How to grow a small business: Sam's story

Meet Sam, 22, from Edinburgh and find how he set up his own car valeting business, Fresh Car Valeting. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

"For me leaving university was one of the best decisions I ever made. It was really scary, but it was also really exciting."

  • Sam studied Business Management at school, which included topics such as Accounting and Marketing, then went on to university
  • His business idea grew from a project he had worked on at university. His business was so successful that he decided not to go back to university and to pursue it as his full-time career
  • He started valeting cars from a van on his own, then expanded his business to take on staff and set up new areas. His role is now office-based and he uses the skills he's developed, including good communication skills, to create and manage his company.

What to expect if you want to be self-employed

Working for yourself looks different for each person and each business, but in general it means you:

  • run your own business and are responsible for its success
  • can decide how, when and where you do your work
  • charge an agreed, fixed price for your work
  • sell goods or services to make a profit
  • can hire people at your own expense to help you or to do the work for you.

The salary and working hours when you own a business can vary enormously but what's most important is that you work hard and love what you do.

You can be both employed and self-employed at the same time. You can work for your employer during the day, for example, and run your own business in the evenings and at weekends. It’s important to contact HMRC for advice if you’re not sure if you’re self-employed.

You can get help with setting up or developing your business, through the government’s business support services, for example, for advice about tax or how to find funding to start your business.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service, GOV.UK)

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

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