Be your own boss

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? We've got lots of information and resources to help you make a decision if becoming your own boss is a career path for you. Plus hear directly from some entrepreneurs currently working for themselves. 

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What to think about being your own boss

Starting your own business is an exciting idea, but there's a lot to weight up. We're here to help and guide you through 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
  • create something new and make 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. This does not mean you should not do it. It just means 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 do not always go to plan. 

Self employed and entrepreneur 

You may call yourself 'self employed' or an 'entrepreneur'. Self employed is a way to define your employment status and means you do not have a contract with an employer. Instead you might provide services over time or be in a business in your own right. 

An entrepreneur is someone who not only sees an opportunity, but understands how to capitalise on it. Lots of people think of a particular business idea, but not everyone understands how to sell it or drive to make it happen. 

5 things to get you started as an entrepreneur

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1. Learn from your mistakes

Do not be afraid to fail. Even if things do not go to plan, you can learn from the experience, adapt and keep going.

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2. 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. 

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3. 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.

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4. 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? 

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5. Find the right funding

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

Tips for entrepreneurs

We asked entrepreneurs for their top tips on networking and what strengths you need to become an entrepreneur.

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Finding help

Even though you’re going it alone, you do not need to do everything alone when setting up a business. There are many different organisations there to help you – from understanding finances, to learning how to pitch, to that all-important funding.

We’ve found just a sample of the resources available in Scotland to get you started.

Young people and students

Your age should not be a barrier to your entrepreneurial spirit, so there are a range of organisations set up to help young people into business.

If you're a teacher, Scotland's Enterprising Schools is full of resources to help you promote enterprise to your pupils. Join a community of teachers sharing creative ideas for enterprise.

Business Gateway

Business Gateway helps hundreds of businesses start and grow every year. Resources include:

  • Bgateway.com, full of information and advice on issues like legislation, marketing, starting up and employment. It also has details of free practical workshops and events throughout Scotland
  • Your local Business Gateway office, who can put you in touch with a Business Adviser to help you grow and develop your idea, plus other local companies and professional organisations
  • The Business Information Team, available on 0845 609 6611 and info@bgateway.com. They can provide help on market research, statistics, market reports, commercial property searches and more

HMRC

You might not want to think about your taxes. It may even be months before you have to – but eventually, you will have to. HMRC has plenty of digital resources to help you out.

You can also get information and advice from: