Five ways to raise your start-up money

You can’t start a business with no money at all, but you can do a lot with just a few hundred pounds or dollars.

If you’re thinking “but I haven’t got a few hundred pounds!” then read on because I’ve got some ways you can raise your start-up funding…

1. Sell some of the unwanted stuff around your home

One of the ways you could raise some cash to fund your new business is to sell any jewellery that you have hanging around but no longer want. There are many businesses that will be happy to buy your jewellery, like this one.

Or you could sell anything else, such as toys or clothes that your children have grown out of. Try Ebay or a local Facebook swap-and-sell page.

2. Freelance

Everyone has a sellable skill – if you don’t believe me, take a look at the crazy skills people are selling on Fiverr.com! Although Fiverr wouldn’t be my top choice for making money because the pay is so low if you live in the west (its not so bad if you’re in say, India or the Phillipines) it is great for getting ideas. When you’ve worked out what you have to offer, I’d recommend setting up an account on Elance.com, ODesk.com or PeoplePerHour.com rather than Fiverr.

Do you have any self-employed friends? They might need some short-term help with something as simple as basic data-entry or mailing out some catalogues.

3. Barter

This doesn’t make you actual cash but it could save you lots of business costs, such as your website or a logo. So work out what you need and swap skills with someone else who is just starting out.

4. Family loan

If you’re very lucky you may find a family member will lend you the money you need. If you do this it’s best to put this in writing so you’re both clear about how much is being borrowed, when you’ll pay it back and any input the lender is going to have into your business. This will help prevent tension later on.

5. Spread the payments

If you can’t afford something in one payment, you could try to negotiate spreading it over (say) four monthly payments instead. That will give you time to make some money using the methods above. Don’t be shy about asking because often a business would prefer to have you on a payment plan than lose you as a customer. Check that they aren’t charging you a lot extra for this, though.

There you go, five great ways to raise a few hundred pounds (or it’s equivalent in services). What are you waiting for? 🙂

 

5 easy steps to cut the cost of driving

For many of us, driving is a necessary part of our everyday lives. But with the average car costing us around £3,000 per year, it can be a highly expensive necessity.

However, with a bit of careful driving, the right car and the right car insurance, you can ease the cost of driving considerably. So here is our easy five-point guide to cutting the cost of driving. [Read more…]

The answer to your biggest cashflow problems…or not?

On Monday I wrote about why cashflow is something you need to watch, however small your business may be. In fact, poor cashflow can kill an otherwise healthy business.

Since the recession hit us a few years back, all the talk has been about customers not spending enough. But if they do place orders and then don’t pay up on time, you still have a major problem. [Read more…]

Cashflow management: Do ‘micro businesses’ really need to bother?

One of the great things about running a solo or micro business is that your accounts don’t have to be anything like as complex as they would be for a larger business. But it can be hard to know where you can sensibly take short cuts and where they could lead you into trouble later on.

So what about cashflow management? [Read more…]

Can I claim childcare costs as a business expense?

This post could could stop you from getting into trouble!

Last week I got into a debate with a self-employed friend: she was convinced that as a sole trader she could consider childcare to be a business expense. After all, she needed the childcare to be able to work.

On the other hand, I was almost certain that in the UK, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) don’t consider childcare to be a business expense.

I asked accountant Jonathan Freeman of Freeman and Co to answer our question for us. He said:

Unfortunately, childcare costs paid by a sole trader would not be considered wholly and exclusively for the purpose of the trade and therefore would not be tax deductible.

The only childcare costs I’m aware of which are allowable as a deduction are those where an employer provides childcare facilities to its staff.  There is detailed guidance about this on HMRC’s website http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/paye/exb/a-z/c/childcare.htm

As a sole trader it may however be possible to claim Working Tax Credit, which does include a childcare element.

So I was right, but it’s not exactly good news. 🙁

Although this might be basic stuff for some people, there are many mums who aren’t making enough money to pay an accountant to advise them and could be totally unaware that childcare can’t be claimed as a business expense. And you could have problems (and a hefty repayment to make) if HMRC found that you’d added childcare to your business expenses in error and paid less tax as a result.

If you’re not sure just what is allowed as business expenses, take a look at this leaflet. You might be surprised!

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