Here at Cornerstone Mentoring we engage with clients of all ages with a variety of life experiences. There are many reasons why people choose a life of self-employment, entrepreneurship or freelancing (or all three of course). However, for many, it has been a decision for later in life, after a redundancy for example, or as a way out of unemployment. Now it appears it is a real option for a recent University graduate.
The Guardian (on their excellent ‘Small Business’ pages) has recently reported the results of a study indicating that more than 50% of students are considering starting their own business or freelancing, and only 33% are planning to apply to those graduate schemes once the first choice of many graduates looking for the way into a lucrative career. This is a significant shift, with implications for individuals and the economy.
It is vital that if, as a recent university graduate, you are looking to work for yourself, that you understand the work involved – it is certainly no 9-5 option and whereas employment offers a (hopefully) steady income, self-employment can require astute budgeting to avoid increasing debt, which , in the early stages especially, can be exceptionally stressful.
So, there are key things to remember as you take those first steps into making a living:
- Don’t take on too much. Saying ‘yes’ to everything is tempting when you are not sure when the next contract will come along but time management is a skill everyone needs to master.
- Don’t undersell yourself to get the jobs. Often you will find people don’t want the cheapest, but they do want good value. Undertake plenty of market research before you start to assess the usual hourly rates and the packages your competitors offer. Attend networking events to see what you might be up against, and to make new contacts.
- Keep good records and pay your taxes! Familiarise yourself with HMRC self-assessment and make sure you register as self-employed as soon as you start work. If you feel you need support – invest in an accountant.
You have the ideas but you need to put the foundations in place to ensure you can ride out the difficult times as well as enjoy the good ones.
And remember, you can always contact us here at Cornerstone Business Mentoring. We have mentors all over Somerset who have years of experience in business. They give their time voluntarily and so the service is entirely free to you. We are always happy to have an initial chat when you have formulated your business idea and if you are already bringing your plans to fruition we can offer ongoing support. See our ‘How Mentoring Works’ and ‘Contact’ pages for more details. We look forward to hearing from you!