Starting your own business

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Have you ever considered being self employed?

TV programmes like The Apprentice and Dragons Den have raised the profile of entrepreneurs like Lord Alan Sugar and Peter Jones and enterprising activities in schools may have inspired you to consider being your own boss.

Being self-employed takes many different forms and requires a whole range of skills. You may be an entrepreneur with an enterprising business idea!

You may wish to pursue freelance work, and this is common in professions such as photography, music, writing, graphic design...

Some people work on their own running a business - these are sole traders - others set up limited companies and will have a board of directors, some establish social enterprises where any profits are re-invested in the business.


Working for yourself means you're in charge. You'll have to manage yourself and the expectations of your customers and you will be able to decide how hard you work, what you earn and the hours you work. Each of these decisions will have an impact on whether your business is successful or not. Any profits and success are yours to enjoy!


Working for yourself can be tough, and you need to be self-motivated. You'll have to be able to manage your time and your finances and if your business grows, you may have staff and investors to manage. You may have to work long hours and become multi-skilled. Any financial loss and any mistakes will be yours to deal with.

How to get started?

If you've left education and have been unemployed for 6 months or more you can ask your Job Centre Adviser about the New Enterprise Allowance which provides access to mentoring, training and loans. You can also get support from The Princes Trust who provide training, mentoring, loans and in some grants. You have to be over 18 to access these programmes. You can also get advice from Business Link and HMRC who deal with tax and national insurance.

Lots of people like the idea of starting their own business. Lord Alan Sugar and Richard Branson both started there business from scratch and are now heads of huge organisations. It could be you next!

There are lots of people who can give you advice if you want to start your own business. You may find these other websites useful: