authority.

Self employed

Most student businesses are set up as sole traders or business partnerships. HMRC considers self-employment to mean:

  • You intend to make a profit by selling services or goods.
  • You have responsibility for how well your business does (or not!) because you run it yourself.
  • You have the freedom to choose where, when and how you do the work involved.
  • You have multiple clients simultaneously.
  • You have employees that you pay.
  • You are responsible for having any necessary equipment needed to complete the work.
  • Your charges are a fixed price that is agreed by each client.
  • You have the responsibility to correct any mistakes in your work at your own cost.

Many of these factors would be part of the definition of a limited company but, because you would then be classified as an employee and owner of the company, you would not be considered self-employed.

You can be both self-employed and employed at the same time. For example, you work in a café during the day and make jewellery to sell in the evening.

Have you found this article helpful? Join us next week for part 2! 


This article was written by Tony Shanks Operations Director at

Building a Portfolio Career

Today’s guest post is from Sam Curran, an alumni of the University of Cumbria. Today Sam is talking about portfolio careers. Take it away, Sam!


When you graduate, it can be quite a tough thing to consider what you want to do with your life. There are numerous routes and avenues which graduates explore. Some want to head for the stars and travel, whilst others may even go into a field that their degree is not to do with. Then there are people like me who want a portfolio career.

A portfolio career is where you do not have one fixed job, instead carrying out a number of roles, which could be completely unrelated to each other. It could be 2 or 3 things or for some people their repertoire can stretch to doing more than 5 jobs, which is quite astounding. Quite different from the normal 9 till 5 grind, which can put people into a routine which may not be good for them, although there is a clear division between work and play, which a portfolio career does not really allow for.

I think I have always known that I wanted to do different things in life although it is something that may take me a little time to get the correct balance. Building a portfolio career initially can be pretty tough as you try and put things in place but it does get easier over time. Some people may have the impression that a portfolio career involves doing all freelance work, but this is not strictly true. I think in the future it will probably involve a mixture of freelance and part time work hopefully in a school for me or maybe somewhere else. Things take time to come to fruition and all great things are worth waiting for I suppose.

You have to build up your skills in certain areas first and learn the ropes as well. It also involves having the ability to work on your own, something which I found hard at first, but not anymore as I actually enjoy the quiet and relaxation and I feel a lot better about things now. Hopefully I will enjoy all the things in my burgeoning portfolio career which are at the moment: proofreading, writing, tutoring (maybe some teaching), casual youth work and maybe being a counselor in the future. I think a mixture of things in life keeps things interesting – at least it does for me! Even within the things that I do I like variety – such as writing: I write essays, blog posts and I am even writing my own book at the moment about how I got free from a mental illness. At least at the start having a portfolio career is quite tough as you start to build your life and put things in place. However, things get easier over time as your abilities improve. You learn new skills and you get more opportunities as well.

I have definitely become more resilient as well in building my portfolio career as I have finally learned to work on my own, which is something I have struggled with in the past. It can be quite a solitary pursuit with some of the work I do although I imagine that as I build more things into my life that involve people and get a balance of being on my own and with people then things will improve. Actually I am comfortable being on my own now and quite like that. That said, it is nice to get out of the house though. Sometimes I wish I had the opportunity to go and work somewhere else. When I lived in Lancaster I frequently used the twenty four hour library and it was great, I could just go there whenever I felt like it and quite enjoyed myself, regardless of whether people were there or not. It gave me somewhere to go, a definitive place to go each day where I knew I could get out of the house.

I now live in Darlington in the North East and there is nowhere here that quite has the facilities that the library in Lancaster does, but I am going to move somewhere different in the future, hopefully with a place to go to do my work and plenty of other opportunities as well.

The key to a good life is balance, variety and eradicating all the negative thoughts that you get. I have even started practicing mindfulness which means you stay in the present moment more, something which has allowed me to enjoy life more. I would recommend a portfolio career to anyone. It might be hard at first, but it certainly is going to be worth it in the end.

By Sam Curran

Sam has his own proofreading business. He charges from £3.00 per 1,000 words. He can help with style and content as well as grammatical and formatting issues. Sam has proofread for 6 years and has proofread pieces of work from Undergraduate to PHD level as well as editing CVs, job applications and personal statements. The business has its own Facebook page ‘Efficient Editing’ which you can contact Sam through. You can also get in touch with Sam by emailing him at




5 Steps to a killer LinkedIn Profile

When I left St. Martin’s College in Lancaster as a newly qualified primary school teacher in 1987, job seeking sites like LinkedIn and Monster would have been the stuff of science fiction!

Having started my job-seeking life with a cronky typewriter, a sheet of A4 and a bottle of Tipp-Ex, I now consider a professional, updated and fully completed profile on LinkedIn to be a prerequisite of modern life, whether you’re currently employed, self-employed or seeking employment. Their Google listing says it all: ‘Manage your professional identity. Build and engage with your professional network. Access knowledge, insights and opportunities.’

I’m now deriving more contacts, more credibility and more exposure from LinkedIn than any other of my other social media profiles, and I highly recommend it to you as an essential part of your job-seeking and professional branding toolkit.

So here, in a nutshell, is my 5-step guide to setting up a killer LinkedIn profile.

Tip 1: Use A Great Photo

Your profile image on LinkedIn must be professional, high quality (not out of focus) and more formal in nature ie not a photo of you at a party, on holiday or singing karaoke.


Profiles with photographs are 7x more likely to be viewed by other people – and remember, this isn’t Facebook or Instagram, I have a personal policy on LinkedIn, and I do not accept connections from people who do not use a proper profile image. That’s because, when I get skills endorsements, I don’t want a row of grey, generic default images, I want social proof from real people:


So go for professional authenticity at all times when using LinkedIn.

Tip 2: Use Keywords For Your Sector

The art of using LinkedIn is in being seen and discovered. Depending on whether you’re a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker, you must use appropriate keywords so that people in your industry can find you. To get a better feel for this, use the ‘Search’ function in LinkedIn to get keyword ideas and to see what other people in your sector are using to come up high in search results.

Alongside this tip, make sure that your geographic data is appropriate to the contact opportunities that you’re seeking ie do you want to bring up Cumbria as a key location, or are you open to UK or Europe-based jobs?

Tip 3: Treat Your Headline Like A Branding Exercise

You have a 120 character limit in your professional headline area, so make sure that you use it wisely. Don’t put crazy claims in here – remember, this is a professional networking site. But do write a headline that will encourage the reader to continue checking out your profile and find out more about you.

In short, make every one of those 120 characters count!


Tip 4: Customise Your Profile URL

Without getting into a long lesson on search engine optimisation here, in simple SEO terms, your profile is more likely to be found via a search engine if you include your full name. If you just leave it as the default, with a long line of meaningless numbers, it’s going to be very difficult to find you.

So get it customised and make it as close to your proper name as you can – which means if you can use, do so, if not, maybe pop uk at the end and add a number if you have to … but make sure that you use your full name, with no initials!.

Tip 5: Make It Visually Appealing

A LinkedIn profile with eye-catching images and things to click is much better than one that is just one block of boring text. Make your profile easy to read, compel the reader to consume your page content.

That means:

– Using short paragraphs and sentences

– Using bullet points

– Using headlines

– Making full use of ‘Add Link/Upload File’ feature in LinkedIn to fully populate your profile with demonstrations of your work and expertise


In summary, LinkedIn has over 250 million members and as a professional networking site it has no equal. It’s important to be found online in the right way in the 21st Century, and that means professional profiles, blogs and social media profiles which are public facing (lock down your privacy settings for the party pictures, karaoke videos and fancy dress shots!).

Deploying these 5 tips on your LinkedIn profile will give it an instant online boost – and who knows where it may lead career-wise?

About The Author

Paul Teague is a Carlisle-based social and digital marketer. You can check out his LinkedIn profile here: Paul is a former St. Martin’s student who graduated in 1987. He has since returned to do an NES Business Start Up course at Fusehill Street Campus and some freelance lecturing at the Brampton Road campus.