Want to be your own boss? Take the leap and become a young entrepreneur

It’s May and quite frankly, I’m surprised that you even had the time to read this article, because it’s the time of year that marks those dreaded words; ‘exam season’.

The smell of anxiety, panic, despair and any other synonyms for stress you can think of are surrounding the air across campus.

When you’re in the last year at university, not only does the strain of exam season hang over you like a dark cloud, but you’ve also probably just hit the realisation that “oh shit, it’s almost over and I don’t even know what a ‘Linkedin account’ means.”

Adult life is looming around the corner, so say goodbye to £2 drinks at club chem, living off one pizza for three days and arguably most importantly, say goodbye to those student loans that have been funding your Kardashian-style shopping habits for the past three years.

You always get people in class that land their first training contracts before you even put your Christmas tree up. It can become easy to fall into the spiral of feeling unaccomplished because you’re coming to the end of a degree and still don’t know whether you want to follow your dreams of becoming an astronaut or a brain surgeon.

Whatever you want to do, it is essential to remember that everyone is on their own path and will reach their goals at different rates. There are many different careers out there and many ways to reach the destination you want.

If a conventional 9-5 office job isn’t on your to-do list, then why not venture off into the world of starting your own business?

If you have something you’re passionate about, whether it’s dog walking, music, or designing cartoon characters, the options are endless when you take the step into designing your own career path.

The Kent foundation is a charity designed to offer support for young people looking to kick-start their own businesses. Next week they are hosting their annual ‘A BLAST!’ event in Maidstone, which offers the chance for young entrepreneurs in the county to network and showcase their businesses.

In a press release, they said “Our charity is recognised as the go-to place for Kent’s young people in business to receive support to grow their business. This is reliant on our volunteer business mentoring service where business people from across Kent volunteer their time to support Kent’s young business owners to achieve in business. Stuart Tanton, Director of Kent Foundation expands further on the event and business support services”

The Canterbury Hub spoke to Stuart Tanton, the director of the Kent foundation about why events like these are important.

He said ” A blast is a huge event in the Kent foundations diary for two simple reasons. Firstly, it showcases young entrepreneurs and business owners to the wider business community of Kent. Secondly, the importance of the Kent foundations role in the support we provide to them.”

The 2018 A Blast! event register 250 tickets and 40 businesses were showcased at the occasion, highlighting the necessity for events like this and the size of the network.  Stuart explains that the charity is run heavily by the support of this large business community in the county.

He said “The Kent Foundation relies heavily on the generous support of time and financial assistance from the business community of Kent, and we want to demonstrate where that investment has gone and celebrate the success these businesses are having. Top Tip: If you have a great idea, test it! You will learn more from someone agreeing to buy it (your first sale) than trying to perfect your product or service before going to market.”

 

 

Sam Simmons, 24, is the director of Raw Step Network, a music promotions agency in Rochester, set up his business after graduating from the university of Kent with a law degree.

Talking about his personal struggle after finishing university he said :”I graduated with a Law degree back in 2016 and although it was a great achievement, I was not really looking for a career in Law. I found myself feeling very uninspired and a bit lost in what I really wanted to be doing. I decided that I should start my own business.”

 

Another local charity that supports businesses in the area is ‘The Princes Trust’, they offer a funding scheme for young entrepreneurs and even offer an ongoing support system with a one-to one tutor.

Sam explains his experience with the charity ” I highly recommend that young entrepreneurs look into this route. They offer valuable advice from different industry professionals that have experienced the challenges running a business throws at you. They break it down into stages and help you to understand the different areas of business. They provided me with financial support and mentor support. All for free. I to this day still meet with my mentor to discuss business development and progress.”

 

Talking about the A Blast! event Sam says “It is a great way to get your business out there and communicate face to face. You can interact on a personal level with potential customers and start to spread the message your business conveys. Free gifts, hand outs, business cards, and so on can all be handed over and more people know who you are and what you do. I am looking forward to it.”

It can be daunting to start up your own business and take the leap in creating your own company, but with charities such as The Princes Trust and The Kent Foundation  in the area, lots of support on hand.

Sam said “I faced a fair few obstacles. The hardest part was to get the ball rolling and get people to listen to your ideas and be interested enough to invest. But be patient and stay positive, because when it does kick off, it will be worth all the stress.”

Take a look at Sam’s website here: https://www.rawstepnetwork.com

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