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Setting up my own photography business online

Clarehogg
Clarehogg Member Posts: 5 Listener
edited May 30 in Work and employment
He hello my name is Clare and I would like to set up my own photography business online.  Photography has been a passion of mine for many years and I would like to turn it into a business.  I already have a Facebook Page and a Website set up.  The reason why I am doing this is because I’ve struggled for many years to get a job.  I do have Aspergers Syndrome and the thought of going through an interview absolutely terrifies me.  So I decided
to go on Photography Courses to learn more about it.  Is there anybody else on here who has set up their own business?
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  • Clarehogg
    Clarehogg Member Posts: 5 Listener
    I am thinking of setting up my own business online.  Is there anybody who has set up their own business who can give me some tips and advice please?
  • Ross_Scope
    Ross_Scope Posts: 5,389

    Scope community team

    edited May 30
    That sounds great @Clarehogg

    I don't have any experience in this myself, but I imagine one of the main things you should be doing is exploring what platforms you would use to sell your business. Would you have your own website? Would you advertise your services on third party websites?


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  • Clarehogg
    Clarehogg Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Yes I am in the middle of setting up my own website.  I’ve got my own Facebook Page.  I would consider advertising on third party websites.  The reason why I am doing this because I have Aspergers Syndrome and trying to get a job is so stressful.  Plus I am terrified of job interviews.  Photography has been a passion of mine for a few years now and I would like to turn it into a business.  I feel that it would be better for me and my anxiety.
  • Ross_Scope
    Ross_Scope Posts: 5,389

    Scope community team

    That's understandable @Clarehogg, it makes complete sense to try and create a living out of your passion, I wish you the best of luck :) 
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  • Clarehogg
    Clarehogg Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Thankyou very much.  I am going to sign up for Support To Work and see if they can help.
  • Ross_Scope
    Ross_Scope Posts: 5,389

    Scope community team

    Ah super, I hope that goes well. They're a lovely team
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  • woodbine
    woodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,603 Disability Gamechanger
    You have to tell HMRC within three months of becoming self-employed that you have done so.
    I am a person with epilepsy not an epileptic, my illness doesn't define me.
  • Clarehogg
    Clarehogg Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Oh ok thanks for letting me know.
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Member
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  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    edited June 8
    @bekindalways gave some good advice so I'll add to always send an invoice before receiving any payment from a customer. Invoices have to be timestamped so using Microsoft Word and Excel files stored on your computer doesn't count. I recommend Blinksale.

    Also you don't have to pay VAT unless you have a turnover of £85,000 but if you are paying for products and services that you can prove are for business purposes, you can claim back the VAT you spent so at the end of the tax year, any VAT you spent on stuff you can claim back.

    Free Index is a good website to get clients.
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 11,007 Disability Gamechanger
    @bekindalways did indeed give excellent advice, & appropriate links to the government's website for sole traders.
    However, @innocent21 you assert that invoices have to be date stamped.....really? Perhaps you can show a link. As someone who was self employed for more years than I care to remember, this is news to me. Again, please make sure of your facts before posting, please.
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    edited June 8
    @chiarieds Sure you could not have timestamped invoices, and there is no hard requirement for you to do so, it's more of a soft requirement or a recommendation. But if after you send in your Self Assessment to HMRC and they become suspicious, they can audit your submitted documents, subpoena you and ask you to send them specific documents that they request. This request if HMRC ever asks you for further information, it is mandatory. You are expected to keep all the appropriate documents regarding your company's income, expenses and purchases for in case HMRC requests documents from you regarding the past.

    Sure you could not timestamp your invoices (like you suggest) and just use a Microsoft Word or Excel file for it, but there is free software that can be used to change the metadata of files which would easily change the date of a file. Simply sending a word or excel file over the internet or simply printing one out and posting it off, that would not be considered an acceptable supporting documentation if you're being audited.

    Imagine if HMRC suspects a taxpayer or company of doing VAT fraud by declaring personal purchases as company purchases in order to claim back the 20% VAT for products and services they have no legal basis to claim for.

    Remember that a SAR or Suspicious Activity Report does mean that there is any evidence, assumption or implying of any wrongdoing. They're just being risk averse. Also under the Fraud Act and Proceeds of Crime Act, companies, financial companies, charities and government departments are forbidden to inform a customer or client when there is a suspicion of fraud as it's illegal, and would be considered "tipping off".

    As someone who was self employed for more years than I care to remember

    So after you send HMRC a self assessment, they've never followed up to of asked you for more information to ask you to send them a previous bank statement? What if your company handled cash payments so some of the money trail was off the grid? Would they of asked for other supporting documents instead? Let's forget about the invoice thing for now. So here's no other documents that HMRC have asked you to send in, that have to have a timestamp on them?

  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 11,007 Disability Gamechanger
    edited June 8
    @innocent21 - you say,
    Invoices have to be timestamped
    then backtrack to say this is a recommendation. I can assure you that I've kept appropriate records both as a partner & when we registered as a company for a few years (& keep them for 7 years). So, nope, since trading from 1977 unto date, HMRC have never queried our accounts. Nearly all of our payments were indeed in cash both buying & selling antiques, & later with our secondhand bookshop which we had for nearly 25 years. The only invoices we sent were if (very) occasionally requested, or if selling to customers outside the UK (which we always did, & so any custom's officials could see them). Also additionally had a rental property for the last 18 years.
    So your point is? I can only suggest that if people are honest, & submit their accounts for each financial year, there is no cause for concern, & your comments aren't relevant to the original poster, who is just looking into setting up a business without such scaremongering to deter them from trying..
  • lisathomas50
    lisathomas50 Member Posts: 4,695 Disability Gamechanger
    As far as I am aware it's not a requirement to time stamp invoices but some people do this both my sons are now self employed  and have chosen to time stamp invoices for the purpose of makeing it easier for them  not because its required if you do business management it is mentioned that this can be done 
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    edited June 9
    I can only suggest that if people are honest, & submit their accounts for each financial year, there is no cause for concern.
    No I'm not scaremongering. If there's anyone who should be labelled, it's not me for scaremongering, it's you for giving dangerous advice. That attitude expressed in that advice sounds lackadaisical. I strongly disagree with your opinion here. Not only do I find your opinion here wrong, misleading and false, but to actually follow that advice it would be dangerous!!!

    I could explain why but that quote speaks for itself. ;)

  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Posts: 6,575

    Scope community team

    Hi @innocent21,

    Many people who are self employed choose to use tools such as Word and Excel for their invoices. You're right that many people prefer to use other software that has more features enabled, but it doesn't seem that saying it's okay to use Word and Excel is wrong, misleading, false, or dangerous. Do you have any sources to back up this claim about the timestamps? 

    There's lots to consider when setting up your own business, and I'm sure @Clarehogg will do their research. Best of luck with the endeavour :) Do you have any updates?
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    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Member
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