Feature on Graduate Start-Up Businesses

As the graduate job market is still tough regardless of employment on the rise, it is a great opportunity to set up your own business. Many fear that they lack the entrepreneurial skills to become self-employed. Yet this can benefit you in many ways to show your determination to succeed. Depending on which career you want to pursue it can be made a lot easier with the digital age. Since we now live in a world where the internet is used frequently having an online presence is vital in some careers. The old saying says if opportunity doesn’t knock build a door. The internet is a great platform to showcase your entrepreneurial skills. Set-up a blog where you can utilise your abilities and link it to social media accounts. Although this is a useful way to promote yourself globally you must remain professional. If you do not market yourself correctly then this could damage future relationships with clients.

For careers as web designers/journalist it is common to begin by freelancing to get noticed. Keep up with industry news via twitter and tweet to influential people in your niche. One of the main reasons you should set-up a business is because of a gap in the market, what can you offer that no one else is can? Sign up to newsletters and be ahead of the game and keep up to date with the news. It is vital you manage your time as you won’t have someone else to fall back on.


When you leave university the benefits don’t just stop there most do offer funding if you are thinking of setting up your own business and advice on self-employment. Research other funding availability such as career development loans. You may feel like you could make ends meet but

Start-up costs will add up. Things which you may not feel cost any money in business:

  • Laptops.
  • Technical devices like a work phone.
  • Training any courses which you may have to take to further in your business.
  • Marketing and promotional material.
  • Administrator costs for bids or accounts.

When it comes to starting your own business you can often get carried away with the opportunity but in business you have to be serious. The right business plan is essential and has to be goal specific there is no point investing in something half-heartedly. Summarise your competition and demonstrate how your business is different. Have a clear financial structure obviously you cannot predict the future but it is better to be prepared financially.

The benefits:

  • You have the freedom to be your own boss.
  • Earning more money with the chance of becoming really rich.
  • Working fewer hours.
  • You will be independent and choose to work fewer hours.

The risks

  • You will have to make your own tax, pension and health insurance arrangements.
  • You alone are accountable for decisions.
  • Will you have the space at home to work from or the money to rent out a place?
  • Setbacks may have an impact on your confidence

What to expect:

  • You will have to work long hours and this may not pay off straight away.
  • A second job to provide daily income.
  • Time management.
  • You must possess these skills or you will find it difficult to manage your own company.
  • Able to perform well under pressure, when you are working for yourself there is no getting away from clients and customers.


  • Natural networker: Will you shy away or be confident enough to speak to people.
  • Computer literate
  • Plan ahead
  • You will need to believe in yourself; constantly doubting yourself and not making decisions can be disastrous.
  • Self-motivation
  • Professionalism: teenage excuses will not work and can damage your reputation.

You need to work out what your motives are or is it simply just because you couldn’t find anything else to do. You will have to rely on yourself to network at industry events, hand business cards out and if they get back to you personalise a thank you card with your company brand so potential clients and existing ones appreciate your services. It may feel doom and gloom but demonstrating how you can make the best out of it by generating business will give great satisfaction.

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