Ways of working for yourself

An increasing number of Goldsmiths graduates are working for themselves. Whether you’re a creative freelancer, a social entrepreneur, or simply have any great commercial idea, Goldsmiths is here to help you take your ideas forward.

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14% of Goldsmiths graduates from 2016/17 were running a business/freelancing 6 months after graduating.

Why work for yourself

If you have ideas for a new product or service, want a more flexible structure, or more control over your work life, then working for yourself is something to consider.


Freelancers work under a fixed contract to deliver a specific task or project for a client, which could be an agency or a company. Freelance roles are particularly common in the creative industries, amongst professions such as photographers, artists, designers or makers, performers as well as in the media, business and IT.

Different ways of working for yourself

Sole trader

A sole trader owns and manages a business and there is no legal distinction between the owner and the company. After tax, profits are all yours, but this is equally true of any debts you incur.


Partnerships are when a minimum of two people own or control a business and share the profits and losses of the business. Partners can own differing amounts of the business.

Social enterprise

These are businesses with social purpose where profits are reinvested back into the business or local community. Social enterprise covers a range of different types of business including cooperatives, employee owned businesses, and community interest companies.

Limited company

Unlike sole traders and partnerships, limited companies allow the separation of an individual’s assets and liabilities from the company’s. A limited company has to be registered at Companies House, and there are legal obligations in the formation and running of the business.