Becoming self-employed

There are many attractions of becoming self-employed and many levels of support available for you to start up your own business or become self-employed.  

Can I get help to become self-employed?

Yes, the council have a team of qualified business advisers who can talk through your business ideas and concerns, help with business planning, explore access to funding and give a wide range of support to those looking to start a business (or grow an existing business) in the East Riding.

The business services team can help both new businesses and existing businesses who are already trading but who may need some additional support.  

Meetings can take place at one of our business centres or our advisers can visit you if you have trading premises.

Contact a business adviser to discuss what advice you need.

Free business start-up workshops

East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s business services team offers a series of workshops covering the basics of setting up and running a successful business. The workshops are available to residents and businesses of the East Riding and are free. Places are limited so early booking is advisable.

Business events

What do I need to consider when starting a business?

There are many things to think about when starting a business like “Will my idea work?” and “How much money do I need to earn to live and to operate my business?”.   

You need to undertake market research into your idea in order to start to answer these questions and our business advisers can give you guidance on how to do this and also tell you about other things you need to think about.

Legally, you will need to register your new business for tax and national insurance purposes.  Other things to consider are business insurance, licensing requirements, property leases and planning permission. These are all areas we can provide some advice on. 

You can contact a business adviser to further discuss what to consider:

Contact a business adviser 

How can I raise finance for my business?

First, you need to establish how much you need to live and to run your business. This can be done by carrying out a planning and cash flow forecast. You can do a planning and cash flow forecast by completing a cash flow template: 

Cash flow template (excel 36kb opens in new window)

You need to then look at where those funds may come from.  Generally, the source would either be funds you already have or funds which you can borrow. If you need to borrow money then consider if you can get funds from friends or family.  If not then your business bank would be a good starting point or there are other lending schemes which we would be happy to discuss with you.

You can contact a business adviser for more information on raising finance for your business:

Contact a business adviser 

Further information on finding funding advice can be found on the Getting Financial Help page.

Further information on getting grants and other funding, support and also incentives with locating a business in the East Riding can be found on the Funding and support page.

How should I trade?

If you are considering self-employment, you will need to think about the different ways of trading and which would be most appropriate for your business.

Most businesses register as a sole trader, partnership or limited company.

Your new business could take another form so please follow the links below to read about how they work:

Sole trader 

You run your own business as an individual and are self-employed: 

GOV.UK - Set up as a sole trader (external website)


You run a named business with a nominated partner: 

GOV.UK - Set up a business partnership (external website)

Limited company 

You run a named company with an address and one or more directors: 

GOV.UK - Limited company formation (external website) 

In addition to one of the above legal forms, self-employment can also involve one of the following trading practices:


You run a business with others as part of a group, acting together for the mutual benefit of all members, sharing ownership and making decisions together:

Cooperatives UK - Plan your co-operative (external website)


You run a business that is licensed by another business to use its products, services, name or brand: 

The British Franchise Association (external website)

Starting a social enterprise or nonprofit company

If you are looking to start a business with social aims and objectives then a social enterprise or nonprofit model may be suitable.

The main premise of this type of business is that profits generated are invested back into the business to allow it to continue, or are distributed in line with the business aims and objectives. Those running a nonprofit business can still earn a wage from them.

This type of business can sometimes attract external funding to support its activities but the market for funding is very competitive so you cannot rely on grants to set up and for the ongoing costs. The business should, ideally, generate income from its activities or from other fundraising to supplement any grants which may be available.

GOV.UK - Set up a social enterprise (external website)

How can I find out more about becoming self-employed?

Contact your local business centre for an informal discussion with one of our business advisers who will be happy to meet with you and answer your questions.

Contact a business adviser

You can contact a business adviser with an enquiry or arrange a confidential one to one appointment using the online form.

Please note: you will need to supply an email address.

Contact a business adviser

We can advise you on:

  • how to register your business with HM Revenues & Customs (HMRC) for tax and national insurance purposes 
  • writing a business plan 
  • marketing and selling your product 
  • keeping records and financial planning 
  • finding premises 
  • licensing 
  • business rates 
  • taking on staff.

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