Make Your Path: Employment vs self-employment and a look at the new IR35 ruling.

Updated: Apr 10

The perks, highlights, pitfalls and rollercoaster life journey running after money and obtaining work; stimulates us, provides a purpose and sense of achievement. These achievements from getting paid should be heartfelt with appreciation and satisfaction... but are they? Are we happy with what we bring to the table and what we get from it?

For this blog I have interviewed freelance & employed artistes also professionals not in the theatre arts industry. My podcast available 1st March discusses this subject further Podcast. Dance Inspire

The good news is you can make your own path and not be stuck in a situation that doesn't work for you. The entertainment industry, as with most industries at the moment, are increasingly creative in their outlook to growth. So today is a perfect day to get your creative, adaptive skill-sets out there and let the world know just what you are capable of and how you can help people solve problems, bring awareness to the positive and make a difference.

There is salvation both sides of the coin

Currently, I sit on the cushion of part-time employment and self-employment. This guarantees me a monthly income giving me security with my freelance extra's boosting it. But freelance work is about to change for those working with large companies - more details in my Freelance section below.

Let's take a look at the pro's and con's with employment so you can assert yourself on what lifestyle you want from your working career.


What do we get with employment?

  • Monthly salary - A security for financial management that outlines your lifestyle.

  • Security in a job and knowing its length and set times.

  • Tax paid (out of your salary). This is automatically done for you so no need to concern yourself with paperwork.

  • Pension contributions paid by the company. (Another issue you don't need to worry about).

  • Holiday pay. (approx 28 days UK, if full time). A huge perk is getting paid for doing nothing.

  • Socialising with peers - Being in an environment with people or having regular communication with likeminded people is important mentally, socially and emotionally.

  • Insurance cover - You are covered for injury, rehabilitation, compensation etc.

  • Benefits - Some companies offer various benefit insurances eg Health, dental, disability, car, pension etc

  • Career path and self development - In large companies you have options for paid personal development training and job role advancement.

So from the above you can see there are lots of positives yet these positives if in the wrong environment can be debilitating in growth and personal development.

  • Bad leadership - This has been the biggest downfall in employment and staff turnaround as if the 'director' is not skilled in understanding what is required to boost staff and hence boost their business. The business cannot grow and the staff are stagnant in development and work pleasure. (At times the director takes his frustrations out on staff due to his incapabilities)

  • No career path - Depending on the size of the company, staff have one role only with no future development within the business to achieve.

  • Monthly salary - Due to committing to a set salary at the beginning of a contract (regardless if the job specifications have changed) It is hard to negotiate a higher rate without causing a ripple consequence.

  • Holiday pay - You are restricted in time-off

  • Limited responsibility - There is always someone to report to regarding your decisions and actions.

  • Peers - Being in an environment with people that clash can affect your work and personal life - mentally, socially and emotionally.

Working full time within a company outlines that you work for them in representing their company and principles. You work to grow their business and everything you do for them is their property. This is a perfect environment for people wanting to help with no responsibility for big risks. Now lets look at Self Employment...

Self Employment

I have outlined pro's and con's for self employment also the new ruling by the government from IR35 which comes into practice April 2020 for self-employed people.

Firstly, you need to ask yourself a question if already working self employed... 'Are you employed of self employed?' In the eyes of the government you are employed if...

  • You work for one business as a freelancer / contractor.

  • You work as a freelancer / contractor doing what the owner wants you do to.

  • You work for a company or multiple companies long term.

If you have answered yes to one or more of the above don't worry there is one more question...

  • Is the company you work for large? (Top line including assets - 10.2 million).

From April 2020 the government are going after freelancers / contractors in top companies but this is only the start. No doubt in a few years this ruling will be for all freelance / contractors. Many of you may think you are not in this bracket but if you are going to be contracted as 'self employed' with Disney, Syco, BBC, Really Useful Group Ltd or any of the top companies you need to be aware of this change.

The government are targeting self-employed people due to them loosing tax income because of the increase in 'self employment' and 'entrepreneurs' in the last few years. There are many contractors that work for large companies either for long periods or ongoing work. This now means if it looks like you are delivering a service that can be classed as part of their business you need to be 'employed' with that company. This also means that the company will have to tax you accordingly and provide you with benefits as it would an employee.... Will they do that? Is it easier and cheaper to buy staff rather than specialists?

This is having a shake-up in all industries and our creative one is no different.

So, aside from the new IR35 ruling, self employment can be attractive to the right kind of person. It can also be a trap for others. Lets look at some of the perks...

  • Unlimited income potential - If you grow your business, products, services, brand, team etc. There is no limit... only what you create.

  • Tax deductions - There are lots of tax benefits you can claim against. Here is more information in PDF format on tax from AUE which I thought was a good insight.

  • Control of your own destiny - This is perfect for those who know where they want to go and have the balls to take the actions to get there. Creatively, it stimulates you to produce products or services.

  • Set your own schedules & time off - This is why most people dream of self employment and making money to fit in with their lifestyle. WARNING! There is no quick fix. You need to bring in a high income to allow you to have downtime.

  • Own boss - It is great that decisions can be instant without the red tape of getting permission from others before anything can get done.

  • Build your own investment of a business - What you create is of value in its customer holding, income streams from products, services and assets from properties & investments. This can be sold or setup for investment. You are an asset - your business grows into more assets.

  • Income while you sleep - When your product or service is up and running you have options to reinvent your product into more products (online training, online community, a book, a mentoring club, commission sales scales etc) A fun blog i found '20 ways to earn money while you sleep' is here if you want to peek into what they suggest.

  • Save money in transportation and clothing. The little things matter and due to many people working from home when they first start up, run their business from a home office or wear what they like as it's their company. These types of savings mount up.

  • Freedom to create - Being in charge of the decision-making, direction of career, values and principles to what you are putting out in the world. Most importantly being able to see something through from the beginning to end.

  • Self sufficient - Setting your own hours to fit around your lifestyle and being independent of others to achieve and earn an income to support yourself and your family.

  • Creative Control - The decision is yours. No asking permission from higher ranks

  • Identity & purpose - Because you are putting something out there that people want there is job satisfaction unparalleled to any other.

Now a little insight into some of the pitfalls found being self employed.

  • Not guaranteed a salary - What you bring in each month will fluctuate. You will have good and bad cashflows, which of course is normal but, if you don't know how to manage the cashflow & sales it can be stressful worrying about income each month.

  • More risk - It is with no doubt that ALL trust, responsibility and accountability for your decisions come down to you firstly, then your team. Management, trust & communication is key for everyone to drive the business forward on the same page as your vision. This can get messy with bad leadership / being indecisive.

  • No Benefits - You have to manage your own money and that of your staff for your retirement, health benefits etc.

  • No expenses paid - There is a myth that running a business you get expenses paid as the money comes out of your own pocket regardless if you 'claim' against your own business. Yes, you get good tax return perks but it is still an outgoing from your profit.

  • Pay your own tax - Running your own business or 'you' as a business doesn't come with the automation of wage bills with tax reductions and pension payouts. It's down to you or your team to file the paperwork. Fines are common as lots of people don't know how to do this. (The link above 'Tax from AUE' gives good information on what the process is).

  • Manage all aspects of the business - When people leave college / Uni most are not trained in business management. So they end up being self taught with youtube video searches etc. This usually begins the decline in ambition due to time taken in finding information and lack of confidence in ability etc. Personally, I'd invest in a business manager or coach to bridge any knowledge weaknesses, as it's faster, more efficient financially in the long term and gets you to the next steps quicker.

  • Long hours - It takes a long time to set something up for success at the beginning. You have to account for this... So do the people around you. The more support you have, the bigger chance you have in succeeding. (team, friends, community, family / online & offline).

  • Social isolation - This is a big one. Being on your own with your own decisions being met doesn't have the same 'peer communication' you get when working in employment. It can get lonely, you can lose reality of what's going on in your industry and most importantly you can get distracted, unfocussed, procrastinate and not achieve your potential... this is not from being incapable but from being isolated in your own bubble of work. Personally I think networking and setting meetings is key in keeping motivation and stimulus.

  • Starting from nothing - Growing an asset to have worth and financial value has to start somewhere. However it can become a sideways path of unproductive actions leading nowhere or little growth. There have been many self employed people that worked long hours yet did not bring home a minimum wage. They either quit or change their game focus.

Are you thinking of self employment? If you are, success relies on strength of your product or service PLUS having the following qualities...

  • Creativity - innovative, imagination and having the initiative to push your boundaries and business forward with new ideas. You also need drive, determination and enthusiasm to make them reality.

  • Knowledge - Having a strong understanding of your market place and who your customer is. You will need to listen to your customers / opportunities with the sense to adapt to the ever-changing needs. Don't underestimate this, as what you 'think' your path is, isn't usually the way you get there.

  • Leadership - Owning and developing your personal development, business and team progress.

  • Organisation - To be focused and goal-orientated. It helps to be capable of setting clear and realistic objectives. To work independently, at ease with working under pressure and having strong time-management.

  • Self belief - This is underestimated as your inner thoughts at times just don't go away & block you from reaching your potential. You'll need to be confident in your capabilities and decision making. Happy to take risks and be responsible and accountable for your decisions.

  • Networking - Necessity! You need to engage and keep informed to what is currently going on and for others to know what you do.

Self Employment is not for everyone but what is important is that no matter what you choose - do it 100% of your capability and with respect. Every skilled person should be valued and treated with dignity. Not all businesses do this, but that doesn't mean you change to fit in. What makes you unique is work ethic and how you deliver your role.

Is it the right time for change?

There is no right time to change - you just need to start.

For anything in your life to be different to what it is today, you have to change the actions you are already doing. This is how easy it is to bring new experiences into your life - Make new actions!

Here is a poem inspired by this blog - link is here. Titled 'When Is The Time Right (Let me know what you think)


The facts, options and actions are within you and nobody else. You are capable and able to have control of your life and career. The beauty of being creative is you adapt and take action. If you need help ASK! Help is always there in places you may not think to look. Business owners similar to yours / Online groups / mentors / coaches / therapists / friends / neighbours / networks.

I have a booklet which is free to download 'Create the best you' which goes through the basics of the complete person to thrive in your life and career.

Please share this blog on social media, it helps me connect and help others. Don't forget to check the podcast out 'Dance Inspire' (You can hear it from Itunes, Spreaker or most places where you get your podcast)

Until next time... Bye for now!

Gill x


©2017 -  2020. Gillian Beattie .



  • Facebook Social Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon