Coronavirus: information and updates

Trying self-employment

If you're considering self-employment, there's a lot of support and advice available to get you started.

Self-employment can be working from home for a few hours a week or it can be full-time in an office.

Skills you need to be self-employed

These can be things you do yourself or may need help with:

  • maths and literacy
  • record keeping
  • using social media to promote your service or product
  • building a website

Getting ready for self-employment

Working at your own pace

You do not need to work every day if you're self-employed. You can choose your own hours, depending on the time or energy you have. Working for just a few hours is still working. For example you could:

  • work when you can, which could vary from week to week
  • increase your hours slowly because you want to work full-time

Mentoring support

Online resources can help you prepare for becoming self-employed, such as:

Your GP surgery might have a social prescribing service. This will put you in touch with local organisations in your area, including support with employment.

If you want to turn a hobby or interest into a business, you could sell things you've made or own.

Etsy seller handbook

How to sell on eBay (Money Saving Expert)

You can get support setting up a business and improving your skills.

Startups UK

Prince's Trust

How I turned my blog into a job (The Bloglancer)

Grants and financial support for starting a new business

You could be entitled to support if you're over 18 and you or your partner claim:

  • Universal Credit (UC)
  • Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

The New Enterprise Allowance can give you up to £1,274 spread over 26 weeks. You will also have a mentor and can apply for a loan to help with starting your business.

Help with moving from benefits to work: Starting or running your own business (GOV.UK)

There are grants available for starting your own business.

Business grants for disabled people (Disability Grants)

Stelios Awards for disabled entrepreneurs (Leonard Cheshire Disability)

Virgin Start Up

Self-employment and benefits

You can be self-employed and still get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Means-tested benefits are based on income and savings. How being self-employed affects your benefits will depend on your circumstances.

Self-employment and benefits

You can call Scope's helpline if you want advice on the benefits you receive and how self-employment might affect this.

Scope helpline

Moving into full-time self-employment

If you are on means-tested benefits and decide to become self-employed full-time, you will need to let the DWP know.

If you work more than 16 hours a week, you will not get ESA.

Your Universal Credit payments will be reduced by 63p for every £1 you earn over your specified work allowance.

Universal Credit work allowances (GOV.UK)

Reasonable adjustments when you're self-employed

Setting yourself up as self-employed

Employment information supported by Virgin Media.

We're working with Virgin Media to support 1 million disabled people in getting into and staying in work by the end of 2020.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 09/12/2020

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