With the number of people working for themselves in the UK reaching a record 4.88m last year, a recent poll has revealed that 11% of Brits have plans to start their own business in 2018. On scale, this accounts for 3.5m people – suggesting that this year could well be yet another record-breaking one for self-employment.
A further 8% of the 1000 or so surveyed by FreeAgent intend to strike out of their own by the end of 2019. And refreshingly, the main reasons for starting up a business are seemingly not financially related.
Almost half (44%) intend to start their own business for the freedom it brings, along with the opportunity to strike a better work life balance than the one perhaps experienced as an employee. This falls in line with previous research carried out by Qdos Contractor, which signalled that being able to work on their own terms was freelancers' biggest attraction to self-employment.
But of course, the work itself matters too. 43% of Brits hold aspirations to go solo because it will give them greater control over the type of work they can carry out. It comes as no surprise that being able to choose your clients and the projects you work on is a huge draw to freelancing and contracting. Employees on the other hand often find themselves feeling stagnant, under paid and above all else, under valued.
And it is the fear of not reaching one’s potential which drives 37% of people to want to work for themselves. Independent working is a liberating career choice, and one which allows individuals to get out what they put in.
When exploring gender attitudes to business ownership, women hold greater ambition to make their own way in their career, with 13% planning to go self-employed this year, compared to 9% of men.
The survey revealed that women are more driven to work for themselves so they can choose the kind of work they undertake, while it seems men are more motivated by the prospect of a better worklife balance.
Whether 1 in 10 Brits start a business in 2018 remains to be seen. So perhaps the number of people who would like to go it alone but without having a timeline for it, is more impressive. 49% of those surveyed are keen to break free from the shackles of employed life and start a business at some point in their career.
Brits aren’t naïve to challenges of running a business though – far from it in fact. The cost of starting up ranked as the number one concern to 35% of survey respondents, while 34% hold reservations about their ability to manage their company finances. 30% worry their lack of confidence will prove to be the biggest stumbling block as they set out alone in business.
While championing self-employment and small business ownership, FreeAgent CEO, Ed Molyneux also urged Brits thinking about starting a business not to walk into it blind.
“It’s so important for any new business owner to make sure they are fully prepared before they start up. One of the main reasons that new businesses fail is because they cannot maintain a healthy cash flow, so drawing up a detailed business plan and staying on top of your finances is key if you want to make your venture a success,” he said.
How long did it take for you to make the jump into self-employment?