Ways of working for yourself

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.

Primary page content

15% of Goldsmiths graduates from 2020/21 were running a business/freelancing 15 months after graduating and 34% of those in work were self-employed to some degree, with the majority freelancing.

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.

How we can help

  • We offer a programme of workshops and webinars focused on working for yourself. Book your place on CareerSPACE
  • We hold monthly meet-ups for students and graduates wanting to work for themselves (search for Enterprise Lounge on CareerSPACE)
  • We partner with organisations that offer programmes on how to start a social enterprise and how to run a small business
  • You can book an Enterprise appointment via CareerSPACE to talk through your idea

Email student-enterprise@gold.ac.uk to sign up to the student enterprise mailing list.