I only heard of this talk the day before it happened but was lucky to be able to attend. Wendy Mason, the National Director of AA2A (Artists Access to Art Colleges) and a trained jeweller and silversmith, gave a two hour fact pact talk. Of course, there is only so much you can cover during that time but it was really helpful as I knew close to nothing about this and thought this is probably what I'll need to do in future.
We were given a few useful tips about private workspaces and the potentials of business rates which wouldn't have occurred to me. The same applies to the kind of cost you can legitimately claim for as expenses. Taxes are still a bit scary but I'm sure that is doable once you know how to go about it. That said, a good accountant might be helpful to know about those little less obvious tax savings one wouldn't generally think about.
Anyway, this talk was an encouragement and introduction to self-employment, which has demystified this a lot for me, thus making it a much more realistic option for me once I get towards the end my MA and (hopefully) start making some money off my ceramics in the future.
I wish there were more such relevant talks and workshops like this offered by the uni. Maybe there are but we don't hear about them or we are so wrapped up in the making process that this sort of offers don't register on our radars. Probably, we just have to be more proactive at finding out about this stuff. I guess that is the essence of being self-employed: you have to do things for yourself to make it happen.