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Trinity College Dublin

Start your own Business




Why would you?

You might:

  • Feel less sure about conventional employers or have tried them out and been less happy. You want to do something you are really passionate about while at the same time creating wealth for yourself.
  • Consider that your talents would flourish in a situation where you were managing your own activity and output. Evaluate first your skills, interests and motivation using the guidance tools in Plan Your Career before moving away from considering employment in a corporate setting. Gain experience through being employed by others initially, as many self-employed do in the first place.
  • You might prioritise self-employment as an option in the following circumstances:
    • As someone with an innovative idea based on your research or another area.
    • As an artistic, creative IT or craftsperson type.
    • As someone with home-based responsibilities and the facilities for working from home.
    • If living away from a centre of employment
    • If you consider yourself to be outside the norm of graduates sought by employers e.g. educational background, experience required.
    • You like taking the initiative / putting your ideas into action and you are resilient in the face of setbacks.


The Upside : The Downside

The 'upside' of working for yourself includes:

  • Choice of when to work.
  • Choice of combining other significant activities with paid work.
  • Decide what your priorities, both work and personal, are and how and when you will address them.

The 'downside' which must be recognised, anticipated and planned for includes:

  • Insecurity - payment may be slow and hours will probably be long.
  • Support may be harder to find and you will need to 'buy in' services that come with the job in a paid environment, such as filing tax returns.
  • The personal and social support of colleagues (andt he significant other in your life) - an important aspect to job satisfaction overall - may also not be present, particularly in the early stages, so it is necessary to 'network' actively ongoing for purposes of remaining up-to-date and motivated!
  • Longer term financial considerations do need to be considered (health insurance, pensions) and paid from an early stage.
  • There may be a negative impact on your lifestyle particularly in the beginning because you don't have enough money or time for holidays or other treats.


Starting Out

Fundamentally you will be working to provide some sort of product or service - no matter what it is. If at this stage the concept of 'self-employment' seems a good one, but you are not sure which direction to take, consider:

  • Yourself, your skills, interests and special talents that could be put to 'saleable' use.
  • Where you live - what is needed? Where is the 'gap' in goods services, amenities? How might these be addressed and could you supply some aspect of what is required and ahead of the competition.
  • Understanding and using technology: from basic computer use (invoices, contracts, customers details) to exploiting the potential of the internet for on-line business opportunity - IT will be central to your success.


What you need: Your Business Plan

A strong business plan is essential to starting-up, gaining support and success. Your business plan is a statement of interest. It should provide details of how you are going to develop your business, when you are going to do it, who's going to be involved, the potential market, and how you plan to manage it financially.

Your plan should include:

  • An executive summary: The overview - funders may well make judgements based on this section alone.
  • A short description of the business opportunity - who you are (and what your track record is), what you plan to sell or offer, why and to whom.
  • Marketing and sales strategy - why you think people will buy and how you plan to sell to them.
  • Your management team and personnel - your credentials and the team's skills.
  • Operations: Premises, facilities, IT.
  • Financial forecasting: translate the plan into figures.


What you need to be like:

According to Shell Live Wire you should have business ideas which need to be BRIGHT in order to succeed:

Business orientated - the whole point of the exercise
Realistic - to succeed
Innovative - to do something new
Genuine - filling a real need
Honest - it goes without saying
Timely - be sure you haven't missed the boat.

A successful entrepreneur needs to be a Manager, a Salesperson, an Entrepreneur, an Administrator and a Worker, a Learner and a Thinker. Different businesses require a different balance of these skills and in the early stages of developing your business you will need to be comfortable doing many of these different roles as you recruit people, sell to customers and manage projects. You may be able to get training through your Local Enterprise Office to gain the skills you feel you need.


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