With the recent announcement of David Cameron’s extension to the start-up loans for young people which saw the age cap rise from 24 to 30 as well as boosting the fund by another £30m to £110m over 3 years, starting your own business is a good option. That’s what I did.
I started my own enterprise, Young Web Builder to give young people a leg up online. With nearly one million under-25s struggling to get on I felt that they needed a helping hand. At Young Web Builder we… aim to inspire and educate people between the ages of 16 and 24 although anyone is welcome to start their own web-projects such as developing websites, games, mobile applications etc… It is very easy to fall into the trap of mobile applications, games, social media sites, they are designed to keep the user entangled, addicted if you will. Why consume someone else’s websites or apps when you could make your own and make a very good living out of it! If you are in this age bracket you have pretty much grown up with technology, grown up with the internet, social media, so why not use your skills to make a career out of it? There are lots of websites online about entrepreneurship in the US, but not as many for business in the UK, particularly a community where people of the same age can network, start projects and businesses together, get advice from one another and also benefit from experts, in the way of interviews, webinars etc.. Business in the US is very different to business in the UK, this is why we started YoungWebBuilder to inspire and educate about entrepreneurship in the UK. We really hope that in a year’s time or so any young person looking to start their own business can use our website to network with other young entrepreneurs, employ freelance work from members as well as sharing knowledge with one another about their experiences.
It is so easy to get something going online, it does not have to be something that is too involved, it could just be a blog, or a social media page where you share technology news perhaps. Even if you do not start a web-business technology, mobiles, websites, YouTube videos are all consumed on a daily basis. The internet is just too big a market and too important to businesses to connect with their audience, to provide additional sales channels to ignore.
Although it is a cliché, there is no doubt that working for yourself is hugely rewarding. You are enthused by your job, and motivated to do better and go further. Because the whole venture is your brainchild, your baby. And you start at the top of the tree. So when the business expands you have a bigger share of the pie, a bigger share of the profits.
And when you are young it is probably the best time to go solo. You have fewer commitments, perhaps you do not have a mortgage to worry about or children to provide for. Because you will make mistakes, and starting up your own business can be risky, but you have to learn from you and come through stronger.
The pros and cons to working for yourself
What are the pros of working for yourself?
- Choose your own hours
- Do what you enjoy every day
- No limits to how much you can earn
- Free to make your own decisions
- No one pressuring you to perform
- Satisfaction that your product/service serves a purpose
- More of the profit goes to you
What are the disadvantages of working for yourself?
- You don’t necessarily get paid when you go on holiday
- You don’t necessarily get sick pay.
- You may be responsible for multiple areas of the business that you are not necessarily skilled in such as marketing, finance etc..
- Successful entrepreneurs generally work very long hours
- Need to learn in your own time without being paid for it
- Some clients will be late payers, so you may have to chase them for money.
- If you want to keep your skills up to date, you’ll have to pay for your own training from now on.
Dipping your toes in
Before you take the plunge and start your own business you need to do research, if you’ve ever watched Dragons den you’ll have seen that Theo Paphitis harping on about how you need to do your homework!
Look at what competitors in the market are doing, go and talk to people find out if they would buy your product or service, is there a need or a want? Is there a current trend? Where can you find your target market? What type of message can you use to connect with your market? How much is your target audience willing to pay for your product/service and how often? Is there room in the market? These are the types of questions you need to be asking yourself.
You can do market research until the cows come home but sometimes you just need to get out and physically try it, of course for some businesses this just isn’t practical but where possible you could spend a few £100 and see if there is a real demand for what you want to offer.
If your business idea is web-based you can test market it by seeing how many people are prepared to “pre-order” a product or service using Kick-starter for example, if people fund the project you can go ahead and start producing it. You could set up a Twitter or Facebook page discussing the type of product/service you want to sell see how people respond, sure talk to friends and family but if you don’t know what your TARGET MARKET wants you will ultimately fail.
Of course running your own business is not for everyone but if you don’t try you won’t know, why not make it a new year’s resolution to give it a go, be enterprising and make 2013 the year that you start something amazing?
The next article will talk about preparing a business plan….
If you think that starting a business is something you would be interested in please feel free to visit any of these below websites: