Happiness is... working for yourself

Happiness is... working for yourself
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Thu 20th Jan 2022

Being your own boss is the key to happiness – even if it means working longer hours and taking fewer holidays, a major new study by Enterprise Nation has found.

Small business owners work an average of 51 hours a week, compared to 36 hours for an employee, while half of them take just 10 days holiday a year, compared to the national average of 28 days, according to our 2022 Start-up Barometer.

But more than 80% are happier being their own boss than they were before, with half enjoying a better work/life balance and one in three saying they are able to spend more time with their family.

Small businesses optimistic about growth

The report found that 85% were optimistic about business prospects in the next 12 months, with just under three quarters (73%) saying they expected their business to grow. Firms based in the South West were most positive about growth (75%) with ambition in the East of England and Yorkshire and Humber lowest, but still at a respectable 55%.

Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones said: “Our fascinating research shows just how positive starting and running your own small business can be. But it also highlights the sacrifices that have to be made, and how important it is to have both expert and emotional support.”

The survey of 1,000 UK firms, found 60% of small business owners say they love being their own boss, and a similar say that all the personal sacrifices involved are well worth it.

But 65% admit to being lonely and more that 90% would like to see more emotional and practical help available for small business owners.

While three quarters look for business support online, 46% take face-to-face support from an adviser with a third (30%) turning to books. But a fifth (19%) said they couldn’t find the support they were looking for.

Most get their biggest support from a spouse or partner, and while one in five say going it alone in business has put a strain on their relationship, the same amount say it has made their love stronger.

StartUp 2022, the UK’s largest small business show of the new year, takes place on 22 January. It will inspire thousands of would-be entrepreneurs and support those who have already launched a business.

Now in its eighth year, StartUp will run online for 2022 in a bid to reach as many entrepreneurs as possible across the UK. Book your ticket here.

Relevant sessions to attend at StartUp 2022

  • Enterprise Nation advisers to connect with at StartUp 2022

  • Business Essentials stage at 2pm: Tips and tricks to increase your productivity

  • Keynote stage at 10.20am: You can do it! With Simon Squibb

  • Keynote stage at 10.50am: Why 2022 is the year to start a business

  • Business with Purpose stage at 11am: Future-proofing your mind-body health for a thriving business

startup 2022 tickets

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I'm also Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I have 20 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from billionaires like Sir Richard Branson to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I now freelance for Enterprise Nation including hosting the Small Business sessions podcast. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community in my role as Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I also have strong connections with other major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 100 events including conferences with an audience of hundreds for international brands like Xero and Facebook and live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography.

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