Running your own business doesn’t mean you have to wear a boring suit or spend hours in a stuffy office every day.
Being your own boss means being in charge of your own career and destiny. You get the chance to build your own future by using your talent, creativity and drive to create a business in your own image. And you won’t have someone telling you what to do and how to do it, while paying you what they think you’re worth.
These days, more and more young people are deciding to become their own boss. Did you know that one in seven people in Wales are now self-employed? There’s no reason why YOU can’t join them, as long as you have a good business idea and you’re prepared to do what it takes to make it fly.
So what exactly is ‘business’? Simple really. Basically, business just means selling a product or service to customers or clients for a profit.
"To me, business isn't about wearing suits or pleasing stockholders. It's about being true to yourself, your ideas and focusing on the essentials"
Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of the Virgin Group
For example, a business might offer a service to people who don’t know how to or can’t do it themselves, for example, creating websites, plastering, walking pet dogs, personal training or clearing or fixing gutters.
Other businesses sell products, of course. They could be vintage clothes on Ebay, birthday cakes via a high street cake shop, takeaway food, DVDs and CDs online – a bewildering selection of products are sold in huge volumes everyday throughout the world.
Sometimes businesses sell to consumers, other times they sell to other businesses or organisations, either in the UK or overseas. Other types of business include social enterprises, when people focus on a societal need or cause close to their heart. John Bird, for example, who started The Big Issue to help homeless people.
Sometimes, businesses make products for sale, other times they buy in readymade stock to sell to their customers. While many businesses now sell online via their website, others sell offline via commercial premises. Some businesses do both to maximise their profits.
Why not read some of the Role Model Profiles on the Big Ideas Wales website to see what you could do!
Why become an entrepreneur?
“For me, the key was not to stop believing. I made myself imagine what it would be like running this business, how I would solve problems. I tried to make it reality in my mind, and I still do this”
Alex Hinchcliffe – founder of Ecology Expeditions
Whether you want to build a pioneering new business from scratch and earn lots of money or simply get more satisfaction from working for yourself and making your own decisions – there are lots of reasons to start your own business.
Maybe you’ve had a great idea and just want to see if you are up to the challenge of turning it into a successful venture.
Maybe self-employment better fits in with the life you want to lead or possibly you just want to make a difference in your community.
People start their own business for various reasons. There are no hard and fast rules – it depends on what you want to achieve and what’s important to YOU.
Lots of successful entrepreneurs set up a business after spotting a gap in the market, but you don’t always need to come up with a new idea to start a business. You could simply set out to improve an existing service or product. If you do set up a “me too” business, you must find ways to set yourself apart from your competitors.
If you’re lucky, you will be able to base your new business on something you truly love or enjoy doing, then it won’t seem like a job at all. Maybe it’s web design, fixing bikes, building furniture, making cakes or looking after people. Doesn’t matter. When we’re passionate about something, we tend to do them well. And if you can earn a decent wage from it and have a good work-life balance – all the better.
When thinking about what type of business to set up, it can be wise to start one within an industrial sector that’s growing. This can help to ensure that your business has a better chance of succeeding. Such sectors include manufacturing, construction, creative industries, environment, food, farming and information and communication technology.
As with anything that’s worthwhile, starting and running your own business takes hard work, commitment, sacrifice, determination and a willingness to overcome challenges and bounce back from failure. It also takes creativity, resourcefulness, stubbornness at times, a positive outlook all the time and an eagerness to learn and improve.
You shouldn’t wait for opportunities to come along by themselves. Go out there and make them happen. Why not attend a ‘Develop your ideas’ workshop to get your big idea?
Why not try a short interactive course to find out if Self-Employment is for you?