Sunday, 31 October 2010

Test Trading

It's time to come clean.  I have only just become official...  For the last 6 months I have been working on a Government scheme called test trading.

I lost my job in January (under circumstances I'd love to discuss but can't...) which was a bit of a shock but also a massive relief!  I'd aggonised for a couple of years about quitting and taking the plunge as a full time photographer.  Can I afford it?  What if I don't get the customers?  Will my house get repossessed?!?!  But that decision was made for me at the start of the year so I did it.  OK, not straight away...

With the help of eFactor I went and signed on and got myself onto the Test Trading scheme.  It allows you to continue receiving benefit while starting your own business.  It gives you a chance to see if being self employed is for you, if you're any good at what you do, if you can make any money doing it and generally if it's going to work. 

For the last 26 weeks I have had to check in fortnightly with my Business Adviser who checks what I've been up to and how much I've made (or lost!)  Any profit the business makes has to go into a jointly controlled bank account so I can't get my hands on it (hence still being able to sign on), but the money can be used to buy stock and equipment for the business.  Something I've made full use of!

So now the 26 weeks are up and I'm being let loose into the world on my own.  The profit in the account is now mine to use as I please.  I will still be using eFactor though.  Their advice, courses and networking events are excellent and free!

I need to say a massive thank you to eFactor and especially Judith Hancock who have given me more help and support than I could have hoped for.  I urge anyone who has a business idea or who finds themselves in the same situation as me to get in touch.

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