From TAFE student to business owner

Why not go out on a limb? That's where all the fruit is - Mark Twain

Okay, so you've finally finished high school. Chances are there may be a lot of well-intentioned people offering you a lot of advice about your options right now. What you should do next. Go to university. Get a job.

You can go and find a job working for someone else. Or you can go and create your own job.

Creating your own small business is an idea that many people find very appealing. Unfortunately, few manage to do it successfully. There can be many different reasons for this, but one of the biggest mistakes many people make is they choose a business in an area that doesn't particularly interest them, other than merely turning a profit.

"I think it's really important that you find something that you really love that you can build with knowledge by going back to study," says Elle Young, director of Stay Young Fitness, based in Sydney's Northern Beaches. "I think that it gives you a lot more enjoyment through the studies if you really do love it."

Elle should know. With a natural interest in the fitness industry, she set her sights on establishing her own business as a personal trainer, and so enrolled herself in a 12-month Fitness course TAFE NSW's Northern Beaches College.

"I looked at a few courses to get me into the fitness industry," she said. "There were a few based online, some at uni, and then there was TAFE. I felt TAFE was the best because it had a lot of practical in it and it was spanned over a year. A lot of the online courses I looked at didn't have enough practical for me and they were about 12 to eight weeks, so quite short."

With her eye fixed on becoming her own boss, it was TAFE's strong industry connections that made all the difference. "TAFE have really got it right," she said. "They prepare you to get right out in the industry. There are no gaps. It's very seamless all the way through. The teachers are great. They're all really connected to the industry still. Or have been in the industry for the last ten years, still very current."

Since graduating from TAFE, Elle has successfully established Stay Young Fitness as a thriving small business with a dedicated and growing client base. Elle's transition from TAFE student to business owner is just one example of a story that is repeated many times right across the state. Whether you're interested in fitness, food and wine, coffee, fashion, technology, animals, you name it, the chances are there's a TAFE NSW course that will help you become your own boss. And enjoy yourself in the process.