3.2 million Brits to start their own business in 2017

A recent survey commissioned by FreeAgent – who provide cloud accounting software to freelancers, micro-businesses and their accountants – has revealed one in 10 working Brits intend to start their own business within the year. With 31.76 million people currently working in the UK, according to recent ONS statistics released in December, that means 3.2 million more Brits are expected to become their own boss by 2018.

The survey, carried out by OnePoll and conducted with 1,000 working British people, suggests that the UK is becoming a nation of 

entrepreneurs with the majority of respondents saying they wish to become their own boss at some point during their career. 

A quarter of Brits aim to become self-employed within the next few years – with 10 per cent saying they plan to do so in 2017 – and nearly a third saying they want to start their own business at some point, but didn’t have any concrete plans yet. 

FreeAgent found the most common reason for wanting to start a business was to have a better work/life balance, with 52 per cent respondents citing this as a factor. Other reasons included wanting to choose what work they do, earning more money, following their passion and having a greater sense of achievement.  

Notably, more women than men plan to set up their own business in 2017 (11 per cent in comparison to 8 per cent of men). And overall, 56 per cent women dream of becoming their own boss in comparison with 52 per cent of their male counterparts.

The survey also revealed a marked difference in the reasons behind why men and women want to swap their jobs for self-employment. 55 per cent of women, in comparison to 48 per cent of men, are driven to become their own boss to achieve a better work/life balance, while 27 per cent of women, in comparison with 16 per cent of men, are in pursuit of fitting work around their family commitments.  

For men, increased earnings is one of the key drivers for setting up their own business – with 41 per cent of men, in comparison with 34 per cent of women, saying that they wanted to go it alone because they believed they could earn more as their own boss.

The results also highlighted the trend in ‘youngpreneurs’, with 67 per cent of working 18-24 year olds saying they planned to become their own boss at some point – the largest percentage of the age ranges surveyed. By comparison, 66 per cent of 25-34 year olds, 58 per cent of 35-44 year olds, 44 per cent of 45-54 year olds and 41 per cent of over 55 year olds, said they wanted to start their own business.

Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, said: “Starting your own business can be an extremely rewarding, if daunting, move for people to make with their career – and it’s clear from our research that a significant number of British workers are considering taking this leap into self-employment in 2017.  

“Unsurprisingly, the desire for a better work/life balance and the ability to choose the type of work they perform are key reasons for many people who want to start a business. But it’s interesting to see that working fewer hours is much less of a factor – possibly because they understand the time commitments required to build a successful business!  

“However, while it’s very pleasing to see so many would-be entrepreneurs thinking about going solo, it’s 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.”