It doesn’t seem to matter what industry is under the microscope, the current job market can be incredibly challenging for graduates to enter into; with so many graduates vying for so few positions, job searching can come as something of an anti-climax for those who have spent the last three years, or more, in training for their perfect career. Self-employment is just one career pathway that these graduates could, and should, be exploring. After all, if they have a skill to sell, shouldn’t they be making the most of it rather than competing with everybody else?

The benefits of self-employment

There are numerous benefits to seeking self-employment. It will provide exciting opportunities many new employees never get to experience; those who travel down the road of contracting or self-employment can often pick and choose their working hours and locations, can focus on their strengths and the skills that mean the most to them, and travel further than an office-based job would allow. In addition, contractors and freelancers often earn much more than employees, have the option of developing their skills and working in a variety of different situations, and can expand their CV with a range of exciting opportunities. As if they weren’t reasons enough, freelancing can reduce travel costs, plus it’s easier than ever to set up a company – no matter where a person lives, or what they’re specialties are.

Self-employment: Getting started

The sad fact is that many graduates are put off from exploring the world of self-employment because they are frightened of striking out on their own, or fear that working for themselves will be too complicated. This simply isn’t the case, and self-employment is becoming a popular option these days. When getting started, registering as a sole trader or limited company and setting about putting those skills to profitable use is actually relatively easy – it’s how they then operate as a business that will set them apart from the competition. For beginners some work experience is essential, and graduates shouldn’t be afraid of taking on unpaid jobs to begin with. How else will they build a name for themselves, or forge a reputation? Joining a professional body or society, and keeping abreast of industry news is also vital, enabling new contractors to ride alongside those who have worked in their jobs much longer. Equally important is getting certified, updating education with training courses and new skills, and being prepared to network: social media and sites such as LinkedIn are absolutely vital when it comes to finding, and keeping, new clients.

It’s true that forging a career as a freelancer or contractor can be daunting; after all, while they’re working so hard to build working relationships and prove their worth, who is looking after these freshly graduated students. Companies such as Pocket Accounts exist purely for that reason, making sure the recently self-employed can concentrate on their business relationships and reputation, rather than worrying about the financial side of proceedings and paperwork. Working as a freelancer can take its toll on work/life balance; with a professional body to manage his or her contractor accounts a graduate can instead focus on the task at hand. The existence of a company like Pocket Accounts saves new contractors a great deal of money in professional fees, ensures compliancy at all times, and, above all, makes managing finances simple. Tax, national insurance, invoicing, and basic accounts can be difficult to tackle at the best of times, without throwing a fledgling business into the mix; with Pocket Accounts, such worries will be avoided by graduates while they enjoy building a business.

The world of work can be tough; while there are jobs out there for those who look hard enough, there is also plenty of competition for the very best roles. Self-employment is an increasingly popular means of generating income, allowing freshly graduated students to stand on their own two feet with a flexible, rewarding career.