Contractor Advice
By: Emma Tait-Barber

How to Become a Self Employed Influencer

It’s a career path that didn’t exist just a few years ago, but today the idea of becoming an online influencer is a viable route to making money for many people.

But how (and why) should you explore the idea of turning your love of social media into a full-time job? This guide is here to help.

In less than a decade, the online influencer sector has gone from almost non-existent to a $9.7 billion industry and it’s not hard to see why. People today consume more digital content than ever before, and it doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing.

Content creators on YouTube, Instagram, and a whole host of other channels are building up large and lucrative audiences every day. And, thanks to advertising revenue and sponsored posts, they’re starting to earn money from it too.

But, if you’ve found yourself earning money from your digital output, how do you go about turning it into a business? In this guide, we’ll explore the ways you can do just that, as well as taking in some other considerations, too.

At what point does your influencer hobby become a business?

The path to becoming an influencer is something that can seem simple - you take something that is your passion; you post content regularly about that subject; you build up an audience, simple. However, it can actually be a lot more difficult than that.

Well, it’s a great hobby for sure. But, as soon as you start to monetise that audience (through selling ad space on YouTube, or promoting products or services on your other social media channels), then you’ve become a business. Congratulations!

However, with the excitement of making money from your passion, it’s easy to forget that, as with any business, you have a legal responsibility to declare your income and pay taxes.

How to set yourself up as a business

When starting out, most people tend to go down the sole trader route. It’s a fairly straightforward process, whereby you register yourself with HMRC as a self-employed person.

Once that’s done, you’ll get your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number, and you’re on your way.

The main source of stress for many self-employed people is around filling in your annual Self Assessment Tax Return. Fortunately, we’ve put together a handy checklist to help guide you through the process.

There are, of course, other options when it comes to setting up your business, like forming a limited company.

Why should you consider going down the limited company route? Let’s take a look.

The benefits of a limited company for an influencer

Setting up as a limited company is a little bit fiddlier than taking the self-employment path. But, there are some major benefits too. Here are our top three:

You can build a more robust long-term plan

If you see your business growing in the future, then a limited company framework will allow you to expand more easily—whether that’s taking on employees or planning for tax opportunities.

You’ll be less exposed to risk

If you’re self-employed, you’ll be personally responsible for your company’s debts. So, if the worst should happen, your assets could be at risk. But, as a limited company, your business is a completely separate entity which means you have limited liability.

Greater flexibility

If you set up your own limited company you are free to decide how and when you pay yourself personal income, you can pay into a company pension scheme and choose to pay personal income as salary, dividends or a combination of both. You can also leave money in the business for reinvestment.

In summary

There’s a lot to think about when you take your influencer career from hobby to business. It can be exciting and daunting all at the same time.

But, by taking your time, planning carefully, and remembering not to take it all too seriously, you’ll get to enjoy the adventure of making your dream a reality.

Still unsure on how to set up your business? Check out our guide highlighting the differences between sole traders and limited companies.

How can SJD Accountancy help?

Appointing an accountant can save you time and stress when starting up on your own. If you would like to speak to someone about any of the above information or any other queries you may have, arrange a callback and a member of the team will be in touch.

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