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To be self-employed (UK) means that you work for yourself. You don’t have a single employer but work for multiple clients, often at any one time. The money that you earn is untaxed and you’re responsible for filing a Self Assessment tax return to pay the tax you owe HMRC.
When you start working for yourself, you can register your business as one of two things:
There are benefits to both, but a sole trader is the simpler of the two. It’s a good choice if you’re just starting out and is also better suited if you’re a company of one. You are not permanently tied to either and can switch from one to the other if needed.
If you’re planning to hire a team, however, you’ll have to register with Companies House and set up a limited company instead.
Check out our comparison between the two if you need a hand deciding which one better suits your business.