Becoming an Independent Professional is a time of great excitement and opportunity for you. By stepping out on your own though, you do open yourself up to certain risks. Many of these are things that your employer probably used to take care of for you. None of them are worth losing any sleep over, but they’re all worth considering just to make sure that you don’t trip up and undo any of the good work you do.
Here are a few of these new risks and some ways that you might handle them to reduce the likelihood of a problem within your business:
If you do take on employees you will then have Health & Safety obligations towards them. Even if you don’t employ staff day to day, you may use a ‘substitute clause’ in your client contracts (to ensure that a substitute worker would be provided to your client if you were unable to work). In this case it is wise to have a Health & Safety policy prepared ahead of time, just in case you needed to use a substitute worker at short notice.
When you visit clients’ premises or have them visit you at your premises, injury or property damage is a potential risk. If a client tripped over a trailing wire in your office or you accidentally damaged equipment at their premises, you could be liable for their injury, loss of earnings or the cost of replacement equipment. Public Liability insurance can protect you and provide funds for your legal defence costs and damages awarded against you.
Cyber Crime is an increasing problem for businesses of all sizes – even micro, start-up businesses. Whilst most news features on Cyber Crime focus on large corporate breaches, smaller businesses are still a target for cyber criminals. Because your IT defences are likely to be lower, criminals may see you as an easier target. There are many simple steps you can take and the most appropriate ones will depend on your business, the IT equipment you use and the processes you carry out. If you hold or process client data, there will be even more for you to consider. Cyber Aware – a government organisation – is a great source of practical free advice when it comes to cyber security.
As an Independent Professional you can enjoy higher rates of pay than you might have done in an employed role. However, part of the reason for that is that you won’t be entitled to pay for holidays, sickness or inability to work when injured. Most Independent Professionals will therefore keep money aside to allow for lower earnings in the event of holidays or sickness. They might also look at health insurance and critical illness insurance, which are more readily available for Independent Professionals, due to the recent growth in the sector.
With the right aproach, we’re sure that you can navigate your way around these risks and forge a successful career as an Independent Professional.
Contact us if you need help with insurance as an Independent Professional, and we’ll be happy to help you
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