Secrets of the ssh…. course (just one of many for new/existing business) at dec….dryden st hooray!

Formula: Adrian and Liz + Dryden Enterprise Centre plus entrepreneurial undergraduates/post graduates: Dhavri, Ini, Anastasia, Emily, Giselle, David, Ollie, Max, Will, Shadrak, Emily(2), Jake, Rianne, HayleyJoelMax, Samaya= Potential Business Energy released for Nottingham….how? Well, we all attended the NTU Dryden Enterprise Centre’s Saturday Side Hustle course on two Saturdays May 7th and May 14th.

It was brilliant! Thanks to Adrian and Liz from NTU/Big House.

Saturday Side-hustle is a two-day course for students who are more than thinking about how they might start a side-hustle or improve one that they’re already running.

It’s hosted by NTU at the new Dryden Enterprise Centre (DEC). The DEC was built during the pandemic (just wow(!)) and is a new go to venue for co-working space, business development courses and resources (The Federation of Small Businesses used it recently for a meeting of their members with the Nottingham South MP Lilian Greenwood). The need for the DEC was proven through the longstanding university employer, student, entrepreneurial focus of the NTU business incubator The Hive since the 1990’s has supported thousands of new businesses: it’s a secret formula for a virtuous cycle of success that NTU always widely shares.

On Saturdays 7th and 14th May 2022 in the new DEC at NTU Adrian Williams (NTU Enterprise Advisor The Big House ERDF/NTU) presented the course. Adrian was supported by the brilliant Elizabeth Morley (I couldn’t find a pic, sorry Liz), who uses her corporate marketing, business, community, social business experience to coach and support new and existing entrepreneurs, start up micro businesses and SMEs.

 Above: Adrian Williams Craftsman Vooght Cathrew Fine Furniture and Craftsman Clocks, Biomedical Science student and NTU and Big House Enterprise Advisor who presented the Saturday Side Hustle course at the new Dryden Enterprise Centre on Saturdays May 7th and May 14th 2022

The DEC is a great environment for learning. The layout and comfort of the desks, chairs was excellent and the technology and software accessible and unbotrusive. There is a screen on every wall and some of the user centred software developed during lockdown meant that we could anonymously post and share our learnings, thoughts and insights and everyone could absorb the information quickly as we went through the course. Below are examples of some of the thinking we went through:

Above some of the screens laying out useful questions on the Saturday Side Hustle course 7th and 14th May 2022 at The DEC

A side-hustle is any small business that you run on the side of your studies or paid employment. It can be as small or big as you can dedicate time to but it means that if you have ten hours to dedicate you should dedicate those ten hours in a disciplined way. Just because your side-hustle is a ‘side-line’ doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be the most important thing you do in that sideline time. The course teaches new entrepreneurs how to set up and run their new small business, keep accounts in a legal way and fill in their yearly tax return and how to work well and ethically for profit.

The programme is hosted by The Big House a partnership to support creative business development supported by the EU, The Midlands Engine and all the creative partnerships in the East Midlands:

Above Big House Creative Partners in the East Midlands

The Saturday Side Hustle course is one of many courses that the new Dryden Enterprise Centre (DEC) provides. As well as courses for students and, well….anyone, DEC provide workspace, resources and support both for students as well as anyone with a business idea, anyone already running a business who needs further support and development. The DEC grew out of the NTU incubator the HIVE which itself was an essential part of the post second world war vision of the work and skills relationship with education that we needed in Nottingham. Megan Powell Vreeswijk and the DEC team regularly catch up with business start-ups they’ve supported:

Above: Megan with Joanne Wdowiak and Frances Johnson of A Dozen Eggs now an established branding business

Below I’ve written up some of the key ideas and points I gained from the two days. I want to give you a flavour of the kindness, the warmth and generosity of approach of the enterprise culture at the Dryden Enterprise Centre on Dryden Street.

Adrian’s first key thought was to Keep it Simple: start planning during college: making money, currency, subscription, cross selling. Some people have intellectual property that they can rent/license. Be sensible with start up costs. Most people underestimate build in costs of insurance, machinery (we looked at Finance in week 2)

What is your Risk to Reward? Think about not taking too many risks: speak to NTU Enterprise: only put in what you can afford to lose. Be clear about who your customers are: see everything from your customer’s perspective. A side hustle is still a business and it needs to make a profit but also you need to commit and be consistent to it. If you can spend ten hours, then spend ten hours. Look after it, water it like a plant. Be legal, professional and dedicated and it will flourish.

Adrian introduced the Business Canvass Model

Above is the improved business model canvass which has a very simple puts operating model on one page and breaks it down into small chunks to consider. The template helps you explore new possibilities from the perspective, of what if? from the very beginning of your business journey.

Adrian mentioned the value of your Key Partners: who are they and how can they evolve? What are your Key Activities: what does well to make money? He explained Value Propositions so you can get used to thinking, explaining, communicating, developing your product through every interaction and conversation you have.

What is your/product value/ the problem you’ve solved? He explained Customer Segments/Segmentation. Who are your customers? How do you keep them, grow them/upsell to them? What do you consider are your Key Resources/Channels? Are you a business to business or business to customer side hustle?

How is the business earning revenue? What kind of revenue stream will the business rely on? 

Miro software is great for collaboration:

Knowing yourself/who you are in the community is as important as knowing your product: what it is, where it comes from, know your customer, what the customer wants. How you can use your social capital to sell, upsell, develop. Think about your ethics, what drives you?

Consider feasibility, desirability, viability, competitors and sustainability. Describe your product/service in many different ways to many different customers. Think about the time available, the skills needs, social and environmental impacts and the marketing and delivery channels. 

Validate you value proposition (Idea about product/service) then build product and marketing.

Sell what it can do. Simon Sinek Start With The Why list the features/benefits from the customer’s perspective. Keep doing this as you get going, and refine (this will take longer over time as you get more involved in what you’re doing and the business/service product development becomes real. ASAP to get feedback if it works..go.. put more resources in…if not..change it…how to create value for your customer. Know your customer and understand supply and demand. How do we stand out? USP

Businesses are an evolution of businesses that have been before. That doesn’t mean that your take on those businesses can’t be unique, original, groundbreaking in some particular way or aspect. Learn from then develop your own take that is an improvement.

Adrian explained the Lean Business Model Canvass try to validate the proposal to minimise risk. Business bringing value: you need to define your strategy that can bring it to people economically. Understand value benefit/price relationship. Understand your customer.



Launch plan (we did this in Week 2 Saturday May 14th)

Adrian runs Vooght Cathrew Fine Furniture and Custom Made Clocks

He’s a craftsman and explained the Business Canvass Model from the perspective of the evolution of what was his own passionate side hustle which led into night class, college study of cabinet making and the natural network into craftsman made clocks. As his business and work network evolved Adrian has grown relationships with clock makers who need casings for their craftsman made clocks.

Adrian explained how keywording comes out of looking again at the language he’d use to describe what he’s doing the different woods he uses, (eg: mesmerising(!)) the local sourcing, Hermle movement in the clocks (Hermle is the world leader in the manufacturing of mechanical movements, producing more that 1 million units annually and sells to over 130 countries around the world. It’s not surprising that you will find that many of the mechanical clocks in the market are fitted with a “HERMLE” movement), removeable glass, how the design/wood can match the interior so the client has choice, can see the clock movement (glass is removeable), to create something in the home of lasting value: an heirloom.

He also considered how the use of heritage skills, the reliability of the clock and casing and the technical specifications are built into the way the value propositions for the product and service are conveyed to the client.

His target client is probably 40+ someone interested in the visual arts (one of his clients was an architect), probably male with an appreciation of how clocks/cabinet making come together and interestingly, probably a National Trust member (appreciative of finely made products).

His marketing channels are currently website/twitter/facebook. In the future he will be developing Instagram and is looking into exhibitions/shows.

For Adrian, the visit to the workshop is key to the client appreciation of the work/craftsmanship that goes into the product and he also wants to develop an annual newsletter.

Environmental concerns are central to the product: local timber that is air dried, used carefully to produce minimal waste. He shares a workshop in Arnold with another cabinet maker and considers Natural, Social, Human capital in a cycle of Reducing, Reusing, Recycling, Repairing, Recovering.

Adrian explained how all of the aspects of practical everyday work in the workshop can tie into wider UN Sustainable goals (no hunger, no poverty, clean sanitation, quality education, decent work, economy, gender, racial equality, environmental goals enhance understanding of a business supply chain and the energy it uses.

Take care of yourself, team, partners, collaborators and grow an enjoyable, useful, profitable side hustle that with time could evolve into something with real future growth potential.

We were given a list of useful links on how to begin thinking of wider aspects of what business activity means: Ellen McArthur Foundation, Forum For The Future, UK SME Climate Hub, Green Street for Retail and Sustainability and information about the British Business Bank.


Paula (friend of DEC (stories on signsofanopencity: and neighbourhood development, side hustle to find out how to create a community interest company that could trade and run campaigns to improve things (such as Beautiful Streets, Pavements, Shop Signs),thinking about the problems some small retail businesses in Nottingham neighbourhoods have: eg: recent work feedback showed many retail businesses would like better payment systems for their businesses?).

Adrian made the point that side hustles trade time for money they’re on a continuum with different risk, intensity level.

Dhavri (Fashion Management Masters) (side hustle idea to design, make and sell silver jewellery online). Skills: In Design, Photoshop, Illustrator. Dhavri’s project is the first of many projects she plans to test the market, build an understanding of the best way to sell original products. 

Ini Fashion Design Advanced Fashion Research course. This is an idea for her post graduation business. Ini is Nigerian and wants to help a group of women she knows in Nigeria produce garments sustainably and the profits help to develop further improvements to the supply chain in creativity, sourcing, manufacture and wellbeing. Skills/Experience: in depth understanding of cultural issues in Nigeria (when women marry often they lose their status and retreat to the home: Ini wants to reinvent the home space as a creative/making/selling space and Ini is an ambassador for a new kind of supply chain between Nigeria and the UK (I’ve written about a Nigerian artist Flo Awolaja (who used to work in the BBC now is an artist and art therapist) who uses Nigerian cultural history and secret historical coding in her designs.

Anastasia Fashion Management Mum and Dad are in differing parts of the jewellery business in Hatton Garden London. Sourcing, design and making are a family passion that Anastasia is continuing in her take on designing, promoting and selling premium jewellery. Lots of understanding in the family about the industry and the support to make an original contribution.

Emily Fashion Management: Buying is her strength, Emily’s side hustle is a made to order fashion brand. Soon to graduate then returning to do pattern cutting and pattern grading courses. Loves style and wants to launch a capsule wardrobe and then build value. Emily’s brand will evolve fabrics, bespoke offers. Skills: marketing, buying, finance. 

Giselle Business Management/Marketing (Side Hustle: Drinking Card Game, designed around local understandings/culture. Wants to test out how to produce with the Product Design Department types of materials etc. Skills: communication, planning, design, execution.

David Film and Media (Side Hustle own production company: this is what he wants to do for the rest of his life. Is already working with musicians, helping them promote themselves creating footage or editing/making videos. Skills confident with camera, editing, communicating.

Ollie Business Studies (Side Hustle: Breeding dogs/reselling tickets/Hallowe’en themed events

Max Business Studies Vintage Clothing (already selling via an app)/interested in getting access to property development company

Will Business Studies (Side Hustle selling Festival packages online and at Festivals. Family background in business, dad is a cabinet restorer: expectation that business drive a normal part of life. Skills able to sell, drive, communicate. 

Shadrak Fashion Management (Side Hustle/Business: wants to develop a creative multimedia production studio/hub for painting, fashion. Skills: drawing, painting, photography, fashion design.

Michael Digital Marketing (Side Hustle: wants to develop digital marketing for restaurants small businesses, entertainment locally: there’s a need for a trusted brand to show them how digital marketing works and how they can optimise their marketing strategies.

Emily 2 Business Management and Entrepreneurship (Side Hustle: Emily’s Hustle Emily has discovered an incredible ability to spot potential in garden rubbish and recycle it to make perches for birds). Skills: hawk eye(!), communication, repurposing, selling and marketing.

Jake Business Management and Entrepreneurship. (Side Hustle/future business Importing business shoes). Jake’s dad is already in this business and has identified a factory in India (Jake has met the factory owner at a fair in Italy) where men’s business shoes can be custom made and sold over here profitably.

Rianne Biochemistry (Side Hustle Mobile Makeup) Rianne loves the idea of helping people, especially brides to be, feel beautiful. She wants to work across Nottingham, has transport. Skills: Communication, all kinds of make up.

Hayley Fashion Knitwear and Design (Side Hustle Handmade Clothing: young teenagers, students, online. Minimalistic capsule great quality, good price). 

Joel Business men’s shoes Joel has identified a niche area here and is keen to understand how he can move forward.

Max Business platform to support safe breeding/training/looking at how to train domestic animals

Samaya Media Communication Makeup artistry/marketing of makeup

In Week 2 Adrian presented information about tax, NI, Trading Allowances and record keeping so attendees could begin to decide what kind of business or trading entity they are going to be: eg: sole trader, limited company, partnership, community interest company

and he explained how and when to register yourself as a sole trader or business entity. 

When you set up your side hustle if you’re earnings are £1000 or less if you keep records of your earnings you don’t need to register as a business. Trading Allowance

There are two allowances, one for property earnings up to a £1000 and casual trading up to £1000.

It’s worth thinking carefully about your start time and any large costs: try and coordinate buying set up equipment with registering your business so you can offset the full cost rather than starting, buying equipment and it depreciating before you register. 

If you’re self employed you’re responsible for debts as well as service and profits. When you’re starting think carefully about what you’re putting in in terms of research, planning, time, money. When you’ve registered as a self employed/sole trader you’ll receive a UTR (Unique Tax Registration) number. 

See this info about tax and what it’s used for in a separate article.

Sole Traders pay 20% income tax and depending on how much they earn, Class 2 and Class 4 NI. (You could be employed paying class 1 and self employed paying class 2 and class 4)

Self employed income and NIs, Class 2 and 4 National Insurance contributions.

Over 9881 will pay tax at 20%

Self Employment 18,600





Income tax over 12570

£4030 20%= £806

NI Class 2 £3.15 a week

NI Class 4 10.25 %

£16,600 -9881=6719


£1659 total

leaving £14,941

Earnings Employment £9,500

Earnings Self employment £18600

Overheads £2000

Total earnings £16,600

We pay 20% tax above £12570

£26,100-£12570= £13530

Total Income tax payable £13530 x20% £2706

NI Class 2 £3.15 per week (paid on profit above £6725 £3.15 x 52) 


NI Class 4 £10.25 on all profit above £9881 per year


NI Class 4 £6719 x 10.25 =£689

Total tax payable = £3559

which leaves £13041 as your income

Make sure to keep all receipts for seven years. It’s important to put aside as much as you can towards tax, do your return as soon as you can and pay the tax owed or make arrangements to pay in a way that enables you to continue with your activity.

You can complete your self assessment on a cash accounting basis or on a traditional accounting basis. What you decide will depend on how/when you invoice and when funds come into your business.

Adrian offered an interesting link to help with this:

How to set up and run a limited liability partnership

This is useful where consultants/professionals want to share space/responsibilities, costs as a partnership: eg: health, education, architects, engineering consultants but not liabilities

What is/how to set up a community Interest company:

Terms and conditions of Trading: They need to be visible. Rules of how you trade creates a contract. Business terms sometimes an additional contract and provides protection against wrongdoing and misunderstandings. It must be fair. Background Trading Standards, consumer legislation. 

Invoices for payment. Business name/address if it’s a limited company the name should be on the invoice.

Here’s Nottingham Trading Standards

Citizens Advice on contracts:

Business companion:

Intellectual Property Copyright

Designright How your unregistered designs are protected:


Trade Secrets:


If you have a product or service you should be charging the right amount for the quality of that product/service

Revenue – costs = Profit People usually underestimate their costs: don’t be one of them

Start up costs/ongoing costs: don’t put in too much at first…

Test Trading

Have a go…then look at start up/ongoing costs in more detail. If a side hustle, write everything down, don’t overbuy. Check stock machinery/software/marketing/budget/website/social media/sustainability/do you need help/marketing. Keep in touch with the team in NTU enterprise. 

NTU Enterprise work with Santander to offer Test It grants

Ensure you’ve completed the Business Model Canvas look at forecasting/set up a business bank account (the first eighteen months can offer free banking).

Look around and see how different parts of your own business model is applied in businesses you see around you in Nottingham, in your neighbourhood. 

How much will you charge?

The relationship is

All expenses + Start up costs+ Repayment + Profit

Number sold

and consider NI/Tax

Is your selling price realistic?

If it’s high relative to the market, revisit some of your costs/assumptions/startup/ongoing costs. Where can you reduce?

Value proposition.

Smarter/More efficient

Outsource elements? Is the business viable?

Marketing Customers/Copy/Texts/Talking to people/conversations/Networking/PR/Print/Direct Marketing/Video/Digital Marketing/SEO/Social/PPC/Email/Display/Marketing budget: how much? Fixed budget

Content Who is the content for? Set the tone, register (meaning who it’s aimed at and your persona).

What is the desired outcome for the customer/for you/for you both?

Look at Surveys/competitions/polls make your work interesting, clear, strong and attractive.

This will make it simple/easy for the customer to act and become your ambassador.


There are lots of ways to attract customers, activities you can work on but it’s worth in a side hustle it’s worth getting to know the trader neighbourhood, your trader sisters and brothers. If a group of traders run a newsletter (like Sneinton newsletter:

Make friends with the people in it/who run it, find out how your product service might work in their ecosystem, help other businesses, network with them establish mutually beneficial support for all the businesses to thrive.

(Traders wanted for the AyUp Nottingham Market) See the next article about the West Bridgford Vegan Market 21st May the traders are happy to talk to new entrpreneurs!

Love Business East Midlands: