Being your own boss is one of the best jobs in the world! Three in five young people aged between 16-25 say they would love to start a business and be their own boss. If this is a thought that's ever crossed your mind, read on to figure out to turn your big idea into reality.
Being an entrepreneur and running your own business can be tough. Why? Because you have to do everything yourself. Everything! We spoke to three young entrepreneurs to find out what it’s like to work for themselves and pick up some useful tips on how to be your own boss.
What is it like being an entrepreneur?
"It takes a lot of self-discipline," says Phoebe Gormley, who founded her own tailoring business Gormley & Gamble when she was 20. "There is also a lot of responsibility. When Gormley & Gamble first started, I had to be managing director, button-sewer, fitter, runner, head of recruitment, social media manager, marketing pro, event planner and macaroon sampler!"
Phoebe said that one of the best things about starting your own business is learning in every field. So although your business might be in fashion, you still need to learn about finance, marketing and sales. And you can’t avoid it at the beginning (sorry!).
Jamie Clarke agrees. Like Phoebe, Jamie founded his business when he was 20. It's called My Study Life, and it's an education planner app designed for young people like you! "Being your own boss is one of the best jobs in the world when you’re passionate about what you do and enjoy a challenge," Jamie says. But work doesn’t stop when he leaves the office… "I go home at the end of the day and my boss is still there! This means I end up spending a lot of my spare time working, or thinking about work."
'If you're passionate and successful, entrepreneurship can be the world's best job'
Entrepreneurial duo Ryan Stone and Alex Morris founded a video production & animation company, Lambda Films, straight after university. "Being your own boss is both the greatest and the most challenging experience in the world," they say. "When you begin your journey into business, it’s tough. You make mistakes, but you learn a lot. Every small victory is yours and the feeling of accomplishment is amazing!"
Entrepreneurs often report being happy and satisfied with their careers. Here's are the top reasons why being your own boss rocks, according to a survey by Business Link:
So, how can I be my own boss?
Get work experience
Phoebe says that finding work experience in different fields is really important as it helps you to learn about all of the different fields that make up a business. "As a teenager, I spent weeks every summer doing work experience in various fields, including customer service, finance, marketing and admin as well as the creative side. I can’t recommend this enough. If you can, try to shadow people in different departments each day so you can see which interests you the most."
Passion for your business is so important! Jamie says, "When I started My Study Life, I never intended to turn it into a business; however I was so passionate about the app, it just went from there. I think if you find something you love and are determined, that passion is a great starting point for a business.
And Phoebe agrees! "You should feel so passionate about your subject that you create a business out of it, not vice-versa. Pursue your hobbies, inside and out of the classroom and think of things that could be done better, that would make someone’s day easier, or a solution to something you hear people complaining about."
Put the time in
All of our young business owners tell us the same thing: you can’t start a business if you don’t put in the time! "If you’re determined enough to do something, the chances are you can probably do it and if you don’t, someone else is bound to beat you to it," Jamie says. "I spent as much time as possible developing My Study Life in my spare time and that meant staying up until the early hours of the morning, getting just a few hours sleep and still having the motivation to get up and go to sixth form!"
Test it out
"Try your business idea out on friends and family and build a portfolio and a client base that would be happy to refer you. Once you’re comfortable with the quality of your work and familiar with your potential customers then you need to start making yourself visible online," Ryan and Alex tell us.
Try our digital toolkit for young entrepreneurs
Phoebe recommends the Princes Trust Enterprise Program as a great place to start building your business skills: "You will learn everything you need to know about running your own business, or maybe just making money out of your hobby for now. You can also download a business plan template from there, it’s definitely worth trying to see how much you can fill out before you get going!"
Free website builders such as wix.com or wordpress.com allow to pick and choose templates – without costing a penny. The money costs when you want the website to look like www.this.com instead of www.this.wix.com. That’s called buying a domain, and it can cost as little as £8 a year.
There are LOADS of funding opportunities for young people, from start-up loans for young people, to funding for an idea if you’re only 13 from O2 Think Big. Ideas Britain is an app giving young people the chance to win £5k funding once a month! The Big Lottery Fund could even help you out too. Phew!
Fluency runs free, four-week courses in digital marketing and social media to help get your business off the ground.
If reading this post has you brimming with ideas, check out our entrepreneurship career zone for more information on being your own boss.