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Self-Employment: 10 Reasons To Take The Leap

We’re not going to lie to you, running a business and being self-employed is hardly a piece of cake. But, when you compare it to the daily grind of the 9-5 office job, there are many compelling advantages to going it alone.

Here are 10 great reasons you should take the leap to self-employment.

 

1. You get to do what you’re passionate about

When you clock up all the hours in your life spent at work, let’s just say it makes up a depressingly big chunk. Well, depressing if you’re stuck in a job that you have no passion or interest for. But, that’s just a fact of life, right? We don’t go to work to enjoy ourselves? We don’t work to service our hobbies and passions?

Well, why not? More and more people are assessing their career options and looking to self-employment to find added meaning and, well, enjoyment. The Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) revealed in 2016 that more than one in ten British workers left a day job to pursue a career they’re passionate about.

We’ve spoken to many of these ‘funtrepreneurs’ over the last few years. One of those is David Willis, who left a role in IT to pursue his love of the outdoors and become a teacher of Bushcraft and Wilderness living skills. “The great thing is, despite it now being my work, my love of the outdoors hasn’t waned. There is always something new to learn – from outdoor bread-baking to flint knapping – it’s always new and exciting.”

 

2. You get to be your own boss

In the corporate world, it’s often hard to reach the top of the ladder and truly shape the things around you. We’re instead stuck in roles that have a limited remit, with the big decisions being made above our heads. Whilst that might be fine, there will always be an insatiable human urge to shape things yourself and ultimately control your own destiny.

When you’re self-employed, that’s exactly what you do. You are the boss. That means every decision you take has a real impact on the business and you get to fulfil your vision, not someone else’s.

Shaping your own destiny? Who wouldn’t want that, especially when you’ve been worn down by frustrations of a 9-5 day job?

Andy Cordina left her day job to start her own greetings card business, Bettie Confetti. “Being your own boss is a seriously appealing option for when you’ve had one too many of those meetings. You know the ones. Where you could have covered the content of the meeting in a two-paragraph email exchange and you walk out knowing you’ll never get that hour of your life back.”

 

3. You get to choose your hours

It’s mid-week. Your daughter is taking part in her school sports day. England are playing in the World Cup. You’ve got to drive to the airport to pick up your parents in the early hours. What do you do? Well, when you’re working a day job, you’re pretty limited. Sure, there’s some flexibility, but ultimately it’s at the discretion of your employer.

Being your own boss, it’s up to you.

You might prefer to start your day bright and early, finding mornings to be more productive. It’s up to you.

If you’re a night owl, you might prefer to work into the early hours. It’s up to you.

Your quiet days might be punctuated by trips to the gym, jogs, the school run and visits to the shops. After all, it’s good to get out. If it’s sunny, hey, why not have the day off? It’s up to you. 

 

4. You get to challenge yourself

Yes, if it’s sunny, why not have the day off? There’s a statement that will have most entrepreneurs spitting their coffee out. The reason? Well, being self-employed is hard work. It’s a challenge. Sure, it’s exciting, but if you want to make a success of it you’re going to need to push yourself like never before.

Yet, for many, that’s what it’s all about. If we don’t feel challenged in our work then we end up coasting. We settle into a routine. With that routine, time just flies by doing the same things every day.

Running your own business is going to be a rollercoaster of new experiences, new challenges and new emotions. Those first six months might feel like a long six months. But, one thing it won’t be is boring.

 

5. You have unlimited earning potential

We have to put some caveats next to that statement, but, in essence, it’s true. In someone else’s business, your opportunities to move upwards and earn more money will be limited. Even if you reach the summit, become a CEO, there’s always going to be a cap on what you can earn. Those pesky shareholders will see to that.

Making the leap to self-employment is certainly no guarantee for endless riches. Indeed, your salary and job security rest on the decisions you take as a business owner to increase your profits. And that is scary. However, for many entrepreneurs, it’s that feeling of living on the edge that drives them to make the business a success and ultimately reap the rewards financially.

Research among 5,010 UK self-employed found these workers generated mean annual revenues of £32,623 (£5,000 more than the average UK salary), despite working 10 hours less per week.

Definitive Study of the Self-Employed Research commissioned by QuickBooks

6. You are living through a golden age (sort of)

If you pick up the papers, there’s undoubtedly a lot of doom and gloom around these days. We won’t get into that. But, when you get sucked into that way of thinking, it’s easy to overlook the very many great things that we have going for us in 2018. Yes, really.

The UK remains one of the leading countries to be an entrepreneur, topping the Forbes’ Best Countries for Business 2018 list. Meanwhile, the Global Entrepreneurship Index ranks the UK as the fifth best place to start a business in the world, ahead of the US and much of the EU. We must be doing something right then?

 

7. You have access to more support than ever

One of the reasons the UK is a great place for entrepreneurs is the support that is available to businesses. That comes right from the top. The government are, in the words of Small Business Minister Margot James, “committed to ensuring the UK remains the best place in the world to start and grow a business.” OK, that’s all nice and good, but what does it mean?

One of the most visible outputs from this is the 39 Local Growth Hubs that are based around the UK to help share knowledge and support to businesses at all stages. On a financial level, there are government-backed Start Up Loans you can apply for, as well as a host of regional-specific schemes to support you. That’s before we get on to one of the major advantages of our time…

 

8. You have technology on your side

Remember the days before computers were an everyday household appliance? Before the internet connected the world together? Before mobile technology enabled us to conduct our lives on the go? In the last 30 years, these technological advances have had a seismic impact on the business world, creating massive opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Now, we can find the answers we need, often for free, at the click of a button. We can connect with fellow business owners, influencers, powerful industry figures and political playmakers through social media. We can use these channels to market our businesses at low cost and enrich relationships with customers. With the power of those relationships, we can source financial backing using crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter. We can disrupt big industry players by being nimble, agile, and forward thinking. As Mashable argues in an article titled The Great Equaliser, “technology makes it easier to be a small fish in a big pond”.

 

9. You have more businesses to choose from

A happy by-product of these technological advances is that we get a whole raft of new industries popping up. In the UK, we have a thriving tech-sector, leading the way globally in app development, banking, gaming and ecommerce to name just a few. Last year we spoke to Fleye Aerial, an aerial drone filming company, who are blazing a trail in one such new industry. “We were one of the first companies in the UK to gain permission from the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority),” says founder Will Glover. “Because of this, and because the industry is so new, we are now one of the most established companies in the market.”

Equally, there are traditional industries that are being revitalised, driven by changing consumer habits as well as technology. Marketplace websites like Etsy have made it easier than ever to unleash your inner entrepreneur and sell your products online, whilst satisfying consumer demand for bespoke and unique products. Away from online, artisanal products from craft beer to fashion garments are popping up for sale in make-shift markets across the country as well as big high street retailers and supermarkets.

We’ve looked at some of the ways you can come up with good business startup ideas.

 

10. You are far from alone

Does it help to know that you’re in good company? Small Business Minister, Margot James, announced that the UK hit a record 5.7 million SMEs in 2017, responsible for 33% of the private sector turnover (a whopping £1.3 trillion). That’s nearly 2.5 million more people in self-employment than in 2001. This number actually rose sharply during the recession but was also buoyed by many of the reasons outlined in this blog.

That number looks likely to increase in the coming years, whatever happens to the economy. Informi recently looked into a new phenomenon, the Rise of the Side-Hustle. We found that one in five people surveyed already has a second source of self-employed income alongside their day job. 55% of those surveyed believe that having multiple jobs is the way most people will work in the future.

Indeed, we may be moving towards a world where self-employment of some kind will be the norm. Imagine that?

 

For a comprehensive guide to getting your business up and running, read our guide on how to start a business in 20 days.

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Huw Moxon is the Digital Marketing Manager for Informi.

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