Be your own boss

A table with 'Innovation', 'Ideas', 'Inspiration' and 'Creative' written on it, people sit around the table and are moving things in with their hands.

When you’re thinking about your career, or job hunting, you’re also probably thinking about where you’d like to work. But how about, instead of looking for an employer, you create that job yourself?

Have you thought about starting your own business? It could be anything you want it to be.

Maybe you have a flair for something which you could turn into a freelance career, rather than being an employee. Or a passion you’d love to do as a full-time job. You could be a born entrepreneur, able to not only spot opportunities but figure out how to make them grow. Your idea might be about making life better for people in your community. Whatever it is, you can make it happen.

Businesses come in all shapes and sizes. In Scotland, 99% of all private sector businesses are small to medium size enterprises – and they provide an estimated 1.1 million jobs*. What could you add to that mix?

Is it for me?

Starting your own business is an exciting idea. But there’s a lot to weigh up, as well. Here are some of the things you’ll have to think about when you’re deciding if it will work for you.

The good side

You’re:

  • In charge. You come up with the ideas, and you take the lead 
  • Free to try out something new 
  • Able to decide when and how you do your work
  • Creating something new, making an opportunity for yourself, rather than waiting for one to turn up

The practical side

You’ll have to deal with:

  • Finance – from setting up grants and loans, to dealing with your income and expenses
  • Taxes – both your own, and any staff you take on
  • Finding premises if you need them
  • Marketing your business, finding clients and making it a success
  • Recruitment

Some of those things will take time away from what you really want to do with your business. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, just that you need to be prepared for both the fun side and the practical side. 

There’s a lot of hard work involved – but that might suit your strengths perfectly. You’ll need to be resilient and quick-thinking to keep going when things don’t go to plan

Five tips to get you started

Want to be an entrepreneur? Here are five things you can do to get going.

Learn from your mistakes

Don’t be afraid to fail. Even if things don’t go to plan, you can learn from the experience, adapt and keep going. 

Talk about your idea

Ask people you trust what they think. It’s a chance to get opinions and test whether your idea has legs. There are also lots of organisations who can talk you through the practical steps of setting up a business. 

Test your idea

While it’s important to talk, it’s also good to actually do something. There are always ways to test your idea at low cost and low risk. You can learn a lot from this.

Decide what kind of business you want

Research different types of business so that you can decide what works best for you. Is it a microbusiness? A global venture? A social enterprise? A cooperative? 

Find the right funding

There are lots of different funding options out there. Explore every opportunity, from competitions to crowdfunding.