Being your own boss can be hugely rewarding, but it doesn’t come without its own risks as Adrian Ellis, Business Start-up Manager at St Helens Chamber, explains.
“Moving into self-employment can be hugely beneficial in terms of the flexibility it offers around lifestyle, the freedom it provides to be able to manage your own time and the ability it offers for people to be able to follow life-long dreams and ambitions; but one of the first things we do with anyone who comes to see us about starting a business is give them a reality check.
|Adrian Ellis, Business Start-up Manager St Helens Chamber
“Whilst being your own boss can be a fantastic experience, it isn’t without its risks so it’s important that we make sure anyone venturing into it understands that. There can be a lot of financial instability when you first start in business and you may not always get a regular income, so you have to make sure you can plan for this. But on the flip side once things do take off, the potential earnings for someone who is self-employed are usually higher than someone doing the same job working for someone else.
“Statistics show that less than 50% of start-up businesses survive the first five years of trading, so it’s important to make sure that you have a strong business plan in place and a unique selling point that ensures you are in that minority. Developing a business plan for a sustainable business is one of the biggest pieces of work our team carries out with our clients; having a great idea for a business is one thing, but you have to make sure it will work. Often the hardest part of our job is telling someone that their idea isn’t going to work out.
“The other big factor of being self-employed for most people when they first start out is that you’re “it”. You have to be all things in all departments. There is often no-one else there to run decisions past, no one to delegate to, and no one to cover for you when you’re ill. It can be lonely and hard work, but it does give you the autonomy to be the decision maker and do things your way, which can often be a huge bonus for people who have spent years working for other people.
“My advice would be to make sure you don’t go it alone. There is lots of support available for start-ups through Enterprise Hub, a European Regional Development Fund funded project that offers expert advice and support to anyone thinking about starting a business in the Liverpool City Region through a network of partners.”
As an active Enterprise Hub partner St Helens Chamber offers free and impartial one to one advice and support to people across Merseyside and Halton thinking about starting a business. To find out more about whether self-employment is for you, and the support available, go along to one of their ‘Be your own Boss’ sessions. The next events take place Wednesday 9th November, 9.30 – 11.30am Liverpool Central Library or 6-8pm at St Helens Chamber.