Working for yourself

What is it?

Starting your own business can be a great way to gain experience, explore a passion or skill and make some money. Being self-employed means working for yourself instead of an employer and gaining an income from a trade or a business you operate.

Setting up your own successful business can be a very difficult task so make sure you consider all aspects of self-employment before deciding if it’s the right option for you.

Why do it?

  • You are keen to be your own boss and make your own decisions.
  • You want to develop and create your own job.
  • You have a great business idea.
  • You want a more flexible way of working.

Ten top tips

  • Start with a realistic idea that you can turn into a viable product or service.
  • Research your market identifying potential customers, revenue streams and competitors. Talk to your potential customers and find out if your idea is meeting a real need.
  • Develop a business plan making sure you have a clear roadmap before starting out. This is especially important as you may want to show this business plan to potential investors.
  • Find partners and suppliers that you are going to work with to develop and sell your idea.
  • Test your product or service with real customers using their feedback to make changes and test it again. Keep doing this until you are sure there is a demand for your product or service.
  • Set up your business by working out which legal structure is right for you. Register with HM Revenue & Customs for your tax and as self-employed. Consider setting up a business bank account.
  • Explore different funding opportunities from business funding sources such as bank loans or Government backed schemes. You may be able to get support and financial help from the Job Centre if you are unemployed.
  • Get advice and if possible, get a mentor. They will be able to share with you their experiences and help you avoid any potential pitfalls.
  • You may find work through networking, so get to know lots of people in your field and attend networking events.
  • Stay organised and on top of managing your workload, be determined and passionate, it’s going to be hard work so you have got to love what you do.

Signposting links – Online advice for small businesses Business Start-up Advice

Start Ups

The Start Up Donut

Business Zone

The Princes Trust


Start Up Britain

Virgin Media Pioneers

Shell Livewire

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