Making decisions about work when you’re self-employed

It may be difficult to decide whether or not to work during your treatment. It depends very much on your individual circumstances. Some people choose to keep their business going, either full-time or part-time, during their treatment. Some people need to carry on working as much as possible for financial reasons.

You may find that working during your treatment gives you satisfaction and helps you focus on something other than the cancer. It depends on the type of work you do, and whether you have anyone else who can help out for a while. It also depends on your health, the type of cancer you have and what kind of treatment you choose.

It’s impossible to predict how you will react to treatment until you start. This makes it hard to look ahead and decide how much work to take on. It will help to let your colleagues or important customers know this, so they are aware you may need to change your work plans at short notice.

  • Will I need to cut back on my business temporarily?
  • Will I need to run my business in a different way, to allow time for rest as well as my treatment?
  • Who will be able to help me in practical ways?
  • Can I pay someone else to run my business and still make a profit from it?
  • Will I need extra financial help to get me and my family through this period and, if so, where can I get it?
  • Will it be safe for me and for others if I carry on working during treatment?
  • Have I spoken to my insurers to check I’m still covered?

It may help to talk these questions over with someone who knows you well and understands the work you do. Then you can plan the best course of action for you. It’s a good idea to run your business decisions past another person, especially if you are feeling unwell, tired or upset.

You could write down your answers to these questions, to help you record decisions you need to make, and decide who can help you with these.

Back to If you're self-employed

Self-employment and cancer

If you’re self-employed you may worry about work and money during your cancer treatment. Support is available to help you cope financially and emotionally.

Working during treatment

Deciding whether to carry on working during treatment is a difficult decision. It depends on individual circumstances.

Making treatment decisions

When you’re self-employed, you may have particular questions about treatment decisions and how they could impact on your work.

Managing your workload

Cancer treatment can have an impact on the way you run your business. You may need to reorganise your activities to manage your workload.

Managing your finances

If you’re self-employed and have had to reduce your work activity, you may worry about your professional and personal finances. Support is available to help you cope with financial issues.