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I have worked for Walsall MBC for almost 30 years starting as Office Junior and working my way up to Local Government Accountant. For the most part I enjoyed my work with Walsall, but have had to give it up due to ill health. I am in the enviable position of not HAVING to work as my partner is in full time employment and I did get 3 months notice pay from Walsall, which I am using carefully.
I decided that I would go ‘freelance’ and try and earn as much as I could without putting any undue strain on my health.
As I say when I left Walsall I was given three months pay in Lieu of notice together with almost another months worth of accrued holiday pay, not a lot for 30 years loyal service but that’s another story. I put this into a savings account with Egg and I use it on a month by month basis to ‘top up’ my finances. Although it was only effectively four months pay, I worked out that I could make it last nearer to twelve months!
The first thing I did was to begin trying to set up my own small business knitting and selling baby clothes and making shawls with daisies made from wool. I have sold a few of these and have visited three craft fairs so far, but it is taking a while to get myself known. This will never make me a living, as the amount of work involved in making the shawls could never be recouped in the price I charge – I’d never sell one then! The real benefit of this was that it gave me a sense of purpose and quite a boost when I did sell something.
Next came my first venture into employment (of sorts) was to take on a paper round. The reason that I had left work was continued ill health in the form of stress and depression and I read that regular exercise might well help. I decided to do a paper round delivering one of the local free sheets. They pay me 2p per paper delivered and my round consists of 206 houses. I also get extra for any leaflets that I deliver at the same time.
The papers and leaflets arrive on Thursday evening and I prepare them for delivery by inserting the leaflets in the papers and then loading them into the trolley supplied by the newspaper group. Dave then gives me a lift to the start of the round on his way to work on Friday morning and it takes me about an hour and a half to deliver them all.
The lowest I ever earned for a week was £5.72 and the highest was £15.80, but it is usually around the £9 mark.
My next job was as an enumerator on the census taken earlier this year. I had to go to a formal interview, which was nerve racking but I got the job and enjoyed it. I had to deliver the blank census forms, preferably handing them to a member of the household, and ask them to complete and return them to the census office. After 29th April, census day, I had to return to the houses where there had been no form returned to deliver a reminder. Again this was good exercise for me and it earned me £450.69.
I was then asked to do my first job as a freelance accountant. Having worked for Local Government naturally my qualification is as a Local Government Accountant, which means that I did not have to study tax or employment law. This is turn means that any freelance work that I do can only be for small businesses or charities that do not pay any tax or employ any members of staff.
Some friends of ours run the Gay and Lesbian Helpline in Ipswich and asked me if I would be prepared to do their end of year accounts for them, for which they would pay me £200. I was a bit out of practice at doing basic income and expenditure accounts and balance sheets but it soon came back to me and I quite enjoyed it. The accounts were praised at the AGM and I earned myself £200.
When I left the employment of Walsall MBC I wrote to our local Electoral Registration Office and asked if they would put me on the register of people willing to work in the polling stations on Election Day. I was offered a job on the General Election and worked as a poll clerk and then as a counting assistant. It was a long day starting at 6.30 at the polling station and ending at about 1.30 the following morning when we had completed the count and the winner had been declared, but it earned me £110.
So far my jobs have all been self-contained with a finite end, apart from my continuing paper round, so I can pick and choose what I do. I have now applied for another part time post working as a Merchandiser for a firm called MEM. They employ people to go to various supermarkets and monitor the stock of CD’s, videos, computer games etc. If I am successful I will have to go on Monday to set up the stock for the coming week and return on Thursday to complete the returns lists.
Since all this work is untaxed I keep a spreadsheet on my PC showing all the money I earn from whatever source, on what date I received the money and the period covered by the money. That way, if I earn enough to warrant my filling in a tax return at the end of the tax year, I will have all the information to hand.
As you obviously know I also work on the Internet, which is something that I can fit in around the other work that I do.
I am a member of both Ciao and Dooyoo writing opinions on various products and getting paid for it.
I work for a site called Visitor Friendly here I am a ‘mystery customer’ testing out websites.
I complete all the questionnaires on YouGov, getting paid for my contribution. (Not very much I grant you!)
I am also a member of Mailround who pay to stamp my incoming and outgoing mail. I receive a variable amount each month, which I can either exchange this for Tesco vouchers or save up to request a cheque.
If you need more information on the websites that I have mentioned here I have done individual opinions on each one.
I have run an Empire home shopping catalogue for many years now which pays me 10% commission in cash, but there’s only Dave and I have anything out of it, apart from the occasional item for mom, so it doesn’t earn me very much, but every little helps!
I don’t make enough money to actually live on as yet, as you can see, but by remaining my own boss I can choose the jobs that will earn me some cash without compromising my health.
very interesting. I too am looking to work fromhome
one47 12.10.2001 21:44
A brave move - I wish you all the best. Steve
mrpaella 22.09.2001 21:09
An excellent op. I gave up work after having 4 nervous breakdowns in 4 years. I am now well enough to write a few ops on Ciao. Your ideas for making money are marvellous. I agree that filling out questionnaires does not pay much. I hope your heath is much improved from before. From my own experience there is nothing worse than stress and depression.Take care...Paul