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10 reasons you should start a business instead of getting your first job

If you’re an ambitious student who’s setting out on your first steps along your career path, the world is your oyster.

While there’re many paths you can go down – each with its own pros and cons – we’d argue that starting a business is one of the very best options.

Here’s a few reasons why:

There’ll never be a better time to start a business

When you have a mortgage and a family to support, it’s much harder to take the leap into entrepreneurship.

If you’re a typical student or graduate with low living expenses, few commitments, and the safety net of being able to move back in with your parents, then you can afford to take a gamble. Plus, you’ve got plenty time to recover from any missteps.

You haven’t become accustomed to a regular paycheque either, which means if it takes a while to build up your income as an entrepreneur your quality of life won’t take a step in the wrong direction like it would for someone with an established career.

If you have the entrepreneurial impulse, there’s never going to be a better time to bet on yourself than when you’re fresh out of university.

It’s the fastest way to grow your skills

When you start your own business, you have to wear a lot of hats – from marketing to customer support to looking after the accounts.

You get to try your hand at things you wouldn’t ever get the chance to at another company, which means you quickly get up to speed on a whole range of skills.

You also get to quickly find out what you do and don’t like. And the beauty of owning your own business is that you get to hire other people to do the things you don’t enjoy and spend all your time focussed on the things you really thrive at.

Work on your passion

When you start your own business, you get to work on something you’re passionate about every day. While no entrepreneur would say that going your own way is the easy route, it’s without a doubt the best way of spending your time building something you’re passionate about.

Ask any entrepreneur – their business is their baby. Building a company from scratch adds value to people’s lives is one of the most rewarding things you can do if you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit – even if you don’t consider yourself “passionate” about the actual product or service you provide.


When you start your own business, you’re in complete control of your schedule. You decide what you work on, when you work on it, and where you work from. If that means jetting off to Thailand and setting up with your laptop on the beach with a cocktail in your hand, that’s completely up to you.

Of course, there’s plenty of hard work involved in establishing any business. But you can put the hours in when and where it suits you, rather than have to stick to arbitrary hours someone else has set you or endure the commute every workday.

Uncapped upside

Let’s say instead of starting your own business, you take a job at an established company in town.

In your first year at the business, you totally reinvent the sales process, bringing in an extra £1 million in profit.

Do you think your paycheque is going to be £1 million bigger?

That’s just not how it works when you work for someone else. And while you’d like to think you’d be in line for a promotion and a hefty pay rise, there’s always going to be a glass ceiling when you’re an employee of a business.

When you own your own company, you get 100% of the profits. And while it’s wise to reinvest a good chunk of these back into your business, the fact is that if you increase profits by £1 million in your own business, you get to decide what to do with that money rather than your boss.

It’s creative

Being a business owner means thinking on your feet. It means spotting opportunities and jumping on them, as well as keeping an eye out for ways you can improve your product or service.

This makes it the perfect path for anyone who likes to think outside of the box and exercise their creativity rather than come into the office and spend their days ticking boxes.

Work with who you like

Another benefit of owning your own business is that as your business grows, you have final say on all hiring decisions.

When you work for someone else, you don’t control who you work with. But how well you get along with your colleagues makes a huge difference to your wellbeing – just ask anyone who works with someone that rubs them the wrong way.

When you own the business, you get to build a talented team of people you get along with and help support them build the careers they want as well.

Diversified income

When 100% of your income comes from your employer you’re in a precarious position. Your boss is completely in control of how much you take home at the end of each year (and whether you keep your job at all).

When you start a business, you diversify your income streams. If you have ten clients, you can lose one and it won’t put you out of business. When you only have one job, your fate is completely in your boss’s hands.

Set yourself up for future success

Starting your own business sets you up for future success. No one will tell you the first few years aren’t hard work, but once you’ve built a self-sustaining business, you’ll reap the rewards for years to come.

The ball is then in your court – you can choose to take yourself out of the day-to-day operations of the company or stay in the trenches building the business, sell the business on or stay at the helm for years to come.

Whatever you choose, you’ll have built an asset that you can profit from for years to come instead of building someone else’s asset for them.

There’s plenty of support out there

Last but not least, when you start a business you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. There’s plenty of support out there for you – including the eighteen resources every Durham-based business owner should be taking advantage of.

We’re here to help too, so if you’re starting up a new venture in Durham, apply to be part of the next DCI cohort now.

So, there you have it – ten reasons to you should start a business after university rather than getting your first job.

Good luck!

The next application deadline is Friday 6th May 2022

apply now