Meet five young entrepreneurs…

With more than one million young people currently out of work, undoubtedly it is harder than ever to make a living. But, as the Sunday Times reports, it is possible. And in a fascinating feature, they tell of five young entrepreneurs who’ve taken success into their own hands…

Jules Quinn – founder of TeaShed

Young Entrepreneur

A TeaShed Design

After completing a four year fashion degree at Northumbria University in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Jules, 23, faced a dilemma. Apart from the fact there were few jobs available, if she wanted them she would need to move to London and this was something she didn’t want to do. So having left uni in May 2010, and from her parent’s home, she launched The TeaShed, selling silky nylon tea bags from Sri Lanka filled with exotic leaves. She also designs and sells ceramics, tea towels and cushions. And business is so brisk she expects to turn a £50,000 profit this year and is set to move into her own premises in Newcastle’s Waterfront in the New Year.

Zoe Jackson – Living the Dream

Zoe, 22, from Hertfordshire, was just 16 when she launched performing arts company Living the Dream. Five years later it teaches dance in 20 locations around the country – which provides work for dozens of dance teachers. Zoe told the Sunday Times: “People at school just don’t get a advice on networking, marketing and producing a CV – but if you are narrowed down just to pass exams and do the same as everyone else is doing, it can all stifle your creativity.”

Edwin Broni-Mensah – GiveMeTap

Edwin, 26, is a computer science and maths graduate who started his own business selling refillable water bottles. He found help via Virgin Media Pioneers, a group that provides advice from experts and helps young entrepreneurs share their ideas.

Abdul Khan – RatethatCurry

When Abdul, 25, was made redundant from an advertising agency, he decided to start up his own business. His website allows diners to recommend Indian, Chinese and other ethnic restaurants. His long-term plan is to allow people to order meals and make bookings via the site.

Jessica Annuna – founder of fashion website Annunarose

Jessica, 20, has already gained publicity in The Sun, The Voice, and on the BBC for her online fashion magazine for the younger generation. Her site offers access and interviews with designers, stylists and celebrities – and in fact she has already attracted readers with her interviews with celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo and JLS.

Are you an entrepreneur? Have you set up a new business that you would like some publicity on? Let us know and you could gain an interview on this site… My business

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TOP TIPS: Setting up a media business for free …

Setting up your own online media business is a very exciting prospect. Do it right and you can not only increase your earnings but improve your quality of life. But whether you want to set up a business as an aside to your day job or are planning to go freelance full time, it’s important to get the basics right. Here I outline the fundamental starting points that will put your new business on the path of success straightaway…and how you can do that for free…

Starting a media business

* Do your research. With the internet, there’s never been an easier time to check out what competitors are doing. If you are a writer don’t be put off by the fact there appears to be a lot of competition when you look. But at the same time don’t assume it will be enough to just copy what others have already done. These days you need to focus on what is different about you and ensure there is something about your business that makes it stand out from the rest.
* Start small.. Don’t invest any money at the start. Some people starting out in business are so caught up in the idea of having their own company they rush around buying new office furniture to convert the spare room or splash out commissioning fancy website design. But the great thing about the media industry – whether you are a journalist, novelist, PR consultant or TV producer – is it’s possible to start up your business for nothing.
* Take advantage of freebies. Test out the demand for your new business idea by setting up a website for free on or If you gain more visitors to your site, and therefore your business idea seems to work, then you can employ a professional web designer. The first month I started up Sell Your Story UK I had 26 visitors (they were kind family and friends!) but by the second month that number had already grown to 600 and so I knew I was on the right track.
* Get yourself onto social media.. Setting up a Twitter account, Facebook and linkedIn is all free – and can be used alongside your free website to increase your profile on the internet.
* Learn everything you can about search engine optimisation (SEO). Too many people set up a website and think that’s it – then wonder why they hardly get any traffic (visitors.) You can pay to advertise on Google sponsored listings (Pay Per Click or PPC) and it can bring instant traffic – but the drawback is that it can soon prove far too expensive for a start-up business. So initially at least you need to invest your free time, rather than money, learning how Google works. Then you need to find ‘links’ – other websites (like this one!) that you can advertise or post on – that will give you a do-follow working link (worth a google – for example Wikipedia, Facebook and Twitter links are no-follow) back to your site. Yes it is time consuming but lots of good links from well regarded sites will eventually push your site higher up the rankings.
* Get your accounts in order. It’s worth remembering the taxman is responsible for making the most small businesses bankrupt. It’s therefore very important to open a separate business bank account from the outset. Many creatives hate doing the business side of their jobs – but remember that is what business is about! You are in business to earn money. So you must be business-like from day one and keep records of every penny you earn and spend. Remember even if you are earning money on the side of your day job, you need to declare it. And it’s worth remembering that roughly a third of everything you earn should be set aside for tax (and not spent on shoes…)

Written by journalist and Media agent Alison Smith-Squire.

You might like: Blogging and Tweeting for Publicity

Have you recently set up a media business? Find out how you can gain a profile and publicity on Sell Your Story UK: here.

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We sold stories to the press – what happened next to these entrepreneurs?

Sell my Story website Featureworld has been registering a record number of hits recently!

Purepotions make Skin Salvation

The little pot that took the UK by storm

Firstly my story about Natalie’s little pot of eczema cream caused a frenzy of purchasers beating a path to her door. This story appeared in the Daily Mail. Natalie and daughter Lula, for whom Natalie orginally made the cream, then appeared on ITV’s Daybreak. Following this they were featured in the Sunday Express this weekend. I have also gained them further deals with two huge weekly women’s magazines.
The eczema cream story appears on ITV's Daybreak

Natalie and Lula with Dr Hillary Jones on ITV's Daybreak

Natalie said: “After the story appeared we did almost half a year’s normal business in three days. We have been inundated. Alison warned me when she took our story on that we would see a huge surge in business. My only mistake was not listening to her as we have worked absolutely flat out to ensure everyone has got their pots.”
Myself and the Daily Mail also took huge volumes of calls and emails about Natalie’s cream, which due to publicity gained by Featureworld, she now hopes to sell in a huge store such as Boots.
Mary Corrigan
Meanwhile, Mary’s story about how she has devised a diet for hairloss – and which has also appeared through Featureworld in the Daily Mail (and shortly to appear in a top women’s mag) – has also meant record numbers of visitors to her website. And from 7th April Mary’s new book, My New Hair, will be available. Her brand new book is full of diet plans to treat alopecia and baldness is available with a special pre-order price here.
Dr Bryan Beattie
Dr Bryan Beattie came to me with his story about the new test he is pioneering to predict which babies will be born prematurely. Since this story appeared in the Daily Mirror and on ITV’s Daybreak, Bryan has seen an upturn in sales for the test, available from his private clinic, Innermost Secrets.

Read more: Natalie Balmond’s Eczema story
Read More: Mary’s Corrigan’s hairloss cure story
Read More: Dr Bryan Beattie’s premature birth test

Other recently sold stories: Sell Your Story Archives

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