Create your own job through self-employment

IN today’s tough economic climate self-employment might be the only way to ensure you are employed. Not that long ago, I read somewhere that instead of sitting about and waiting for a job to be advertised, job seekers should create work for themselves through self-employment. It seems like an ideal situation, especially if you have something to offer potential customers, whether that is through a service based business or high street shop. If like my- self, you can spot a niche market which isn’t being catered for, you can have a very profitable business.

There are a lot of things to consider prior to deciding to go it alone through self-employment. These include deciding on a business name, business structure, location, researching potential markets, sorting out funding and creating a busi- ness plan. All these tasks require time, money and effort but are essential in ensuring your business idea has potential. When I was considering setting up my business, I attended the ‘Go For It’ pro-gramme at Omagh Business Complex and found it an extremely useful tool in learning the do’s, don’t’s and essentials of running a business. It also helped me focus on why I was setting up the business, what its unique selling point is and the legalities of being self-employed.

The business start-up course that I at- tended is now run by Invest Northern Ireland who can offer potential business owners a range of services including:

· One-to-one start-up advice · Support to write a business plan · Advice on sources of finance for business and programmes run by other organisations · Mentoring in a range of business areas If self-employment is on your mind,the first place to start with is a visit to the Northern Ireland Business Info website: There you’ll find the answers to all your business questions as well as answers to questions you haven’t even thought of yet. And there’s lots of links to other sources of support and information. If you’re setting up a social enterprise, it can help you refine your idea and provide advice and aftercare during your first year of trading.

In some cases, there are financial incentives to individuals who live in areas of greatest need and amongst those people currently under-represented in the business population, to start new busi- nesses. All this advice is free, so it’s definitely worth looking at.

For example, The Prince’s Trust sup-ports unemployed young people aged 18- 30 to work out if their business ideas are viable and whether self-employment is for them.

Depending on the outcome of this process, the programme can then offer mentoring support and for those that need it financial support to start a business. Further information can be obtained from

If your business is located in a rural area, there may be financial assistance available through the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Programme.

There are of course criteria to meet, but it’s worth checking out. Their website i

It might be unnerving to establish a business in these tough times; however, it’s often better to have seized the oppor- tunity rather than live to regret it. After all, I once heard an uncle say, “The world doesn’t owe you a living; you have to go out there and earn your own.”