Launched in 2014, StoryBites is a weekly feature from YourStory, featuring notable quotable quotes in our articles of this past week. This special series of compilations focuses on India’s COVID-19 struggle (see last week’s post here). Share these quotes and excerpts with your networks, and check back to the original articles for more insights.

Food safety issues and the enhancement of health security are of growing national and international concern. – FSSAI report

COVID-19 transformed the fish and meat purchasing behaviour of consumers dramatically. Due to safety concerns, consumers made the habit-forming shift to ecommerce. – Shan Kadavil, FreshToHome

Health is no more about medicines; it is now a way of life. – Sanjaya Mariwala, OmniActive Health Technologies

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the lives of people with disabilities. Visually impaired persons cannot avoid touch and cannot maintain physical distancing in their true sense. – Prashant Ranjan Verma, NAB

The lockdown period has drastically changed individual behaviours and highlighted the need for safety and comfort. – Paul Abraham, Hinduja Foundation

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Leadership lessons: 7 learnings from 7 months of COVID-19

The pandemic brought enormous human suffering, but the quarantine and economic fallout brought the cash flow crisis. – Patrick Schwerdtfeger, 'Pandemic, Inc.'

It’s competitive to raise funding in any environment and even more so during a crisis of such a magnitude. If you are in a sector that’s in favour right now, do raise a bit more than required to have some buffer. – Jatin Desai, Inflexor Ventures

Any and every profession involves some risk, whether it is delivering food, working on a desk, or running a company. – Raghav Joshi, Rebel Foods

Leading global bodies project that there will be a contraction in global energy demand over the next few years also. – PM Narendra Modi

The coronavirus pandemic has set women professionals back by more than a decade, further disbalancing gender parity at work. – Anuranjita Kumar, WiT India

The pandemic has given rise to unpaid care work that women provide and there has been a reduction in external investment towards women-led enterprises as businesses continue to be affected due to disruption. – Naghma Mulla, EdelGive Foundation

Being used to the traditional office culture, many people don’t have the right frame of mind to work remotely. It takes time, discipline, and dedication to develop that. – Zahara Kanchwalla Zahara, Rite KnowledgeLabs

Corporate campuses are now allowing extended lunch hours to help mitigate the risk by limiting the number of people who can be present in the cafeteria at a time. – Sandipan Mitra, HungerBox

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Uber offers 12,000 free rides to National Association for the Blind in 8 Indian cities

COVID-19 has accelerated India's digital transformation and a workforce that is equipped with future-ready skills will be the key to unlocking the country's next phase of growth. – Anant Maheshwari, Microsoft India

As consumers have shifted online, more companies are looking at how they can take advantage of this digital shift and the vast economic opportunities that come with it. – Bhavik Vasa, GetVantage

The blue-collar ecosystem is undergoing massive digital transformation and the ongoing pandemic has accelerated this adoption. – Pravin Agarwala, Betterplace

As the city builds back from COVID-19, there is a demanding need for an accessible, affordable, and safe everyday commute option. – Aravind Sanka, Rapido

During COVID-19 pandemic, consumers began demanding social change in the fashion industry by seeking more sustainable brands. – Rina Dhaka, RE.purposed

Comfort is the priority for most men now especially since most of them are working from home these days. – Prince Kumar, Cantabil Retail

Change and evolution is part and parcel of life – but the beauty of theatre and art is that while nothing stays constant, everything stays the same. – Arundhati Nag, Ranga Shankara

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).

Original Source: yourstory.com

Starting a new business is a busy time for an entrepreneur. You’re developing a business plan, getting your financial plan in order, and possibly pitching to investors or seeking funding. One thing that can be overlooked but is incredibly vital, is ensuring all legal obligations are met. The failure to do so can result in fines or possibly even court proceedings.

This guide should help you tackle the legal aspects of starting a business in the UK, from choosing a name for your business right at the start all the way to employing staff later on. You can work the relevant legal points into your traditional business plan, or even draw up a separate legal plan or checklist to ensure you have covered everything. 

While the legal processes covered are specific to the UK, the general categories are likely applicable no matter where your business located. That being said, let’s dive in.

Naming your business

You need to choose a unique name for your business, that is not being used already, to avoid running

into problems. If the name is too similar to other businesses, it can suggest there is a connection between the companies and you could be seen as trying to pass your company off as theirs, taking business from them as a result. If they complain or file for trademark infringement, you could be required to change your business name, possibly pay damages, and spend extra time and money re-doing signs, stationery, advertising, etc.

You can easily check to see if your name idea has been taken yet using Made Simple and it’s also wise to verify if a similar trademark already exists.

Choosing the legal status of your business

The legal status you choose determines whether you need to register your business with Companies House, which is the UK’s registrar of companies. The legal status also affects the records and accounts that you have to keep, the amount of tax and National Insurance (NI) you will pay, and your financial liability if the business were to go under. 

It’s also worth noting that in the UK employees pay NI contributions to qualify for certain state benefits and a state pension when they retire. This total will vary based on the legal status of your business. Here are the most common types of legal business structures to choose from when setting up a new business.

Sole trader 

This is the easiest option if you are the only owner (you can still employ people). There is no business registration with Companies House required and keeping records and accounts is simple. Many businesses start off as sole traders and change their legal status later on.

You can benefit from full profit retention and you can complete your own self-assessment tax return online each year, or get an accountant to do it for you. There will be more about paying taxes in the next section. 

If you want to protect the name of your business, you will still need a trademark as no formal registration happens. You will need to weigh up the cost of this to see if it is worth doing.

The downside of being a sole trader is that you have unlimited liability, meaning you are liable for any debts the business has. You could risk your own personal assets, such as your house and savings if the business got into financial difficulty. Sole traders also find it harder to get the funding they need from banks, but it could be the right option for you if your business is low-risk and does not need finance. 

Some people prefer to deal with sole traders over limited companies as the business tends to feel more personal, particularly if the nature of the work is sensitive.

Partnership 

This is the easiest option when there is more than one business owner, and two or more people share the costs, risks, and responsibilities. You do not have to have equal shares and each person’s liability is proportionate to their share.

The downside is that like being a sole trader, partners are not protected financially. If the business goes under you could become liable for your partner’s share of the debt. To avoid this scenario, you can become a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) so that the LLP is then responsible for any debt and not the business owners.

Limited company 

Most limited companies in the UK are limited by shares. Setting the business up as a limited company means it is a separate legal entity that protects you financially, as the company finances are separate from your own personal finances.

It is more complicated than becoming a sole trader as you need to register the business with Companies House, submit accounts and annual returns to them, and adhere to their record-keeping requirements.

There can be financial advantages in terms of paying tax by becoming a limited company, and it can also be easier to obtain financing. It is best to discuss these specific benefits with an accountant before registering your business.

Paying tax and National Insurance

All businesses must be registered with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as soon as you start trading so that you can pay income tax on your profit and Class 2 and 4 national insurance (NI).

This can be done online and the HMRC will set up an account for you to do your self-assessment. Once complete, they will contact you with a ten-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) and send a letter in 2-3 weeks giving you an activation code to access the account.

In order to complete your self-assessment properly, you will need to keep records of your business sales and expenses. To help me stay organized, I have a separate business account that I use to buy the things I need for business operations.

Accepting payment by cash makes keeping track of earnings a bit trickier, and may require keeping and uploading receipts. You can also manage this with your accounting software and add the information to your business financial statements on a monthly basis.

If you are moving to the UK to start a business, you will need to apply for an NI number and can give this number a ring to apply: 0800-141-2075.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

Value Added Tax (VAT) is a tax added to most goods and services. You only need to register for VAT if your VAT taxable turnover is going to exceed the current limit in any rolling 12-month period. The limit is currently is £85,000, and you do not need to include any values from sales that are VAT exempt.

For example, VAT is not added to most food and children’s clothes. Additionally, a lower rate of 5% applies to certain goods and services such as home energy and children’s car seats. The standard VAT rate is 20%.

If you need to register for VAT, there is further information available via www.gov.uk/vat-registration.

Insurance

Some insurance policies are legally required, whereas others are available if you want to protect your business against certain risks. Parts of the business that you can insure include your vehicle, equipment, premises, employees, your products and services, your business idea, and even yourself.

Motor insurance 

Insuring vehicles is always required by law. If you are going to be using your vehicle for work, you will need to make sure you have insured the vehicle for the correct class of use. Any claims would be rejected if you use the vehicle for business purposes without amending your policy to reflect this.

There are other motor insurances available to cover things like tools in a van, that would require Goods in Transit cover. You can compare the costs of these policies via www.confused.com/van-insurance/goods-in-transit.

Professional indemnity 

This insurance is required for certain professions such as accountants and financial advisors. This protects them against claims for losses suffered by customers as a result of mistakes or negligence. Often other professional advisors decide to take this cover out for their own peace of mind in case their customers want to sue them.

Employer’s Liability Insurance

This is mandatory for all businesses with employees. This is to protect you from any claims an employee could make following an accident or illness suffered as a result of working for you.

Additional insurance coverage to consider

Here are some other insurance policies you may want to explore depending on the nature of your business:

Buildings and contentsBusiness Interruption —These policies typically cover any instance where you are unable to operate due to external factors such as inclement weather. The extent of policy coverage fully depends on limitations laid out in your insurance contract. Cyber cover — If you have access to information that would be valuable to fraudsters, this will help manage the cost of the incident and deal with enforcement against you from industry regulators.Employment ProtectionKeyman insuranceMoney in transitProduct LiabilityPublic LiabilityShop insuranceTheft

It is worth remembering that all business insurances are tax-deductible expenses.

As there are so many insurances to think about, it is helpful to go and speak to a local insurance broker to check you have the cover you need. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) website contains a section to help you choose the right insurance for your business.

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Acquire industry-specific licensing

Certain businesses require a license from the local authority to be allowed to trade legally. Some examples include hotels, hairdressers, street traders, boarding kennels, and food outlets.

Contact your local authority and ask to speak to Local Planning or the Building Control Office to find out if you need to register or obtain a license, as failure to do so may qualify as a criminal offense.

Local authorities also have Trading Standards departments who help you understand how to be legally compliant in your business area. You will need to know who the regulator of your industry is and then find a way to keep your knowledge up to date to remain compliant.

Do I need planning permission?

While you investigate whether there is a need for a license from the local authority, also ask them if you need planning permission. Working from home or changing the use of a building can both require planning consent, even if you are not changing the physical building.

You can be fined if you set up a business at home without permission. If your work leads to extra foot traffic and a lack of parking, excess noise, etc. your neighbors may end up reporting you.

Ask the Local Planning or Building Control Office about the plans for your business as soon as you can. Planning consent can take time if it is needed and may cost some money, so it is good to have this figured out early on. 

Employing staff

If you’re going to take on staff you will need to ensure that you comply with certain pieces of employment legislation. Here’s what you need to establish.

Carry out applicant checks 

As an employer, it’s your legal responsibility to make sure you check that any staff has the right to work in the UK. Depending on which sector you work in you may also need to undertake a criminal records check known as a DBS check. Failure to do so can lead to you and your business being liable for a civil penalty.

Register with the HMRC as an employer 

You usually need to register with HMRC within 4-weeks of taking on your first employee. You’ll be responsible for deducting any tax and National Insurance contributions from your staff’s pay. You’ll also be responsible for paying any remaining employee or business taxes at the end of the year if you do not plan accordingly.

National minimum wage 

You must make sure that all staff is paid at least the current national minimum wage per hour for all the hours that they work. The rate does depend on each employees’ age and if they’re an acting apprentice.

Pensions auto-enrolment 

As an employer, you must enroll all eligible staff into a workplace pension scheme. There are different pension types that either require you or the government to add a specific matching dollar value to each employee pension. In most automatic enrollment schemes, employees will make contributions based on total earnings, including:

salary or wagesbonuses and commissionovertimestatutory sick paystatutory maternity, paternity, or adoption pay

Statement of employment 

You will need to issue all staff, who will be with you for more than a month, with a written statement of employment. This document sets out the conditions of their employment, such as hours and pay, and must be given to staff within 8-weeks of their start date. In addition, staff should be given a contract (which can be incorporated with the statement of employment).

The contract sets out details of their rights, responsibilities, and working conditions. Make sure the contract is clear on which terms are contractual and which are not, as this will affect how you can make any changes in the future.

Employers liability insurance 

We mentioned this before, but if you employ staff other than direct family members then you need to take out employers liability insurance. This type of insurance will cover will protect you from claims made by employees if they are injured or fall ill at the workplace.

Health and safety 

All employers are required to provide a safe working environment for their staff. If you have more than 5 staff you will need to have a formal written Health & Safety policy. This includes a safe place to work, safe access to work, safe systems of work, safe equipment procedures, safe interactions between workers, and protection from risks of injury.

Legislation that may affect your business

Legislations are rules and regulations that you must adhere to whilst running your business. I have not listed all of them as not all will apply to every business, but you will need to identify the ones that apply to you. We will touch on the more common ones, but to explore more legislation please visit www.legislation.gov.uk.

Employment law

Employment law is there to protect the rights of employees and their health and safety. We will touch on the main laws to consider for those employing staff.

Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974

Premises and machinery must be safe and not affect the health of workers. If you employ 5 or more staff you need to have a written health and safety policy and conduct risk assessments which need to be documented and communicated to the employees.

Equal Pay Act of 1970 

Employees must be paid equally to those who do work of the same value regardless of their sex.

Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 

Employees cannot be discriminated at any stage of recruitment, training, or employment.

Race Relations Act of 1976

It is illegal to discriminate against a person because of their color, race, or ethnic group.

Employment Protection Act of 1978

Employers must provide employees with a written contract of employment. This is to protect them from unfair dismissal and gives them the right to redundancy pay should their job no longer be required after 2-years.

Consumer Protection

Consumer Protection rights are there to protect customers from unfair business practices.

Sale and Supply of Goods Act 

Goods must be of a decent standard. This applies to any goods that are identified and agreed to be purchased by consumers.

Trade Descriptions Act 

Goods and services must be as advertised and you must not give misleading information.

Distance Selling Act 

Some selling methods, such as online shopping, require you to allow a ‘cooling-off’ period, during which time a customer can change their mind about a purchase and obtain a refund. 

Data Protection Act/GDPR

This will apply to anyone that needs to take any customer details, so it will apply to the majority of businesses. You’ll want to make sure you fully understand the extent of these protections and can check the Information Commissioner’s Office for specifics.

Develop internal legal documents

Developing internal legal documents helps to instill confidence in your business for the benefit of everyone — your customers, employees, and potential investors.

Privacy policy

A privacy policy is a statement that tells your customers how their data will be collected, used, stored, and protected. It should also detail if there may be a need to share any personal information.

Company handbook

Your company handbook is something you will probably change and add to as your business grows. In short, it is really a book to summarise how you do things in your business. It needs to be made available to staff at all times — you could either give everyone a copy or make it otherwise easily available for reference. Here’s what to include.

Your company mission statement

Your employees want to know the goals and reasons for your company’s existence. This is where your mission statement comes into play. Generally, it should include the history of your company, the vision, and the goals you want to achieve.

Your company’s policies 

Your company policies are typically extensions of required legal stipulations along with any additional company-specific policies. This can be anything that is important such as having a clear desk policy outside of office hours to help protect data or even just the way you want staff to answer the phone.

Human resources and legal information related to employment

If you don’t have an HR department to help you outline every policy, you’ll need to address the following:

Joining the company Employee benefitsWorking hours Annual Leave and sickness absenceAbsence management –policy for managing short and long-term absence and requirements for reportingBribery, confidentiality, whistleblowing, and data protectionEqual opportunities and bullying and harassment policiesIT rules (including areas such as social media use both inside and outside of work)Your Health and Safety policy including how you intend for you and your staff to implement this Disciplinary/Grievance proceduresFlexible family-friendly legislation policiesCapability and performance management targets and proceduresTermination of employment including retirement and redundancy

It is a good idea not to make any company policies contractual for staff so you can amend the staff policies in the employee handbook at any time.

Retaining legal counsel

It is useful to have a solicitor on retainer so that you can get advice whenever you need it. When starting and operating a small business you probably won’t need a solicitor often, but having phone support available for when you do will be beneficial.

There are large national organizations that offer this service such as Peninsula Group Limited, but you may prefer to ask a local solicitor or a more friendly and personal service.

Why develop a legal action plan?

Incorporating a legal action plan into your larger business plan may be necessary when pitching to investors or applying for funding. It’s also valuable to incorporate specific legal steps into your milestones to better use as a management tool.

Now, this guide has covered a lot of different legal components, so you may find it easier to write a separate legal action plan. Since Employment Law is such a large part of legal planning, if you do not plan to hire any staff and will operate by yourself, you might just need a simple legal checklist.

In any case, be sure that you have some sort of plan in place to be sure you address everything.

Don’t get overwhelmed by legal requirements

This all may seem daunting as there is so much to think about, but I hope that this guide helps you to plan and meet your legal obligations. It is best to start off small but keep the big picture in mind. Keep referring back to your traditional business plan so as not to lose sight of what you dreamed of.

If you ever have questions or concerns about specific legal requirements, check the official UK government website or reach out directly to a legal expert for assistance. Best of luck with your new venture!

Editors’ Note: This article is purely informational and should not be taken as legal advice. If you have questions regarding specific laws, licensing or protections contact your preferred legal counsel. 

Original Source: articles.bplans.com

Whether you want to free yourself from the personal and financial restrictions of employment or you just want to supplement your salary with some extra spending money, working for yourself or starting and growing a business has never been easier — and there’s never been a greater choice of roles to choose from.

Below are several incredible freelance and small business opportunities in a variety of different industries you can start working on today.

Home & Remote Business Opportunities

What’s not to love about working from home? Zero commute, complete kitchen facilities, and maybe even the ability to work in your pajamas.

Here are some great business opportunities that will allow you to work from the comfort of home:

1. Professional Consulting

Those with an enviable track record in setting up or helping to grow businesses have easily-transferable skills they can use to make money from home.

Market yourself as a professional consultant who assists others in launching and building successful businesses through online sites like Clarity. Alternatively, you could also offer (and charge more for) in-person consultations, either going out to visit clients on their turf, or having them come to your home office (although you should probably get changed out of those PJs first).

2. Home-Based Child Care

Childcare is and always will be essential to many families, and daycare centers don’t come cheap. If you’re already spending the day keeping a watchful eye over your own little ones, why not pocket a little extra cash by undercutting the “pros” and providing childcare to friends and neighbors, too?

3. Tutoring

What in-demand skills do you have that you can teach to others? Business skills like consultancy are generally the most profitable, as you can charge much more for your time — but it’s usually harder to find clients, and many of your bookings will be one-off training sessions.

Other skills, from teaching languages to music to helping with reading or writing, are all easy to turn into businesses — and they can be reasonably lucrative and hugely rewarding, too.

What you can charge will depend upon your experience, location, and vocation you’re teaching; just don’t expect to make your millions this way. That said, most of your customers will visit on a recurring basis, so tutoring should at least provide you with a regular, reliable income.

4. Elder Care

Like childcare, care for the elderly is an essential service that will always be in demand. What’s more, those that need it often do better when able to remain in their own homes instead of moving into assisted living.

While certain elements of care require medical qualifications, helping clients with day-to-day tasks like shopping, cleaning, and cooking do not.

5. Private Chef

If you’re skilled in the kitchen but don’t fancy the long hours and stressful environment that’s synonymous with full-time restaurant work, you might want to consider working as a private chef instead.

Exactly what this entails will vary from job to job, but expect to mainly be dishing up quality cuisine to groups of friends and family at dinner parties. Just bear in mind that you might need to employ waitstaff to serve food and drinks and look after guests.

6. Driving

The gig economy isn’t for everyone, but for the right person, driving for Uber or Lyft are great ways to make a little cash. You can choose the hours you drive, and the app will automatically connect you to clients who need a ride. 

7. Thrifting

Have you ever seen a piece of furniture on Craigslist that has potential if someone would just give it a little TLC? If you are particularly handy, you could go to thrift shops and garage sales, pick up items at low prices, refurbish them, and turn them around for a higher price.

This concept doesn’t just apply to furniture, either. If you have a good eye, you could scout for collectibles, oddities, and more. Auction sites like eBay can connect you with a wide audience looking for your items.

8. Makeup & Hair Styling

Proms, weddings, and other special occasions compel people to look their best. You can become an independent stylist and have people come to your home studio, or you can make house calls or work on-location. Eventually, you might consider opening up a salon or spa, but many independent artists love the flexibility of working from home and/or being mobile.

9. Pet Sitting

Just like in-home child care, pet sitting is an industry that you can tap into to make extra money. Many folks want the peace of mind knowing that someone is there for their fur baby, ensuring they’re comfortable and safe while they’re gone. Sites such as care.com help put potential clients in front of pet sitters in their local area.

10. Airbnb

If you have an extra room, casita, or property, you can use it to earn money when you sign up as an Airbnb host. You can list your space for free, and Airbnb does all the heavy lifting for you, making it easy to attract and host travelers. You can charge what you want, and Airbnb even protects you with property damage and accident insurance.

Online Business Opportunities

Online business opportunities also afford you all the benefits of working from home, but even better, many of them allow you to work from absolutely anywhere (which has never been easier or more fun, thanks to the ever-growing coworking industry).

Tommy Landry of Return on Now, explains this transformation. “One of the major changes to ‘how we work’ over the past decade is the massive shift toward free agency, i.e. freelancing, consulting, or running solopreneur-types of businesses,” he says. “While many older workers were taught to pursue security in the form of a full-time job, that is no longer the only way to make a living. In fact, it has become super easy to make the leap out to independence heading into 2019. You could consult or freelance in a number of areas from copywriting to marketing strategy, or run your own ecommerce business from your home.”

He also advises that no matter which path you choose, the smart way to “escape” your full-time job is to start making this transition while you’re still working. “I started my own business as a side gig back in 2009, while running marketing teams for local high tech companies,” he explains. “It took 2.5 years to build up the business enough to sustain a living income, and I went full-time in 2012. I’m living proof … if you want to run solo, you can do it with the right business model, a sound exit strategy, and a lot of hard work.”

11. Gig Work

Want a way to start making money in minutes? Sites like Upwork, Freelancer,  and People Per Hour allow you to do just that.

Another valuable (but often overlooked) resource for finding freelance work is Craigslist. “Craigslist has a whole section devoted to Gigs you can join to make additional money,” says Carl Sednaoui, Director of Marketing at MailCharts.

Just bear in mind that these jobs aren’t scalable. What they are, however, is a great way to make a little extra pocket money by outsourcing your skills on your own terms.

Some sites are better than others — in terms of both opportunities and pay — so you should do your research to find the best match for your skills, abilities, and expectations.

It’s also well worth considering some sound advice from Foundr‘s Jeremy Noronha. “Go where your customers are, not where your competition is,” he advises. “Many freelancers who get started tend to hang out in the online communities with their peers and not their potential clients. The best way to develop and build the right relationships is to provide value in all the places your ideal clients spend their time.”

Some skills are more in demand than others. The rarer the skill (and the better you are at it), the more you can expect to earn. 

12. Web Design

It can be tough to find great web designers and developers, and that’s why freelance web designers are highly sought after. As Ashley Faulkes, founder of Mad Lemmings explains, one of the biggest reasons behind this is the fact that the industry is overrun with cheap-yet-underskilled designers and developers.

“Web design and development has gotten a bad rap lately with so many cheap options available, but I still find clients who want a personal and professional touch,” she says. “You can start with the basics, and produce top-notch sites using online tools, or start with WordPress and good themes and page builders. Focus on quality and great communication and you will soon make a name for yourself.”

13. App Development

More than half of all web traffic is mobile. It may be competitive, but if you’ve got the skills, there’s big money to be made either in developing and distributing your own app or developing apps for others.

14. Amazon Selling

While the working conditions of Amazon’s own employees regularly come under fire, there are plenty of ways to make money through Amazon without being on its payroll.

Thanks to services like Amazon Fulfillment, it’s easier than you might think to sell products from home, since Amazon will pick, pack, and deliver your orders for you. The service can even enable you to import and export outside your home country.

Other opportunities include self-publishing ebooks (you can learn more about writing books that sell here) and affiliate marketing, which involves linking to Amazon products from your website, and earning a commission if a link is clicked and a purchase made.

15. Etsy Selling

Etsy is the platform for selling goods such as arts, crafts, jewelry, and much more. Basically, if it’s handmade, vintage, or just a little bit different, Etsy’s the place to find it (and sell it).

16. Course Creation

Sites like Udemy and Coursera allow you to market, sell, and profit from courses you’ve created yourself. Few of the courses are accredited, but that’s reflected in the price students pay.

They’re also far more popular than you might think. “Online courses are huge right now,” says David Hoos, Head of Marketing at The Good marketing agency. “They can be incredibly helpful to develop niche skills and businesses will often use them for professional development purposes. If you have a unique skill that you can organize and share, a course is a great way to do it!”

17. Virtual Assisting

Working as a virtual personal assistant takes minimal skill and is easy to get into, since there are always businesses looking for people to take on day-to-day grunt work without the cost of hiring an assistant in-house.

18. Influencer Marketing on Social Media

This one might sound like wishful thinking, but countless people are making substantial amounts of money simply by having a large and engaged social following.

Sure, it’s not for everyone, and even if it is for you, it takes time to become successful. That said, if you’ve got the right personality and patience, making money using your influence online is a very real possibility.

19. Freelance Writing

With the demand for digital content, you can position yourself in front of clients who need text produced for their websites or other collateral. The most popular freelance opportunities are in:

Content writing – Writing article content to drive traffic.
Copy writing – Writing sales copy to drive conversions and revenue.

In addition, you can even be more specialized within those functions. For example, you could focus on case studies or whitepapers.

Federal Business Opportunities

This might sound surprising in the age of corporate giants, but where possible, the U.S. government supports small businesses by contracting work out to local independents. This means there are always opportunities for the “little guy” to get their foot in the door with the federal government. You can view a forecast of contracting opportunities here.

Meanwhile, common federal business opportunities include:

20. Construction

This could entail constructing new government buildings or updating or maintaining existing buildings. Even simple janitorial work is understandably always in demand.

Opportunities are typically listed on job sites like Indeed and Simply Hired.

21. Security

Security is, understandably, of extreme importance in government buildings. While this will include security measures like cameras and alarms, security personnel are often employed in order to screen visitors and patrol the interior and exterior of buildings at off-hours.

While you can provide security services as a sole contractor, the business is easily scalable by employing and finding work for others.

22. Consultancy

Consultants are experts in a specialist field who are employed to advise those with less knowledge and experience than themselves. Government consultants are no different.

Don’t expect finding work in this area to be easy, however. You’ll need solid proof of your ability to do the job, and you may well be required to have a degree — in some cases, even a master’s or Ph.D.

Other Business Opportunities

If none of the opportunities above sound like something you could leverage, here are a few other lucrative business opportunities that could be the right fit for your skills:

23. Personal Training

Health, fitness, and general wellbeing are big business. That means those with the skills to help others be their best are in high demand. That includes personal trainers, for one.

So how do you get started as a personal trainer?

Personal training is an unregulated industry, but that doesn’t mean your 3-year gym membership qualifies you to help others improve their strength and fitness. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could cause somebody serious injury.

You can read up on reputable personal training courses and what to do once you’re qualified, here.

24. Real Estate

In many states, you can complete the required training, become a licensed agent, and start a new career in just a few weeks or months. While it does require an investment of time, money, and effort, it can be well worth it. You can be your own boss, work a flexible schedule, and have the potential to make a lot of money. While there is no shortage of real estate agents in the industry, there’s still plenty of space for agents who genuinely want to do the best they can for their clients. Learn how to get a real estate license here.

25. Turnkey Businesses

Turnkey businesses offer an ideal startup model for those with limited time or budget, largely because the time investment is minimal.

Examples of turnkey businesses include storage units, laundromats, and automated car washes — basically, turnkey businesses are those that are largely self-sufficient and can almost manage themselves.

26. Trade Work

If you’re skilled in DIY and happy to compete on price while making a name for yourself, you can start leveraging your skills for cash right away.

Don’t know a hammer from a hacksaw? Then enroll in a course and learn. Skilled trades are one of the few industries in which demand outstrips talent. Whether you want to start out on your own, or begin by working for someone else, the pay is good, the work is rewarding, and job security is pretty much guaranteed.

A few trades you might want to consider include:

Carpentry
Plumbing/HVAC
Iron work
Cabinetry
Auto repair
Auto detailing

27. Lead Generation

Almost all B2B companies have a need for leads. What they don’t all have is the time to acquire them.

While there are numerous services offering up automated lead data, the quality of those leads is questionable at best. That means there’s good money to be made sourcing qualified leads for time-strapped, growth-focused companies.

AeroLeads‘ Pushkar Gaikwad has some good advice on how to do this. “Partner with local marketing agencies and provide them with B2B data, prospects and leads, based on their requirements,” he says. “You can gather such data using various free and paid online tools. Later you can start your own lead generation agency, too.”

28. Food or Coffee Truck

Running a restaurant or coffee shop is risky business, primarily because overhead is so high. Traditional brick-and-mortars are not your only option when it comes to managing a food or drink business, however. You can be super-successful for a fraction of the cost with a food or coffee truck.

Izaak Crook of AppInstitute agrees. “Food trucks are a fantastic way to showcase your culinary expertise without the overhead of opening a static restaurant — and what’s more, you can take your food on the road to different events and festivals to raise awareness of your brand,” he explains. “Create your own mobile app for your truck and help to build a loyal customer base through offering a loyalty scheme — and even offer pre-ordering so that punters don’t have to wait out in the cold whilst you prepare their meals!”

The key to any successful small business is knowing exactly who your audience is, how you plan to attract and serve them, and why they should buy from you. Start planning for your business today.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Original Source: blog.hubspot.com

If you dream of clocking out of your nine-to-five job for the last time and becoming your own boss, you’ve probably considered a variety of small business ideas. But, while you have plenty of passion, direction can be hard to find.

To help, I’ve pulled together small business ideas for anyone who wants to run their own business. Use these as a jumping off point to spark your own unique ideas:

Small Business Ideas
Home Business Ideas

And if all else fails, live the words of Airbnb Co-founder Brian Chesky: “If we tried to think of a good idea, we wouldn’t have been able to think of a good idea. You just have to find the solution for a problem in your own life.”

Ready to take things to the next level? This ultimate guide to entrepreneurship can help you do more than dream up a good idea. It can help you turn it into reality today.


Best Small Business Ideas
1. Handyman

Are you always fixing things around the house? Often on call when friends need small projects completed? Put together a website, figure out what your time and expertise is worth, and start asking those thankful friends for referrals.

2. Woodworker

Similarly, if you have a passion for crafting beautiful furniture or other home goods out of wood — there’s demand for that. List a few of your pieces on sites like Etsy, eBay, or Craigslist. Once you build a following, consider starting a website, accepting custom orders, or expanding to refinishing work and upholstery.

3. Online dating consultant

Dating consultants usually charge for their time. They help people create successful online dating profiles, source possible matches from outside normal online channels, and offer a level of personalization Tinder just can’t. Think you’ve got a knack for the match? This might be the business for you.

4. Sewing and alteration specialist

People will always need clothing hemmed and buttons mended — and you could be the person to do it. If you love sewing, start by offering simple services like those mentioned above, and expand your repertoire to dressmaking and design as you build a customer base and demand.

5. Freelance developer

From building websites for other small businesses to providing technical support for certain projects, quality web development is in high demand right now. With such a technical skillset, make sure you can describe what you do and how you will do it in easy-to-understand language. Test your messaging on friends and family who don’t have a firm understanding of the work you do.

6. Personal trainer

Offer in-home consultations, personalized nutrition and exercise regimens, and community boot camps to get the word out. Don’t forget to populate an Instagram feed with inspirational quotes, free exercise videos, and yummy snack ideas as well — it’s a common way for fitness gurus to build their brands.

7. Freelance graphic designer

Set your own hours, choose your projects, and build a portfolio and business you’re proud of. From website design to blog graphics and more, many companies seek out experienced graphic designers for all manner of projects.

8. Life/career coach

If you have some experience under your belt, put it to good use as a life or career coach. Many of us are looking for guidance in our careers — and finding someone with the time to mentor us can be tough. Life/career coaches don’t come cheap, but they are able to offer clients the intense and hands-on training and advice they need to make serious moves in their personal and professional lives. After all, sometimes everyone just needs some uplifting advice.

9. Resume writer

Submitting a resume, cover letter, and — when necessary — portfolio for a new job can be tough and time consuming. That’s why many people hire help. Assist clients with tailored resumes, beautifully edited cover letters, and carefully crafted portfolios that make it impossible for employers to ignore.

10. Freelance writer

If you have writing skills, there’s someone out there willing to pay you for them. Write blog posts, magazine articles, and website copy galore — just make sure you have a body of work built up to share with potential clients. Even if you create a few sample pieces to have on hand, they’ll help exhibit your work and attract new business.

11. Translator

Speak a foreign language? Start a translation service. Consider specializing in a specific genre of translation, like medical or financial translation, as you might be able to fill a niche need in your community.

12. Garden designer

Many people have the willingness to do the dirty work in their backyards, but few have the know-how to design a backyard space to begin with. Draw up the designs for your clients’ outdoor spaces and let them do the actual digging.

13. Ecommerce store owner

Do you create, collect, or curate anything special? Consider starting an ecommerce store and turning your hobby into a full-time job. Whether you need somewhere to sell all that pottery you’ve been making, or an excuse to search for the sports memorabilia you love tracking down — an ecommerce store can make it financially viable for you to pursue your passion.

14. Landscaper

Mowing, tree-trimming, and seasonal decor are all neighborhood needs. If you have or can acquire the equipment, a landscaping business can be a lucrative affair.

15. Videographer

Video production requires you to have invested in the equipment up front which can be quite expensive. But that’s also what makes your services so valuable. Make sure you have a reel of your work to share or create a website with several selections of your work available for interested viewers.

16. Photographer

Start by conducting photo shoots for your family and friends. As you build a body of work, ask for referrals. Photography businesses often grow by word of mouth, so create a Facebook page where you can tag recent clients, which will show up in their friends’ newsfeeds as well.

17. Travel planner

The time of the travel agent might be passing, but people are still looking for those with a knack for more nontraditional travel coordination. If you always plan the perfect vacations complete with beautiful hotels, the ideal location, and a bevy of delicious restaurants lined up for every evening, consider advertising your services as a more modern approach to travel planning.

18. Car-detailing specialist

The devil is in the details and you can be too. Car detailing services that travel to the client are in high demand. Just make sure you have the flexibility, transportation, and equipment to take your business on the road.

19. Home inspector

This will require a great deal of expertise and certification, but it’s a job that can give you the flexibility and pay you’ve always dreamed of. Confirm the licensing requirements in your state and consider taking a few courses to build out your knowledge, authority, and expertise.

20. House cleaner

With a low barrier to entry, house cleaning can be a great way to start doing what you love — soon. Consider advertising to homes in your neighborhood and get more bang for your buck by earning a few small businesses as clients as well. They’ll usually bring in a higher paycheck for a similar amount of work.

21. Personal chef

We all love to eat, but few of us have the time or energy to cook healthy, delicious meals. Advertise your services to local families and businesses alike. And consider “chunking” certain groups of clients — say, vegetarians — so you can cook larger quantities of the same dish to feed them all.

22. Property manager

Many people maintain properties they don’t live in — often based in different cities or states. It’s helpful to have someone to ensure the property is being well taken care of, handle small fixes as they arise, and serve as a liaison to renters.

23. Packing services facilitator

Moving is always a pain, and many people hire the entire packing process out. Want to have a steady stream of clients? Partner with a local moving service who will refer new clients to you.

24. Massage therapist

Soothe aching muscles and promote peace for your clients as a massage therapist. Look into training and certification courses in your city and state and invest in a portable bed to take on client visits.

25. Hairdressing or makeup artist

Sure, you could go to cosmetology school and pay for an expensive chair at a salon, or you could offer specialized styling and makeup services right to your client’s door.

26. Bed and breakfast owner

This is another business venture that will require you to research the correct licensure from your state, but it will be well worth it to see your dreams come true. Consider what guests will be traveling to your area to experience and create special packages and themed stays to coincide with their interests in your locale.

27. Interior designer

Similar to landscape design — there are many people who have the ability to buy the furniture and home decor they need to fill their rooms, but few who know where to start. It might take some time to build a portfolio but documenting your projects and sharing them online can build a fan base beyond your wildest dreams.

28. Nonprofit owner

If you dream of devoting your life to a cause you believe in, it might be time to start a nonprofit. You’ll need to incorporate your business and file for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status — and then you’ll be required to meet ongoing standards of compliance, but the payoff is making a meaningful impact on a cause you believe in. Want to do good while still making a profit? Consider social entrepreneurship.

29. Tour guide

Love the local history of your city or state? Consider becoming a tour guide. Sure, you’ll need to conduct tons of research to be able to do the job well, but that’s half the fun. Set yourself apart by offering tours that speak to a specific niche of your community’s history. Some tour guides offer historical walking tours of their town’s most haunted spots while others curate guided foodie tours for guests to get a true taste of the city.

30. Tutor

Whether math whiz, piano master, or Shakespeare aficionado — there’s someone out there who needs a little help and is willing to pay for it. Advertise your services through local schools, community colleges, and community centers to get the word out and build a customer base.

31. Consultant

If you have significant experience in or knowledge of a specific subject, consider becoming a consultant. Perhaps you’re an expert at hiring practices, have a knack for SEO, or have led multiple sales teams to six-figure success. If you’re good at it, market yourself as a consultant and charge the going rate.

32. Clothing boutique owner

If you dream of building your own fashion empire, why not start with a local boutique? Build buzz with impressive window displays, inspiring social media accounts, and heavy community involvement.

33. Event planner

You might choose to specialize in a specific type of event — like weddings or company meetings — or set yourself up as an event planner of all trades. If you’re highly organized, pay keen attention to minute details, and have experience planning large events, it might be time others benefit from your skills.

34. Specialty food store owner

Gourmet foods, cheeses, sake, wine — you name a food, there’s a specialty food store out there for it. Put your passion for exotic olive oils to good use and open a store where you offer the kind of expertise and selection your audience couldn’t dream of getting from their local grocer.

35. Personal assistant

Again, if you’re an organized, highly detailed person, the life of a personal assistant might be for you. Don’t want to be tied to one office or person all day, every day? Consider becoming a virtual assistant, which allows you a more flexible work environment.

36. Food truck owner

Always dreamt of owning a restaurant but not quite ready to take the plunge? Test out your concepts with a food truck. It’s a great way to become familiar with food and restaurant licensing in your state, see what people like and don’t like, and build a ravenous following before ever opening or investing in a brick-and-mortar location.

37. Consignment shop owner

If you have an eye for style but don’t want to invest in the inventory of a brand-new boutique, consider going consignment. It will allow you to curate a collection of clothing that matches your goals and aesthetic, without the overhead of a boutique selling entirely new garments.

38. Caterer

If that personal chef gig is too restrictive for your schedule, consider catering instead. Pick your projects, work fewer but larger events, and get really good at time management.

39. Gym owner

Kickboxing gyms, yoga studios, CrossFit, oh my! Turn your passion for fitness into a community for others by opening your own gym.

40. Daycare owner

Childcare continues to be in high demand. While nannies and nanny shares are popular right now, a good daycare is hard to find. Fill a need in your neighborhood by opening your own. And, as always, make sure you’re complying with your city and state’s zoning, licensure, insurance, and inspection requirements.

41. Boutique agency owner

What’s your specialty? Whether it’s marketing, social media, or PR, it might be time to start your own agency. Many other small businesses need this type of help, but don’t have the resources or volume to necessitate a full-time position. Consider a building a small team and learn from other entrepreneurs who’ve successfully started their own agencies, like Duane Brown of Take Some Risk.

42. Coffee shop owner

Turn your caffeine addiction into something a little more lucrative. Opening a franchise or buying an existing shop are lower-risk entry points to the coffee game but they usually require a little more cash up front. Starting a shop from scratch requires a little more planning and a lot more work — but it also maximizes your earning potential in the future.

43. Moving company

A truck, moving equipment, manpower, and the correct permits and insurance are the building blocks of starting your own moving company. Before you buy your first fleet of trucks, however, start small with a moving van and keep your costs low. Still sound like too much of an initial investment? Consider offering packing services only, which have a much lower financial barrier to entry.

44. Home staging

If you have a flare for interior design, a staging service might serve as your creative outlet and professional calling. You can build a portfolio with little initial investment by staging homes using the owner’s existing furnishings and decor. Most stagers eventually build up inventory of furniture as they become more established and network with area realtors.

45. Dog walker, groomer, or trainer

Licensing and insurance will be the two most important factors in opening a dog walking, grooming, or training business, but your canine colleagues will surely make up for the initial red tape. To test the waters before jumping in, consider walking dogs through companies like Rover or Wag. Ready to run your own show? Consider a franchise like Dogtopia.


Home Business Ideas

These home business ideas give you a few more business options that are either based at home or online.

1. Freelancer

In the world of freelance, you can work from home and be your own boss. Use your skills to earn business in your desired field:

Writing
SEO
Transcription
Design
Illustration
Coding
Consulting

2. Social media manager

Do you have a knack for social media? As a social media manager, you can use your skills to manage the social media accounts for companies and even individual people. Influencer marketing has become more common and many influencersrely on marketing agencies or employees to help them run their social channels.

3. Data entry clerk

Many businesses seek data entry clerks to help them enter information into their computer systems and spreadsheets. If you have fantastic computer and typing skills, this might be the business for you.

4. Pet sitter

Do you have a passion for pets? Consider becoming a pet sitter. While the pet’s owners are away on vacation, either host their pet at your home or make visits to their home. Join a pet sitting service like Rover or Care.com to get started.

5. Vacation host

Have you ever used a home sharing service instead of a hotel? You could make a living by hosting visitors in your own home or renting out a room. Consider becoming a host with companies like Airbnb, Vrbo, or Homestay.

1. Identify your small business idea.

Whether you choose an option from the list above or have another idea up your sleeve, it’s important to have the experience, training, or skills necessary to be successful. Want to run a daycare but have never even visited a successful daycare center? Spend time conducting research to learn whether this is really the right fit for your experience and interests.

2. Start as a side business or hobby.

Can you get your business off the ground as an evenings or weekends side job? This allows you to make some mistakes, test the market, and understand whether your idea has legs before you quit your nine-to-five job and lose your primary income.

3. Create a business plan.

Once you know your idea has the potential to succeed, it’s time to build a business plan. Not sure where to start? Try this business plan template.

Your business plan should include the following elements:

Executive summary — A high-level overview of your company and market placement.
Business model — Outline what your business does, who your business serves, and how your business is structured. You should include a description of what products and services you offer, and how they meet the needs of your customers.
Market condition — A summary of pertinent competitor information. Determine the strengths and weaknesses of your closest competitors.
Products and services — Use this section to describe your products and services in detail, and outline what differentiates your product from others in the market.
Operations and management — Outline your business’ organization structure, key roles, and responsibilities.
Marketing and sales strategy — This section should describe how you will market and sell your product. Include information on your ideal customer, how you plan to position your offering, and your sales strategy.

Financial plan — Create a detailed outline of your business financials. Include your start-up costs, your initial financial productions, and how you anticipate generating funding.

Appendix — Once the above pieces are complete, end the document with an appendix summarizing your business plan.

Business plans should identify what makes your offering different from competitors. They should also be short and actionable. And your business plan should evolve with your business.

4. Decide whether you’ll be an LLC or sole proprietorship.

Two common legal structures for small businesses are limited liability corporations (LLCs) and sole proprietorships.

An LLC is a more complex business structure than a sole proprietorship, and can include individuals, corporations, and other LLCs as members. Additionally, LLCs are not subject to a separate level of tax and offer the business owner liability protection and tax advantages. LLCs are formed on a state-by-state basis.

Sole proprietorships are businesses owned and operated by one person, and are not identified as a separate entity from the owner by the government. While a sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure, sole proprietors are personally liable for their business.

Learn more about choosing the right structure for your business from the Small Business Administration.

5. Create a business bank account.

Once you have a legally formed business and have been issued an Employer Identification Number (EIN), open a bank account specifically for your business. Having a business bank account is essential for keeping your personal and business finances separate which can help you gain an accurate picture of your business’ cash flow and financial health. Additionally, keeping your personal and business finances separate makes bookkeeping and tax preparation easier.

Many banks offer business checking and savings accounts. Business checking accounts typically do not have a limit on the number of transactions that can take place, and issue a debit card that can be used for making business purchases. However, these checking accounts do not accrue interests.

Business savings accounts typically earn interest over time, but have a limited number of transactions that can occur each month. When you’re just starting out, look for a business bank account that does not have a minimum balance requirement so you are not penalized for having low funds as you work to build your business.

6. Decide on your software.

You’ve got a lot of things on your plate when first starting up. But one step that’s critical (and often forgotten by first-time entrepreneurs) is deciding on the software that can help you be more efficient as your business grows.Every business is different — but almost all companies can use software to help with analytics, project management, accounting, bookkeeping, email marketing, and other basic day-to-day tasks. One of the most important software tools every business should utilize is a free CRM to keep track of important customer information in one central database. It will help align your team and make sure you stay organized as your business grows.

7. Determine if your business idea works well from home.

Ask yourself whether your business idea will work well from home. Some businesses simply aren’t suited to being based from home. If you want to run a dog boarding center but live in an apartment without a backyard, you might want to consider a dog walking business instead.

8. Set up an office.

If your business idea is well-suited for being run from home, it’s still important you have a designated work space. While a home office might not be possible, consider setting aside a corner in your living room or putting a desk in your bedroom for a space that inspires you and creates the conditions for success.

Need a more professional space? If you conduct client-facing work requiring you to be on video calls, no one wants to see your rumpled sheets in the background. Check out local coworking spaces for memberships that earn you access to conference rooms, desk space, and more.

9. Get to work!

You’ve put in the hard work and I’ve got good news … it’s only going to get harder. But most entrepreneurs will agree the payoff of being your own boss, making your own hours, and working on projects you’re passionate about will pay dividends for the rest of your life.

Selecting a small business idea is a personal decision. But it can be helpful to bounce ideas off your friends and family. Don’t be afraid to ask for help throughout this process — and remember to have a little fun while you’re putting in the work.

Ready to begin building your small business today? Check out our complete guide for how to start a business. Or brush up on your reading with this high-impact list of books about starting a business you can’t afford not to read.

Original Source: blog.hubspot.com

A reader writes:

Recently, my boss started attending personal therapy (she shared this information with me unprovoked) and shortly after starting her sessions she discovered Brene Brown. Her interest in Brene has moved from simply showing a video during a group meeting to having us all read through one of her books.

My concern comes from the fact that in addition to reading the book as a team, we now have a weird “group therapy” sort of session weekly where we’re expected to have done some homework (reading and completion of “exercises” in the workbook).

In addition to these meetings, every day each team member fills out and completes this short survey:
-Name
-Feeling
-Intensity of feeling
-High point
-Low point
-Daily goal

It ends up looking something like this (names changed, as it’s one of my coworker’s recent posts):

JANE DOE
Feeling: Exhausted
Intensity of feeling: 10
Low point: INFANT’S NAME is crying at the bottom of the stairs while I’m in the office. He barely slept last night, his croup is awful and I feel like a crap mom.
High point: Meh
Goal: Make a dent in the Brene Brown book. I did make my Square Squad!

In addition to just feeling like this is generally weird, I have a personal problem with this as someone who has a mental health disorder. Reading this book has triggered sessions of me profusely crying out of nowhere, and having flashbacks of abuse. (I have a C-PTSD diagnosis due to an abuse history.) There is not a single person on our team who has any sort of psychology/social work type of degree either.

Am I being weird about this just because of my own personal experiences? Or is this type of task expectation at work normal, accepted, okay?

No, this is not normal! It’s not okay either.

That said, in the past two years I’ve received a small handful of letters about offices doing things like this (to the point that I wrote a Slate column about them at one point), so something is going on in our culture that’s making some managers think this is okay. But I want to be clear that just because your office isn’t absolutely alone in doing this, it’s still not common, normal, or acceptable, and most people would object to it.

This type of thing is clearly intended to be supportive in some way — “we care about you as a whole person, not just as a worker!” — but in reality it’s horribly boundary-violating. Lots of people don’t want to share their personal emotions in a workplace setting.  Sometimes that’s because what’s going on with them emotionally is way too big or serious to bring into their office.  Sometimes it’s because sharing in the way requested could open them up to discrimination (particularly when they have a non-mainstream identity). Sometimes it’s because it’s actively bad for their mental health (like your PTSD). And sometimes — much of the time — it’s just because they rightly feel it’s no one’s business.

And this just isn’t what most of us are at work for. Most of us want to do our jobs, get results toward our goals, have some pleasant interactions with our colleagues as we do that, and then go home. Lots of us want to save deep personal introspection for friends, partners, or therapists (if we want to do it all, which we might not and that’s okay too).

You noted that no one on your team has any kind of training in psychology. Even if they did, this still wouldn’t be okay because of all the reasons above. But certainly that makes it even more egregious. Your manager is mucking around in an area that can be big and serious and consequential, without any qualifications for doing it. (But again, even with loads of credentials, it would still be inappropriate to do at work, particularly as a non-optional group activity.)

If you want to push back against it, I’d tell your boss you’re finding these activities harmful to your mental health rather than helpful. If you’re comfortable sharing this, you could say it’s at odds with mental health work that you’re doing on your own/with a therapist. (If she pushes you about why, you can say, “That’s more personal than I’m comfortable going into at work.”) Ask that the meetings be made optional, and that people be able to opt out without any kind of penalty. Even better, if you sense anyone else on your team isn’t fully enthused, talk with them ahead of time and then have this conversation with your boss as a united front.

And managers: You are not a doctor or a therapist or a life coach. You are there to get work done. If you want to support people’s mental health, you can offer excellent health insurance, be flexible with people who need time off for various forms of mental health support (whether it’s therapy or just a day off to avoid burn-out), and be thoughtful about the levels of stress you ask people to take on. That’s it. Leave people’s emotions and personal lives to them to manage.

You may also like:my boss wants us to all share our mental health needs – at every meetingwe have twice-daily mandatory group therapy at workour boss pushes us to share how we’re doing emotionally at team meetings

my manager makes us do mental-health surveys every day was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Original Source: askamanager.org

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