Tips for the self-employed whose work may have reduced or stopped because of coronavirus
The social distancing measures brought in by the government have led to the rapid closure of many businesses and has left business owners and those who are self-employed feeling shocked by the pace of change. However, there practical things that you can do to help during this time.
1. Claim a grant or welfare benefits
Lloyds Banking Group are keen to help protect our small business customers from the impacts of coronavirus and we’ve therefore introduced a £2 billion package of arrangement fee free finance for businesses with a turnover up to £25 million to help minimise disruption to your business operation over the coming weeks and months.
The financial support available includes:
- No arrangement fees for new overdrafts or overdraft limit increases
- No arrangement fees for new or increased invoice finance facilities
Find out more about the support package and how we can help protect and minimise disruption to our small businesses from the impact of coronavirus.
Additionally, the UK Government has introduced a coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme for those who are self-employed or a member of a partnership and have lost income due to the virus. This scheme will allow those who are eligible to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.
Find out more about the scheme and eligibility from Gov.uk.
If you are self-employed and you need to take time off work due to illness, you might be able to claim Universal Credit or New Style Employment Support Allowance through Gov.uk. Find out more about coronavirus and claiming benefits from Gov.uk or on the Mental Health and Money Advice’s website.
HMRC have put various measures in place to help self-employed people and businesses during the coronavirus outbreak. Find out more from HMRC.
2. Speak to your professional network
It’s a good idea to speak to other self-employed people in your sector for help and advice. You can chat about how you’re both coping and talk about what they’re doing to help themselves during the coronavirus crisis.
You can also think about if you can work in a different way or apply your skills to a different sector.
3. Draw up a budget
You can draw up a budget to see what funds you will need over the coming months. Are there expenses that be cancelled or paused due to a changes in your self-employment work?
To help, you can use the free Lloyds Bank online budget calculator.
4. Keep in touch with suppliers and customers
It’s a good idea to try and keep in touch with your suppliers and customers whilst you’re closed. Things will improve with time, so it is best to be prepared for when you can reopen and start trading again.
5. Look after your mental health
You might find the changes to your circumstances stressful. And the effect of the coronavirus crisis could mean that you are more anxious than normal too.
Talking about how you are feeling can have big benefits. People who care about you like friends and family are usually happy to listen and support you. However, you can also find more information about mental health help or advice for you or someone you know through the Mental Health UK website.
Here are five things you can do to help improve your mental health:
- Get enough sleep. Having enough sleep is really important to good mental health. Find out more about the importance of sleep and tips on how to sleep better from the NHS website.
- Practise mindfulness and meditation. It can improve your mental health to pay more attention to the present moment. Find out more about mindfulness from the NHS website.
- Eat healthy foods and have a balanced diet. This can be good for not only your physical health, but for your mental health too. Find out more about eating a balanced diet from the NHS website.
- Keep physically active. Exercise can help to reduce stress and anxiety. It can increase the levels of serotonin and endorphins which are your body’s natural ‘happy’ chemicals. Find out more about keeping physically activity from the NHS website.
- Connect with others. Face-to-face contact has reduced for everyone during the coronavirus crisis. However, you can find new ways of connecting with other people from Mental Health UK.
6. Have a work routine
It’s a good idea to try and keep to your daily work routine or to develop a new one. You can set daily to-do lists even if your business is not trading at the present time. This will help with your wellbeing and keep your mind engaged on productive tasks. It also helps to give your days structure and help you to achieve goals.
You can use the time to think about how you can improve your business in the future.