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Starting a business while you study

A business meetigWhy start a business at university?

The obvious reason to start a business is to make a little extra money - but that’s not the only benefit.

  • Working for yourself is more flexible than a part-time job: there’ll be lots to do, but you can fit it around your studies.
  • If the business takes off, you might find you don’t need to look for a job when you graduate - and even if you do, you’ll have a source of income while you jobhunt.
  • You’ll gain a lot of skills and experience that will be valuable to any future career.

Remember that, just like with a part-time job, you need to make sure your work doesn’t keep you from dedicating enough time to your course.

What could I do?

  • Think about your skills: if you can repair computers or phones, or you’re good at arts or crafts, that’s a good starting point.
  • Risk is an important part of business, but while you’re studying full-time it’s probably best to be careful - avoid pouring your student loan into an idea that might not work out.
  • Make sure you think about how you’ll find customers. If you’re making and selling things, you could use online shops like eBay or Etsy. If you’re offering a service and need to meet your customers, you’ll need to find customers closer to home: an advert in a student paper might be a good start.

What do I need to know?

There are some legal requirements if you’re starting a business. Most importantly, you need to tell HMRC about it, as if you make enough money you’ll have to pay tax.

You should keep a careful record of the money you take and the money you spend on your business. Not only are these important for tax purposes, you can’t run the business without knowing if you’re in profit!

You can find lots more information on starting a business in our Starting a Business section.

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