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Becoming Self Employed

An RNIB guide to becoming self-employed for blind and partially sighted people.

Becoming self-employed is an option if you are an entrepreneur, have a great business idea, are struggling to get a job elsewhere or just want to work for yourself.

Self employment can be a very exciting prospect, but it is also time-consuming and challenging. Before you decide to set up your own business, you will need to carefully consider whether becoming self-employed will suit your personality and abilities, as well as fit in with your lifestyle.

If you think you may need help with becoming self-employed, there is a list of many useful organisations and much more information about self-employment in our factsheet.

Download our self-employment factsheet

Skills and abilities

Some of the characteristics associated with small business owners are listed below to help you identify your own abilities and training needs:

  • Entrepreneurial
  • Self-motivated and hard working
  • Committed to achieving results
  • Highly organised
  • Able to communicate effectively - including the ability to sell products and services
  • Responsible, able to take calculated risks and cope with failure
  • Creative, innovative and imaginative in coming up with new ideas
  • Leadership skills.

Developing your business ideas

Whatever the reasons behind setting up your own business, there are some common steps that need to be taken. It is vital that you conduct an assessment and carry out research to judge how viable your idea is. Consider the following areas:

  • Conduct market research to discover whether your idea fills a gap in the market
  • Do your products or services meet customer requirements? Consider pricing and quality issues
  • Do you know how to forecast your cashflow? What assistance will you need in book-keeping and tax affairs?
  • Consider the implications for your social and domestic life.

Preparing a business plan

It is important that you produce a realistic working business plan. It can help you spot potential pitfalls before they happen, structure the financial side of your business efficiently, focus your development efforts and also work as a measure of your success. In addition, if you do not have a working business plan you will not be able to secure any funding.

A business plan might include:

  • Executive summary - this is an overview of the business you want to start
  • Business opportunity - who you are, your skills, experience and relevant training, what you plan to sell or offer, why and to whom
  • Marketing and sales strategy - why you think people will buy what you. want to sell and how you plan to sell to them, who your key competitors are and how you plan to beat the competition
  • Management team and personnel - your credentials and the people you plan to recruit to work with you
  • Operations - your premises, production facilities, your management information systems and IT
  • Financial forecasts - this section translates everything you have said in the previous sections into numbers

You should also try to think about how your sight loss might impact your business. Organisations like RNIB, with our network of employment specialists, can help you assess this. Contact us on 0303 123 9999 or emails us at [email protected].