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20 Questions: John Kilkenny, IT Support Worx

Name? John Kilkenny

Age? 63

Business name? IT Support Worx Ltd

Located in…? Holmes Chapel / Ellesmere Port / Stockport

What do you do? We provide IT support and maintenance for small companies across the North West on a rolling monthly basis – no tie in required.

When did you become ‘self-employed’? 2012

What prompted you to make the ‘leap’? Curiosity, I had done well in the corporate world – could I do it for myself?

Do you miss employment? Generally no, although there’s no denying that the security of a salary hitting your bank account on the same day every month is attractive! – certainly in the early days. In addition, when you start out on your own, it can be a lonely place to be 

In your personal experience, what’s the best thing about self-employment? Put simply, you’re the boss!! What you do, how much you do, when you do it and when you don’t do it – it’s all up to you. Plus, however you choose to judge success or failure, ALL the credit (or the blame) is down to one person – you!

What’s surprised you most about working for yourself? I think it was the size of the self employed community and this thing called Business Networking.

What’s the best piece of advice you could give anyone else thinking of becoming self- employed? Talk to as many self employed people as you can before taking the leap and be prepared for the long haul – instant stardom doesn’t happen often.

What’s the toughest aspect of self-employment? Maintaining belief in yourself and what you have to offer

Did you know there are 4.8m self-employed people in the UK? No, I would have thought there were more.

Does the Government do enough to support people like these?  While there are initiatives targeted at self employed people, I think more could be done.

What do you think the Government could do to make it fairer? I believe the Government could do more in those early, difficult days with a combination of tax / possibly VAT incentives, certainly when it comes to employing people. 

Is being self-employed worth it? Yes

Would you ever consider being an employee again? Briefly flirted with the thought when the going was tough and the money short

Have you ever considered ‘the next step’ becoming an employer – i.e. taking on staff? We have taken on staff. You know when your business needs this extra support but you need to be absolutely ready for that dip in revenue.

What’s the biggest barrier to self-employment? Having the resources to pay the mortgage during those early days and forego those luxuries that you have become used to – having a great idea for a business helps as well!

Do you think schools should promote self-employment as a career option? I think no. To me, being self employed is something that emerges out of your life experience rather than being an objective in itself. Find out what you’re good at / love doing first then decide your best route forward.