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Self-employed profile: Stewart Orr

The FSB’s #ThinkSelfEmployed campaign is highlighting some of the challenges faced by the UK’s 4.8mn self-employed. Here we profile local FSB member, Stewart Orr, to discover what he enjoys about going it alone and the advice he would give to anyone considering self-employment. 

1. Name?       
Stewart Orr
 
2.  Age?            
73
 
3. Business name?            
Stewart Orr Sound Services (S.O.S.S.) / Media Transfer
 
4. Location?                
Withersdale Street in the Waveney Valley, North Suffolk
 
5. What do you do?            
I transfer old audio and video media (cylinders, discs, tapes, cassettes etc) to digital.
 
6. When did you become ‘self-employed’?        

I first became self-employed around 30 years ago.
 
7. What prompted you to make the ‘leap’?        
I felt that I'd never try something else if I didn't make a decision to leave teaching.   It was definitely a positive move - I wasn't wanting to get out of teaching!
 
8. In your personal experience, what’s the best thing about self-employment?       
Being self-employed gives me the freedom to make decisions, and then having to abide by them. It also gives you the freedom from tedious line managers, who don't understand what you're trying to do!
 
9. What’s surprised you most about working for yourself?  
The fact that I could, and that it generally worked. Also the fact that I managed to keep up the pressure of work. Previously I found that I would leave things to the last moment. This didn't happen (so much!) when self-employed.
 
10. What’s the best piece of advice you could give anyone else thinking of becoming self- employed?       
Communication is key. Keep suppliers happy; pay swiftly. Keep customers informed of progress on the job - they love to be kept in the loop.   Know whom to trust and whom to ask for cash up front!!
 
11. What’s the toughest aspect of self-employment?  
 A patch of time when nothing is coming in.
 
12. Does the Government do enough to support the self-employed?    
Well, I get total relief for business rates, so that's not too bad.
 
13. What do you think the Government could do to make it fairer?    
Make small town retail high street shops’ rating fair, and also bring in legislation to limit horrendously high rents. Harleston suffers from both of these.
 
14. Would you ever consider being an employee again?    
What??   Never!!

 
15. What’s the biggest barrier to self-employment?        
The real determination to do it. It really is up to you. No one owes you a living, you've got to go out and grab the opportunities.