If you've returned from the Christmas break resolving this will be the year to become your own boss, Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones offers five good reasons as to why it's the perfect time to set and keep the resolution.

Over the past five years, the UK has witnessed a start-up boom as people of all ages and from all areas have turned business ideas into reality. Over half a million people each year start a company. If this is something you’re considering, here are five good reasons to give it a go.

1. You can start without quitting the day job

Don’t feel you have to dive into self-employment on a risk-it-all basis. Most people start a business whilst holding onto the day job; that way you keep the safety of a salary whilst giving yourself time to build confidence and cashflow in the business.

Referred to as having a 'side hustle' or 'working 5 to 9', this is the best way to start. So long as you're not launching a business to compete with your employer, bosses can be receptive to this way of working too as you’re picking up new and enterprising skills, without the company having to pay for it!

2. Gaps in the market remain

You may be put off starting a business by thinking all the good ideas have been taken but I never cease to be amazed by the variety of new and niche ideas people come up with every day; from indestructible laptops for boat owners, to HR services for award-giving bodies.

So many gaps in the market remain, i.e. opportunities to sell a specific product or service to a particular audience. It's your job to fill that gap!

3. Technology has opened up a world of opportunity

With idea in hand, you need a route to market and there's never been a better time to embrace technology as that route.

Turn to the likes of Amazon Marketplace, Etsy and Trouva for selling products online, and it's Kindle, iTunes, iStock and others that are more relevant for selling services.

Engage with your target community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and drive traffic to your own website, encouraging browsers to sign up for newsletters and offers so you have permission to contact them again.

With a basic understanding of these powerful platforms, the world is quite literally your trading oyster.

4. Support is in abundance

Whether you're starting a snack or app business, you'll find there's plenty of support available. This ranges from incentives for people to invest in your start-up (EIS relief) through to accelerators, local Growth Hubs and mentor programmes.

It's not difficult to access support as a start-up; you just have to know what’s available and then make the most of it!

5. Freedom and flexibility is yours

The greatest benefit of self-employment cited most often is the freedom and flexibility that comes with working for yourself.

You can decide where, how and with whom you work, which gives meaning and purpose to your everyday life. If these are the benefits you’re after in 2018, it’s time to get started!

Attend the UK’s biggest start-up show, StartUp 2018, on 13 January to hear from 100+ speakers across 10 stages. All topics covered; from finance to marketing, PR and SEO. Access all you need to start a business, in the space of a day.

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