Friday, 22 March 2019

6 things to consider before you become self-employed

Deciding to embark on a self-employed journey is always daunting. There’s no recipe for overnight success, no how to guide and a high chance of many obstacles ahead. Despite the many challenges of entrepreneurship, pursuing your dream and making it a reality can be the most rewarding experiences in life. No matter what the motivation is to be your own boss, you can start today.

There are plenty of reasons to go self-employed: you get to ‘be your own boss’ and work more flexibly and depending on your industry you may be able to earn more than the salary you’d be able to achieve as an employee.

Before you take the leap into a self-employment venture, it’s important that you are confident in your business idea and your own ability. Here are 6 things to consider before you take the step into self-employment which can help you decide if you are ready or not. 

1)      Make sure your idea is something that drives you

Passion is the thing that keeps everyone going through the hard times but especially entrepreneurs. If you really believe in what you’re doing, it will make you more resilient and determined when faced with obstacles that will come with starting your own business. In addition to making you more motivated, it will also improve your ability to sell your idea and your own potential as an entrepreneur.

2)      Know your target market

Before you take the dive into self-employment and spend money, you need to find out if people will buy your products or services. This may be the most important thing you do, and you can do this by validating your market. Ask yourself who, exactly will buy your products or services? What is the size of your target market? Is your product or service relevant to the everyday life of your audience? Why do they need it? Ask your customers or target market personally or you can get free industry research online.

3)      Be committed

You need to make sure that you are committed to your business idea and are determined to make it work. Being self-employed is a big step and success will not come over night, so you need to be prepared to give it your all.  You are at the heart of your business idea, meaning that you will be the one to hold yourself accountable. As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to stick to your business plan, make and respect your budget, dedicate time to developing your business, and meet the goals you’ve set for yourself.

4)      Find a nurturing environment- be your own boss.

Being self-employed can mean that you work independently a lot, make sure you are happy where you are working. Work out what would be the best working environment for you, it might be at home or in a hot desking facility. For more information on hot desking here at 54 James Street, click here.
5)      Build up a support network

Business networking is the building of mutually beneficial relationships with other business people and potential clients or customers. Network locally, nationally and via social media networks, building up a network of advisors, partners and supporters will help you every step of the way with your start up business. If you believe in your business enough, others will, too.

6)      Ask for help if you need it

You are not alone, if you are starting or growing a new business and looking for advice, contact the Enterprise Hub team to find out more about the funded support on 0151 706 8113 or

Thursday, 14 March 2019

1 in 4 Liverpool City Region businesses supported by Activate develop new successful products

One in four businesses supported by Activate, the Liverpool City Region’s leading support programme for the digital and creative sectors, have successfully pioneered a new innovative product or service as a result of their involvement with the programme.

Activate, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), helps SMEs grow by exploring and adopting emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, VR/AR, machine learning and high-performance computing.

The programme, launched in November 2017, has provided fully-funded support to 46 SMEs across the City Region, a quarter of which have already turned their innovative ideas into viable products and services.

Amongst those created are a first-of-its-kind AR mobile application for the hospitality industry, a smart digital multi-music instrument and a powerful market intelligence platform. A further 52 companies have signed up for support in 2019.

To date Activate has awarded just under £100k of funding to 11 SMEs across ecommerce, IT, product design, music and gaming, all of which have used the capital for product development or further consultancy.

The programme provides opportunities for businesses to work closely with experts at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) and Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership to assess growth challenges, accelerate new ideas through new technology and to launch new products or services.

Over the past year, Activate has hosted 18 events at various locations to help SMEs learn about the potential benefits of working with emerging technologies and gain specialist insight from industry leaders. The events have been attended by over 700 individuals from the digital and creative industries.

Phil Charnock, marketing manager at Draw & Code, said: “The consultancy support provided by the Activate programme gave us access to experts in UX design and senior marketing minds.  This vital input from these experts has fed back into the commercial plan for our SwapBots toys and into the design of the game - just in time for SwapBots’ being opened up to early access players.”

Jonathon Clark, business and technology manager at Activate, said: “Activate has been running for just over a year now and the sheer volume of interest that we’ve had proves just how much the Liverpool City Region needs a programme like Activate to support those in the creative and digital sectors.”

“What’s more, the success that businesses have experienced since completing the programme shows how effective support and funding can be for driving business growth and how using the right emerging technologies must be central to that.”

“Looking ahead at the next 12 months, our aim is to bring together more resource and expertise in areas proven to accelerate businesses growth such as data science and artificial intelligence.”

To see case studies of support that has been provided and to find out how Activate can help your business growth, get in touch via its website:

The programme is set to run until 2020.