Are you prepared to make the leap from employee to business owner? If that's the case, congrats! That is a huge and exciting step in the right direction, and I want to congratulate you for pursuing your goals. Even if you're still undecided about quitting your 9-5, the fact that you're considering such a bold and, let's face it, terrifying decision is worth applauding.
So, what are the steps? What do we need to do to start practicing as sole trader?
- Start your business before you leave your day job. It is okay to start working on your business and marketing your services before you officially leave your day job. This requires a lot of your attention and means a lot of time management, but it allows you to potentially earn revenue and gain recognition before you go full-time, making the transition a lot smoother.
- Prioritise clarity and direction. Make sure you are prepared to transition into entrepreneurship, so that when you are eventually working in your business full-time, you have a clear plan and know exactly what you need to be doing to reach your goals. The best way to gain clarity and direction when you’re going through this type of transition is by seeking the support of an expert coach or business consultant so that you don’t spend your days feeling lost or like you are going around in circles. Make sure you have a business plan. This is crucial and what will make it possible for you to get everything set up correctly. A very basic business plan should include a summary of what your business is, the strategy and specific actions you plan to take to make it successful, the markets you will pursue, and your budget, though this can be more comprehensive if it suits you. Additionally having policies and procedures in place for everything you do within your business, as this makes sure you are aware of the best practice standards in your industry and can act in alignment with these.
- Get an ABN organised. The Australian Business Number (ABN) is a unique number used to identify business names and companies. An ABN can be obtained for free through the Australian Business Register and takes around 10 minutes.
- All Business’s require some level of insurance. It may seem like just an extra cost which is unmotivating to acquire, but it is necessary. Disability Support Worker Insurance Having Professional Indemnity and Public Liability insurance as a disability support worker is vital important to provide protection for you while you help your clients. Whether you a sole trader, contractor, or carer possibly as part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), you could be exposed to risks which may result in a Professional Indemnity or Public Liability claim against you.
Public liability insurance is designed to protect you and your business if a client, supplier, or member of the public is harmed, or their property is damaged because of your improper business operations. Public Liability insurance covers, Personal injury suffered by a third party, Damage to property owned by a third party due to a work incident and legal costs associated with claims.
Professional Indemnity insurance protects professionals from claims of negligence or breach of duty brought by a client after receiving professional advice or services from your company. If someone accuses you of making a mistake, overlooking crucial information, misconstruing a truth, or misinterpreting you in the course of your employment, and this results in a financial loss for your client, they may pursue legal action against you to recoup these damages.
We highly recommend using Biz Cover. You can get a discount using the code thatbizco
- Now, we need to put in the work. There are a few certificates and short courses you should be undertaking if working with people as a support worker.
- First aid
- Mental first aid
- Police Checks
- Working With Children’s check
- A Worker Orientation Module called ‘Quality, Safety and You’ through the NDIS Commission Website
- Understanding Abuse eLearning Program
- Food Handling Safety Course through (https://www.foodsafety.edu.au/safe-food-handling-course-2/)
- Forms, policies, and procedures
Running a business isn’t just doing your job, its documentation, admin and ensuring best practice is followed. Forms you NEED for your Support business include:
- New participant agreement form and Support plan document.
- Waivers depending on services provided.
- Invoicing system
- Participant intake Checklist.
Together, policies and procedures provide a roadmap for day-to-day operations. They ensure compliance with laws and regulations, give guidance for decision-making, and streamline internal processes. When working with people who are vulnerable, such as those with disabilities, it is extremely important that best practice is followed always. Policies are procedures they may be required in a support care business include:
- Participant Rights and Responsibilities Policy and Procedure
- Advocacy Policy
- Privacy and Information Management Policy and Procedure
- Consent Policy and Procedure
- Dignity of risk and duty of care policy and procedure
- Decision Making Policy
- Feedback and Complaint Management
- Incident Management
- Participant Management in case of Support Worker Absence
- Safe practices and Environment policy and procedure
- Conflicts of Interest – Participant related – Policy and Procedure
- Covid Safe Procedures
- Risk Management Procedures
- Mental Health of Support Workers policy
Policies and procedures play many important roles and are required for a well-run support business. We have all these available in our online shop.
- Ensure you have all physical equipment you need prepared.
Items such as a first aid kit are mandatory. We highly recommend https://firstaidkitsaustralia.com.au/ for all of these purchases. Other equipment will depend on the level of care, and the operations undertaken throughout your business.
- Get your name out there. If you are running a professional business, I highly recommend reaching out to local co-ordinators and allied health professionals. Explain what you have to offer, provide them with professionally make brochures and business cards. Co-ordinators often want the best for their clients and will definitely recommend a highly organised, equip and genuine worker to their clients. Additionally, create marketing materials and advertise. Mabel is an example of a forum in which you can gain clients, and Facebook groups are often also successful.
At the end of the day, you’re wanting to be well set up in the beginning, so that scaling comes easily. Clients will also find a professional sole trader highly desirable above large companies, or in comparison to sole traders who don’t seem knowledgeable. This industry is a fantastic one to get involved in, let’s do it right. For Business consulting and support, feel free to get in contact via our contact form.