Skip to content

I want to work for myself

Do you want to work for yourself or run your own business?

4.3 million people in the UK are self-employed. 

This means that they run their own business, but do not employ anyone else. Many people start by working for themselves and then may expand the business over time and begin to employ other people.

What are the pros and cons of being self employed?


  • Follow your passion - you can choose to set up a business based on your own passion, interest or skill which can be very motivating.
  • Creative freedom - By being self-employed you'll be in charge of deciding what you do and how you do it.
  • Independence - You'll also be able to set your own hours and fit your work around other commitments, which often leads to an improved quality of life.
  • You can set your financial worth! - your earnings are not limited to a fixed salary.


  • No guaranteed pay and no paid holiday or sick pay.
  • You will be responsible for managing your own tax and National Insurance payments  though you can pay an accountant to help you].
  • You may have to work longer hours, weekends and evenings, especially to build your business.
  • You may have to find premises for work, buy goods and services up front and spend money on marketing and attracting customers.
  • You may have to spend more time planning how you manage your time, and get good at multi-tasking, especially if you have to spend time finding new work, whilst also working on existing contracts and chasing payment from previous jobs.

In some sectors such as construction, creative and media and IT the majority of people are self employed.

See more jobs... 

Check out more than 800 other job profiles. The above list is just a selection of jobs where working for yourself will be valued, there will be loads more!

These job sectors might be good places to start if you want to work for yourself but there are jobs in many other job sectors too, click through to the job profiles to find out the details.

Beauty and Make up



Data & network

Social media

Software & systems

Start-up businesses

Do you have a unique solution to a problem or have come up with a new product that will improve the way we do things? - then you could set up your own business. Dyson is an example of a start up, that became a huge global business. Start up businesses often benefit from funding from external investors [like Dragon's Den] so they can develop their products and expand or take advantage of overseas markets. In the UK the fastest growing start-ups have often come out of a university research project. Universities can help the students to find business support and seed investment to help their idea take off. Successful start ups are often in the field of science and technology. Ultraleap and Open Bionics are examples of successful start ups in the West of England.

How to get started with running your own business?

What product or service could you offer that will make the most of your strengths and skills? 

  1. For example are you a good communicator and like helping people to get fit, or are you good at making and fixing things, or are you creative and interested in nail art? Trying things out through work experience and talking to people who are self-employed could be useful.
  2. Find out what skills, qualifications you need to get into the field you want to work in. What are the routes into this role? Do you need to go to university, college or do an apprenticeship to develop the relevant skills? How can you develop business skills whilst you are school?- See if your school offers the Young Enterprise programme.this is a practical programme to help you learn business skills.
  3. Just because you have a business idea does not mean that it will necessarily get off the ground. The Princes Trust run a free 4 day business course for young people 18 - 30 who are interested in starting their own business. It is very practical and they can help you write a business plan and will also match you with a business mentor to help support you with running your business. They have some inspiring films of people who have set up their businesses against the odds - like fashion designer Jazmin and advise on running your own business.. such as this one from Ben Towers.
  4. Launch it - also run free start up business training and mentoring programme.

Other Careerpilot tools you can use to find jobs that suit you

Do the Job Quiz and see what sectors match what you want from work.

Do the Skills Profile to see what skills you have now and save them to talk about on applications

To save or view your choices and results you must sign in or register (takes 1 minute).

Sign in Register