Whilst there are a lot of schemes and scams offering quick riches for little investment, for most people, venturing out into self-employment, starting your own business can be very rewarding. You’ll need a great, sustainable idea, motivation, skills in running a small business, and above all, a realistic idea of what you’ll get out of the business, certainly in the early stages.
You may well be able to hone in on a new product or service that has business potential, by preparing a list of current skills, and exploring work activity or degree course content.

The notion behind this is that you can utilise existing experience and/or knowledge to develop your business idea.

Ask yourself these questions:

Can I modify the skills and experience that I acquired while working for somebody else to meet the needs of a niche market?

Can I add or develop another skill to create a wider offering?

What would be the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your idea (SWOT analysis)? It may lead to the generation of other ideas.

What opportunities would be presented if I change how I work currently?

Here are a couple of success stories to ponder over.

• Martin, a young graduate worked as a graphic designer for a year with an organisation and quickly build up work experience in dealing with customers and turning work around quickly. He worked for a further year to vary his experience and then launched his own on-line business. Martin now offers logo design, vector images and infographics. He is in demand locally, and on-line.

• Carrie, a hairdresser, following the birth of her baby, decided she needed to work differently. She worked on her SWOT, carried out a skills analysis and researched the local market. She decided to offer hair-styling services for local brides-to-be, choosing to work on days where her husband could look after the baby. Carrie now works on Fridays, Saturdays and public holidays and is as busy as she wants to be. Her skills are being utilised, she makes full use of local opportunities to advertise, and there is room to expand her business when she want to.

These ideas are a great starting point. The more thorough the exploration of your skills, experience, personal needs and adaptability, combined with market trends, the more likely your idea will work.