This project is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme

Financial security through branching out in business

DATE: 26/01/23

AUTHOR: Fiona Kennedy

There’s no denying that many of us find ourselves in uncharted economic waters. Given the cost of living crisis coupled with unprecedented international events, it would be impossible not to feel something of a pressure to rethink your finances. The instinct to reevaluate our working lives and financial security is something many of us can identify with.

Following the  pandemic, it was widely reported that many of us decided to redirect ourselves professionally. Whether to find a better work life balance or to move forward with a passion that had otherwise been pushed to the side. Whatever the motivation, changes in our economic environment have encouraged us to make changes to our personal lives. Add to that the very real financial pressures, it’s interesting to consider how starting a business could actually be the answer we are looking for.

Research shows that more than 1/3 of the UK population already run a business alongside their own full time employment. Over the last 3 – 5 years, these numbers have increased. While many of us associate starting a business with additional financial pressures, a step into entrepreneurialism can actually provide significant benefits.

Financial priorities

With household bills on the rise it’s no surprise that many people are considering how they can generate an additional income streams. In many cases, this ties in with long held interests that we might have but have pushed to one side for whatever reason. The possibility of holding down full time employment while also experimenting with a passion and generating incoming is a smart and satisfying way of testing the waters without taking on too much risk.

Personal development

Many of us are taking time to consider what it is we actually want from our lives. It’s common to recognise a personal goal that you have sidelined while juggling life, family and full time employment. Setting up your own business can offer a positive way to improve your self confidence, build up skills, and empower yourself.

Mental health

Reports show increasing levels of poor mental health with more individuals being prescribed anti depressants, as well as increased levels of anxiety and depression being registered with GPs than ever before. Launching a business in an area you’ve long been interested in can improve professional engagement and motivation. By extension it can have positive effects on your overall contentment and mental heath.


Setting up a business is a process that impacts the business owner and customers and also has a ripple effect on the community around it. Investing in skills sharing, creating jobs, using local resources and promoting local artisans is a way to give back more globally. Knowing that the business you have created has a positive effect through your community is an incredibly satisfying reality.

Understanding the positive potential that entrepreneurialism offers, what should you bear in mind before and when you embark on starting your own business?

Business Plan

The research, learning and strategy that goes into developing a business plan is the foundation that any successful business venture needs. No matter how small you plan to start. Take time to flesh out your financial projections, your marketing strategy, your growth and exit strategies. Doing so offers opportunity to reflect and a reality check before you make any decisions. Talk to us at Go For It and we can work with you to walk through building and developing your business plan before you take the leap to launch.

Understand the requirements

Business can take many forms and setting up on your own comes with legal and tax requirements. Individuals in the UK each have the capacity to earn £1,000 of tax free trading allowance. Anything over that requires proper reporting to HMRC. In addition you should consider any resulting and related tax requirements. When you’re thinking about setting up your own business, will you act as a Sole Trader, as a Partnership or as a Limited Company? Each comes with its own set of rules and requirements. Depending on the nature of your trading, you’ll decide which one will best fit you.

Build on passion

The most successful business build on passion and the goal of offering a solution to a problem. If you have a hobby or an interest that you feel invested in, or you’ve created something that solves a problem, that’s the direction in which to a take your business. As well as offering more likely success, choosing a business in which you feel inspired by will keep you engaged and enthusiastic when you’re still working full time. Don’t underestimate that doing both can feel overwhelming and can consume a lot of your time. It’s vital that you really care about what you’re doing.

Start small

Maintaining a full time job and launching your own business means wearing many hats. It also requires you to juggle a lot of priorities so start small. Choose the direction you want to take your business. Set reasonable targets. Be realistic with your time and resources. When you start to make profits, return those to the business where you can to provide you some security. Don’t forget that it takes time to turn a profit. Having reasonable expectations and working to small targets will help. Give yourself a 12 – 18 months trial period after which time you can reflect and see whether you’re on track with your plans or whether you want to reassess.

Many hugely successful businesses have started off as passion projects or side offerings so whether you’re launching a business to earn extra income or to fulfil a personal goal, there is always potential for success and growth. Take Innocent Drinks as an example, launched in 1998 by founders who wanted to make healthy smoothies while working in completely unrelated jobs, the company later went on to be sold to Coca Cola for $320 million. The most famous of the passion project is Apple, with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak starting in Job’s parents garage, building better computers while they worked full time in Atari and Hewlett Packard respectively. With Apple recently valued at over $2 trillion, there is no better endorsement for following your passion and pursuing a business idea you really believe in.