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What are my options?

Many self-employed people find ways to manage their business during treatment.

Being self-employed allowed me to tailor my schedule around treatment. I was used to managing my own time and I continued to do it when I was unwell.


What to do with your business after a diagnosis

Depending on the nature of your business, being self-employed often provides more flexibility over your work schedule and allows the time required for treatment and recovery.

The decisions you make will depend on your diagnosis, treatment and side effects.


Keeping your business running

If you decide to keep your business running, there are a number of things you can do to help you during this time. 

  • Talk with your health professionals about your treatment and side effects.
  • Develop a plan to manage the changes required.
  • Prioritise critical work and set aside less urgent tasks.
  • Consider hiring temporary staff, subcontracting or asking family and friends to assist.
  • Adjust your working week so you have more time to rest and recover.
  • Keep staff or clients informed of changes you are making to keep your business running during treatment.
  • Devise other ways to do your work, such as travelling less, holding teleconferences or Skype meetings, or employing a fulfilment house to handle shipping merchandise.
  • Check your existing insurance policies for entitlements and let your insurance company know about changes to your work situation.

Returning to work after treatment

Most days I would go to work, come home, head to bed for a few hours, get up and cook dinner for the family, eat and collapse back into bed.

If you are unsure when you might be ready to go back to work, see how things go and keep your options open.

Many people find a gradual return to full duties helps manage treatment and side effects.

Ideas for a gradual return to work:

  • work from home
  • work half days
  • prioritise important tasks
  • schedule regular breaks.

Be wary of pushing yourself too quickly, as recovery may not always be straightforward. Be guided by your medical team.

Selling your business

You may decide the best way forward following a diagnosis is to sell your business.

Tips for selling your business:

  • To ensure you have made the right decision about selling your business, seek advice regarding legal and financial implications.
  • Decide if you would like to use an agent for the sale.
  • Know the value of your business.
  • Advertise your business effectively and be prepared to negotiate.
  • Work with a solicitor to prepare a contract, address legal and tax considerations.
  • Communicate clearly with your employees and clients about the process and dates you will be handing over your business once it is sold.

For more information about selling your business visit

Closing your business

Cancer has helped me re-evaluate what is important in life.

Before closing your business, speak with a financial adviser about your options and financial implications.

Writing a plan outlining everything you need to do can help to protect your personal assets and reputation and make you feel more in control of things.

Consider the money you will receive from other sources, such as a pension, savings, shares or benefits.

Your plan could include: 

  • collecting all monies owed
  • selling any remaining stock via a clearance sale
  • informing your creditors, e.g. suppliers, banks and anyone else you may owe money to
  • communicating clearly and regularly with your customers
  • giving your landlord the required amount of notice to terminate your lease
  • advising employees and following regulations to ensure they are treated fairly.

Useful information

For further information, the following resources are available: