Being your own boss “improves life” say most entrepreneurs

Architects, surveyors, engineers, and chefs report the most improvement in quality of life according to a new survey from AXA Business Insurance

82% of self-employed people in the UK have said that working for themselves has “much improved” their life, according to a survey by AXA Small Business Insurance.

Just 7% of those surveyed said they found life harder after starting up their own business.

The announcement comes at the same time as a separate AXA survey revealing that 78% of people who are planning to become self-employed in the next year cite being their own boss as their top motivation.

Self-employment also stacks up favourably against office life when it comes to mental health. Just 40% of people who worked for themselves claim to suffer from work-related stress compared to 60% of those who were in full-time employment.

Read more: Why 2018 is the year you should start a business

Office workers actually claimed to see a reduction in stress after leaving their place of work.

It seems this is partly because clients are easier to deal with than bosses, according to 84% of self-employed respondents.

However, over 60% said clients could be far more intrusive, expecting emails and calls to be answered in the evenings, during holidays and weekends.

According to those surveyed, the “happiest” age to become self-employed is in the late thirties and early forties, with 93% of people in this range seeing an improvement in their quality of life.

It can get lonely though: those who had been running their own start-ups for more than five years were twice as likely to report missing their old workplaces as the more recently self-employed.

Many who have yet to start their own business said self-belief is the biggest barrier, with 50% citing a lack of self-confidence and 36% blaming their current employer for damaging their self-confidence.

Another 30% said bullies, teachers, or classmates were responsible, while 22% said poor mental health had prevented them from starting their own business.

The survey also ranked the top professions for life improvement. Architect took the top spot, followed by surveyor, engineer, chef, and IT consultant in the top five.

Agricultural trades, graphic design, accountancy, joining, marketing consultancy were also listed as good professions for improving quality of life.

Gareth Howell, managing director at AXA Insurance, commented: “Some people are attracted to self-employment as a route out of a damaging workplace situation. Whatever your motivation, timing is crucial to success or failure in self-employment.

“It’s a fine art recognising when you’re ready: mentally strong enough, financially able and enthused enough. We know people often suffer loneliness, fears of inadequacy, money worries and long hours when on the first start-up, so you do need to be battle ready.”

“I don’t think we need to bash bosses too much though: most people aren’t talking about escape, more about simply reaching a point where they’ve outgrown their workplace, bosses included.”