Be your own boss

Starting your own business sounds like fun but how do you make it happen? We‘ll talk you through everything you need to become your own boss.

Woman sits at table in cafe with feet on table and laptop in front of her.

Worried your age will affect how people treat you?

As a young entrepreneur, people may be skeptical of your age, but businesses don’t fail just because the boss is 21.

Before you do ANYTHING, you need to work out if your business idea is a good one. Just because you think it’s great, doesn’t mean people will agree. Ask yourself:

  • What is your business and what does it do?
  • Why will people want or need your business?
  • Who is your target market and how will you reach them?
  • Why is your business better/different from competitors?
  • How would your business make money? How long will it take to make a profit? Think about any overheads (expenses) you’ll have.
  • What is your long term plan? What will success look like to you?
  • What legal things do you need to consider? Health and safety, patenting, licensing etc.

Write a business plan

Once you’ve got the answers to these questions, you’ll need to put together a business plan. This is really important as you’ll need it to show potential funders, as well as knowing yourself which direction you’re supposed to be headed.

Gov.uk has information about writing up a business plan as well as detailed information about how to get a business started.

Look for funding

Once you’ve got a concrete business plan, you’ll need some money to get everything started. Read The Mix’s article about funding your own business. It would also be a great idea to look into setting yourself up as a sole trader.

The upside to starting your own business

There are loads of positives to being your own boss, including:

  • If it takes off, you can make a shed load of money.
  • Freeeeeeeeeedom. You’re the boss which means … NO BOSS. You don’t have to answer to anyone (apart from, occasionally, the bank manager and your clients).
  • You can create your own working hours and a lifestyle that suits you.

The worst part of starting your own business

  • There’s no job security. If your business doesn’t make it, there goes your job.
  • It’s a big financial risk.
  • Starting up on your own means grafting, so a seventy hour working week is pretty normal when you’re starting out.

Could my business fail?

Sad though it is, most businesses fail in their very first year. This is avoidable though. Here are some of the most common reasons people go under so you can try and avoid them.

Poor business plan

If you didn’t make a watertight business plan, you’re in trouble. Often businesses fail because they don’t do the necessary research into the market, or planning of goals and financial targets.

Running out of money

It sounds silly, but businesses sometimes only plan enough money to last them one year – thinking profits from that will pay for the next. If you have unforeseen costs, or your turnover isn’t as hefty as you’d hoped, then you won’t be able to afford to continue. Plan out your finances for the next few years so you have a long term plan of where you want to go and a safety net in case things go wrong.

No website or social media

We live in a digital world and your business needs to be seen and well promoted. At the very least, you’ll need a well-designed website explaining what you do and social media profiles to reach your customer base.

More information