Skip to sub navigation Skip to main content

Working for yourself in Ashfield

In the UK, approximately 15% of workers are self-employed. Before COVID-19, this number was steadily on the rise; there were more than 5 million self-employed people in the UK at the start of 2020, compared to just 3.2 million in 2000.

But COVID-19 seems to have briefly disrupted this steady growth; bringing into light the many benefits and potential drawbacks of self-employment during a pandemic. If you’re reading this, you’re likely ready to take the leap to become an entrepreneur, freelancer, or contractor and need some guidance on how to get started.

It’s important to keep top of mind that as with any new endeavour, working for yourself can be a huge risk, and proper preparation is key.

Where to start

You can find lots of information on starting and running businesses, including marketing, finance, sales and human resources, on the ‘Start a business’ section of the Entrepreneur Handbook website and working for yourself section of the GOV.UK website.

You can also get help by attending a free business start-up course, such as:

Prince’s Trust free enterprise programme

This is for people aged 18 to 30, living in the UK, who want to start their own business. There are 4 stages to the programme, including a 4 day workshop, business planning and idea testing with help of a mentor and a business launch stage with access to a low interest business loan of £5000.

Kick-off business course

This is a free online course to help individuals that are interested in becoming self-employed. The course will explore useful topics such as:

  • the formalities of setting up
  • legal requirements and insurances
  • finance, money and grants
  • opportunities and risks
  • business planning
  • branding
  • creating an identity
  • finding a USP
  • building a proposition
  • social media and marketing.


The Big House programme

This is a free bespoke package of support for creative and digital businesses, with the aim of providing tailored mentoring, workshops, and grants, to help with pre-start, start-ups or established or growth staged business. This programme works with other business support organisations such as NBV and Nottingham Trent University.

Head-start - Ashfield enterprise project

Whether you want to be your own boss, get that side-hustle off the ground, start generating some passive income, or just get a better work/life balance, Nottingham Trent University can help.

You’ll receive:

  • Free 1-2-1 advice and coaching
  • Free workshops and training on how to set up and run a business
  • £1000 grant to help get you started.

If you live, work, or intend to set up a business in the towns of Kirkby in Ashfield or Sutton in Ashfield, you could be eligible for support through the Enterprising Ashfield project to get you started on your journey.

Head-start advisers will walk you through establishing a new business in those all important early months. They will guide you through everything you need to know, and you don’t need to have any prior knowledge or experience in running a business.

To enquire about support to set up your own business in the Kirkby or Sutton in Ashfield areas, please contact:

Skills Bootcamps

Skills Bootcamps are free flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, for people looking for a new role or job opportunity. If you’re self-employed, you’ll be able to use the training to seek new opportunities for your business.

There are fully funded courses available in many business sectors including:

  • Business administration
  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Green skills
  • Digital
  • HGV driving
  • Hospitality.

Visit the Skills Bootcamps website and find the right course to help you set up your business:

Incubation offices

You also need to consider where you will deliver your services.

Do you need your own office? Or can you take a desk in a shared space? If you only require space for a few hours a week then you could look at co-working or hot-desk spaces.

Ashfield District Council have some low cost incubation offices to help support young growing businesses. You can also email the estates team directly, to ask about available offices in the following buildings:

If you want to explore a retail, then a good place to see what this is like is to have a stall on one of our local markets.

Local Markets


Retail premises

If you would like help to find retail premises, then we recommend you look at Business Support's commercial property page.

Business Support

Did you know that we have a Business Support webpage? Here you can see information that will support you in starting up, and growing your business.

We also have a business support team that can arrange a meeting with you to offer advice; please email:

Webpage last updated: 27 October 2023