Eight reasons to start your own business when you graduate

A graduate wearing a gown

Are you coming to the end of your university course and wondering what to do next? It's an increasingly popular option for graduates - here are eight good reasons to consider starting your own business instead of working for someone else

1. Avoid unemployment

Despite the fact that employment prospects for graduates have improved, there are still no guarantees that you'll find a job.

According to a survey by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), 5.5% of recent graduates were unemployed in 2020/21. Starting your own business could be the best way to avoid the dole queue.

2. Competition for good jobs is tough

Even if you are able to secure employment, a good number of graduates find themselves in low-skilled jobs in retail, catering or as waiting staff, with many on zero-hours contracts.

Starting your own business could be the best way to avoid ending up in a job that doesn't make the best use of your skills or education.

3. You dream of riches

There are no guarantees, and you might earn less - or nothing - working for yourself. However, running your own business could provide you with more income than if you work for someone else. The average starting salary of recent graduates was £24,217 in 2020/21.

4. You dream of fame

Many young entrepreneurs now enjoy celebrity status. One example is Richard Reed, who co-founded Innocent with fellow graduates Adam Balon and Jon Wright. The business grew from a single stall at a London music festival to an annual turnover of more than £300 million.

Reed is a regular on business TV programmes, and is one of the UK's best-known entrepreneurs. It could be your turn next.

5. You want greater flexibility

Don't fancy early mornings? Want to pick which days you work? Much will depend on the type of business you start, but working for yourself could grant you much more flexibility to live life your way - which you're unlikely to see working for someone else.

Running your own business might even enable you to work from home or other location of your choice.

6. You want to be your own boss

Don't want someone else telling you what to do? Fair enough - but with power comes responsibility, which means you must make your business a success. Do you really have what it takes?

And running your own business can be lonely. It's not for everyone - but if you succeed, the rewards and sense of satisfaction can be much greater.

7. You have a great idea

One of the best reasons for starting your own business is coming up with a great idea. Great business ideas come from many places - you might spot a gap in the market, think of a novel use for new tech, or want to earn a living from one of your passions.

You may have thought of a great business idea, but you'll still need to test your idea before starting up. You'll still need to work hard, show desire and commitment, and get your share of luck, too.

8. You want excitement

There's no doubt about it - starting your own business and growing it into a successful enterprise is a great challenge. There's an element of risk, but this can be a source of great excitement.

Working for yourself involves highs and lows, so you really need to carefully consider whether running a business is for you. It can be unpredictable, too. Some days you might question why you ever started your own business, and on others you might think it's one of the best decisions you've ever made.

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