How to start a business with a difference: Jessica's story

Meet Jessica, 24, from Birmingham. She owns and runs a mobile hairdressing business called The Hair Bears, which is for adults and children with additional needs. Find out about her life as a business owner. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

Everyone should feel comfortable when they’re getting their hair done.

  • Despite Jessica's mum being a hairdresser, she didn't think it was a career for her until she visited a salon with her aunt
  • Jessica's aunt has both learning and physical disabilities and found the experience of going to a hairdressers very stressful
  • Unfortunately there was no salon specifically for people with additional needs and Jessica decided to set up her own business
  • The business is a mobile service for adults and children with physical and learning disabilities
  • Her GCSE in Childcare and A-level in Health and Social Care have helped her set up a safe, friendly environment for her clients
  • In this job, Jessica needs to be flexible and empathic in order to meet the needs of different people - as well as using her hairdressing skills.

Jessica's career path

Jessica's career path

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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