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Self-Employment and Enterprise

Considering Self Employment?

Being self-employed can offer a more flexible way to live your life because it often allows you the opportunity to think creatively, use your initiative and shape your own future. However, working for yourself is also risky, time-consuming and can feel insecure.

You will develop many of the skills required to be self-employed during your time at the University of Bradford such as networkingcommunication and commercial awareness. These skills have to be combined with your own qualities of drive, motivation and personal commitment. 

Career and Employability Services can help you to:

  • gain an understanding of what it means to be self employed and whether this is right for you
  • explore the basics of business start up 
  • develop an action plan to help you prepare for the next steps

Email us, call us on 01274 234991 or come and see us in Student Central to discuss your plans.

Further help

As a Bradford student (or a local graduate), you can also get one to one help from Enterprise Coach Katherine Wyatt. Katherine can help you consider self-employment, work with you to explore your ideas for running a business and can offer support for you to develop your existing business further. She can also point you in the right direction for additional help and resources as appropriate.

Please let Katherine know you are a University of Bradford student or graduate when you contact her.

Katherine Wyatt, Enterprise Coach

Entrepreneurs in Bradford - watch the video

This video includes interviews with eight local entrepreneurs. They discuss how they founded their own businesses and why young people should consider entrepreneurship:

Commonly used phrases

There are lots of phrases used to describe ‘working for yourself’ and this terminology can become confusing, so here is our quick guide to the most commonly used terms:

  • Entrepreneur: The common perception of an entrepreneur is someone who is dynamic and ambitious, sees opportunities, takes a risk and turns their ideas into new business opportunities. 
  • Franchisee: Someone who has bought a branch of a business which is owned by one, central master company e.g. McDonald's Restaurants franchises.
  • Freelancer: Often working independently with their own clients, usually on more than one project at once and possibly for several organisations.
  • Portfolio career: Common in the creative industries and usually involves combining work in more than one career area. Often portfolio careers merge a role that is hard to sustain financially (such as acting) with a role that provides a regular income (e.g. office work).
  • Self-employed: Working for yourself rather than being a salaried employee for an organisation.
  • Social enterprises: A business which trades for social and environmental purposes. Social enterprises are distinctive because their social and environmental purpose is absolutely central to what they do - their profits are reinvested to sustain and develop their mission for positive change, e.g. Divine Chocolate.

Further information


In 2013, 4.8% of employed graduates were self-employed (for more details, look at the HESA What Do Graduates Do? 2017 report). In the UK around 4million people or 9.7% of the working population are self-employed (Source ONS Q3 2015). For more statistics on self-employment see the Office of National Statistics

Useful websites

  • Career Player (An insightful video which showcases the thoughts of several entrepreneurs.)  
  • Bradford Kickstart Help with small businesses from Bradford Council. 
  • GOV.UK Plenty of practical advice on starting up and developing your business.
  • Prospects Learn about the initial stages of self-employment: from developing your business idea to creating a business plan, working out start-up costs, managing cashflow and promoting your business. Find out if you've got what it takes to be an entrepreneur or freelancer.
  • Shell LiveWIRE The UK’s biggest online community for entrepreneurs aged 16–30. The website is full of useful links and information that will help you start up in business, design business plans etc. To access some of the facilities you will have to register for a free account.
  • Princes Trust The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme supports unemployed young people aged 18-30 to work out if their business ideas are viable and whether self-employment is right for them.
  • HMRC Information regarding tax and National Insurance contributions for the self-employed.
  • Contractor UK First Timer Guides
  • Small Business Start Up Guide
  • Entrepreneur Handbook expert information and advice for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa: If you want to extend your stay after graduation to establish one or more businesses in the UK, you can apply to remain in the UK under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category of the points-based system.