Deciding to be your own boss needs self belief, a positive attitude and also a good idea. It can encompass financial as well as emotional independence, and embarks you on an adventure.
Around 20,000 people start a business in Ireland annually, a large increase on a decade ago. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Ireland is now one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world.
Some people develop ideas about setting up their own business from an early age. In the UK, for example, an estimated two percent of new graduates become their own boss. Most people, however, set up business later on, having gained specialist knowledge and experience.
If considering starting your own business it is wise to bear in mind the old saying ‘look before you leap.’ Take time to carefully consider options and implications before committing yourself. Keep in mind however, that you too could be the next Sean Quinn, Michael O’Leary or Bill Gates.
Below are some questions to help you explore the viability of self employment; also listed are sources of information and advice:
- Does the idea of working for yourself attract you?
- Do you have an idea that you would like to develop?
- Do you like the idea of working at your own pace?
- Would you like to be responsible for your career development and reap the rewards of being independent
Advantages for setting up your own business include:
Being self-reliant -
Success depends on applying your skills in a commercial setting. Usually, the more you put in, the more you get out of a business.
Being you own boss -
including making your own rules, using your initiative and reaping the rewards.
Providing the work gets done, you can set their own working hours and holidays.
Tax benefits -
For the self employed, many costs are tax deductable, such as transport expenses, office decorating, equipment, advertising and publications.
Disadvantages can be
The onus of responsibility -
As well as your successes, you are responsible for your mistakes.
Payment may be slow and hours may be long. Planning ahead for such eventualities can help.
You may need to 'buy in' services that come with the job in a paid environment, such as filing tax returns. Longer term financial considerations do need to be considered (health insurance, pensions) and paid from an early stage.
Personal and social support of colleagues may also be lacking, particularly in the early stages, so ‘active’ and ‘ongoing’ is important so as to keep up to date and motivated
To become self employed, you need a business idea. Even if you do not have an original idea, you can set up in competition to someone providing a similar service in your location.
Your business idea should be one that you have the skills to carry out. You should make sure too that there is a market for your product/service, and that it is financially viable.
You will need to construct a well developed business plan. To find out more about what is involved in planning your business check out www.basis.ie
Investigation and planning are key when setting up your own business. You should know how to identify and seek sources of help from informed people and established resources. Remember, even if you are not fully ready to take on the challenge yet, there are many organisations that can help you on your path.
Several organisations in Ireland provide support to those who are, or who want to become, entrepreneurs. These include:
- NovaUCD: Here, graduates can work with the best brains, mentors, and technology as well as other successful entrepreneurs to develop innovative new businesses. This is just one of the supports available to graduates and other aspiring entrepreneurs.
More than ever, Ireland is placing emphasis on lining universities with business, through campus companies. Most other universities now run campus programmes
- City & County Enterprise Boards: A network of 35 Enterprise Boards across Ireland, which support young entrepreneurs through Young Enterprise programmes in schools, the Student Enterprise award provide advice and funding to eligible start-ups and micro enterprises
- Enterprise Ireland: The State agency charged with supporting indigenous enterprise, Enterprise ireland anually hosts a Student Enteprrise award and in other ways supports young people to become entrepreneurs
- Junior Achievement/ Young Enterprise Ireland: JAI/YE offers tailored programmes for young people aged 5 to 18 years, teaching primary and second level students the risks and rewards of entrepreneurship through a unique business and education partnership.
- Shell LiveWire: Shell LiveWire helps 16-30 year-olds to start and develop their own business and hosts an annual competition for business start-ups
- Student Enterprise Awards
To learn more about what is available, click on Related Resources
People with various backgrounds and ideas set up their own business and there is no single personality type equating to ‘a successful entrepreneur’. You can bring your personal characteristics, ideas, values and goals to the venture. There are certain characteristics, however, essential to succeeding as an entrepreneur. You need to:
- Be a person who can bounce back from adversary, who can look at a problem and see more than potential difficulties – see opportunities!
- Possess important characteristics such as self belief and the ability to communicate with customers and suppliers
- Be able to identify and act on opportunities that present themselves
- Be a hard worker. Many self employed people report that they have an almost emotional attachment to their business, so they find that they spend a lot of time at work developing their business
You should learn from those around you, using their success to model your own while avoiding their mistakes. If you have the passion and commitment that entrepreneurs need, you should find that each day brings challenge, enjoyment and reward.
|Basis - Funding|
|Invest Northern Ireland|
|Welsh Development Agency|
|Small business Gateway (Scotland)|
|Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust|