After I left university, I felt overjoyed to finally enjoy my own freedom. Reality soon set in, however, and I found myself regularly worrying about finding work and keeping myself afloat financially.
I didn’t get any part-time jobs during my university studies due to my fear of becoming stressed and my autism not reacting well to changes in my routine. I relied mostly on my student loan to keep myself going.
So if you can’t find the ideal job… Create your own!
Soon after I graduated, I came up with the idea of printing my artworks onto different kinds of merchandise to kick-start my business. I started out with tea and coffee mugs, decorating them with various drawings of my own creation, and ordering the finished products in bulk from an online printing company.
When the mugs arrived, I travelled around north London – and other parts of the country – to sell them to family and friends for £10 each. I then reinvested my profits into ordering more mugs, updating the design each time with a new look.
My artwork is inspired by places around the world, particularly Canada, and occasionally films or TV shows I’ve seen, or my own experiences.
I’ve also began to print other types of merchandise, such as bags, notebooks and T-shirts, which I sell in addition to the mugs as a sort of a merchandising pack. As part of this, I have recently set up a store on the website Etsy, an online marketplace for crafters and other creative types. I’ve recently made my first sale, a beach tote bag.
To help my business go further, I’ve approached the Prince’s Trust to help me secure some funding. They will be getting back in touch with me in January, but meanwhile they also provide a free business plan template that can be filled in with projections and aims.
If you are a young person looking to start your own business, there are many options available to help you get your idea off the ground. The Prince’s Trust have a fund that they award to budding young entrepreneurs. With many young people on the Internet nowadays, there are also ‘crowdfunding’ sites such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe, where other people can give a small amount of money towards a business idea.
Exposure is an award-winning youth communications charity giving young people in north London a voice. Please support us to continue our work. Thank you.