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Be your own boss

Manage your own time, have more freedom and take control over your work.

Prefer to be your own boss? The first bit of good news is that hundreds of thousands of Scottish people have successfully taken that same path. In fact, in the first quarter of 2022, more than 282,000 Scots were self-employed.

The second bit of good news? You’ve come to the right place to learn more.

You may be wondering what kind of work you can do as a self-employed person. Basically, that’s entirely up to you. Self-employment could mean running your own café, writing books, playing music or doing almost anything you can make a living from.

Hear from someone running their own business

Tori-Leigh recently started TL Autoservice, a mobile servicing and repair business. She chats about her journey to becoming her own boss.

What are the most common types of self-employment in the UK?

  1. Sole Trader. This means you work alone and generate your own income. You’re also responsible for your own losses and debts. You'd have all the responsibility, but also all the benefits.
  2. Partnership. This means you go into business with at least one other person. You may not own equal parts of the business and you could have different roles. Generally, your responsibility for debts and losses would be in line with your share of the business.
  3. Limited company. This is slightly different from the first two options. In legal terms, the company exists separately from you. You’d need to register it with Companies House.
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Why be self-employed?

The biggest benefit is that you can take the initiative. You’ll come up with your own ideas then put them to the test. You can try out new ways of working and create your own opportunities.

In short, you make your own decisions.

How can you become self-employed?

Self-employment doesn’t need to feel like a leap. Depending on what kind of work you want to do, you may be able to gradually move from working for others to working for yourself. That way, you can build things at a pace that’s right for you.

Where can you find out more about self-employment?

Your research and planning will be important, but don’t worry. There are lots of organisations that can provide tools and information to help. These are great places to get started.

  • Young Enterprise Scotland (YES). They're passionate about supporting the next generation of entrepeneurs. YES is the perfect starting point if you're young and want to be your own boss.
  • Prince's Trust. They've helped more than 90,000 young people start their own business – you could be next. If you're aged between 18 and 30, see what they can offer you.
  • Business Gateway. Whatever stage you're at on your self-employment journey – Business Gateway can help. They offer a range of financial support, online resources and events.
  • Social Enterprise Academy. Learn from some of the best with their learning programmes. They'll help you transform your mindset and become a business leader.