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Why do Brits love running their own businesses?

Controlling how and when you work is the ultimate dream for many of us — but then again, there is a fair share of stress and worry involved when you own your own company. Despite the potential financial and operational pressures, a large number of Brits appear to be opting for the self-employed life, with 5.5 million private sector businesses in the UK by the end of 2016, according to business statistics compiled by House of Commons Library.

So, what’s the main benefit of owning your own company? Here, we’ve asked business owners what they love the most about working for themselves and being in charge of their own operations…

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Top reasons people love owning a company…

  • Being your own boss: 76%
  • Flexible working hours: 64%
  • Having the final say: 40%
  • Putting a team together: 25%
  • Salary perks: 16%
  • Business travel: 9%
  • Other: 6%

(Respondents could select more than one answer).

Results by: age

It seemed likely that the favourite reasons for running your own company would differ significantly by age — however, this was not necessarily the case. According to the survey, being your own boss came out on top for all ages — although a huge 99% said it was their favourite part of owning a business in the 18-24 category!

Apparently, the younger age bracket (18-24-year-olds) were not as bothered about picking their own team as the older business owners. A meagre 8% stated that it’s what they enjoyed about running a company compared to 30% of 25-34-year olds, and 15% of 35-44-year olds. Each age group was in agreement that flexible working hours was their second-favourite thing about running their own business. However, the 18-24-year old business owners were clearly more enamoured with flexibility than the rest — 85% said they loved it the most while only 63% of 25-34-year olds and 43% of 35-44-year olds agreed.

46% of 18-24-year olds, 41% of 25-34-year olds and 36% of 35-44-year olds said getting to set the rules was their favourite thing about running a business. Also, when it comes to money, it’s clear that youth values financial gain more than their older survey-takers, with 23% of 18-24-year olds considering it their most-loved part of business-owning compared to 16% and 14% of 25-34-year olds and 35-44-year olds, respectively.

Clearly, cash and choosing your own working hours grow in importance the younger you are as a business owner.

Results by: gender

Interestingly, there’s little difference between results given by male and female business owners. More than three quarters of both men and women said that being your own boss was the best part of business-owning, while coming in at a close second was the flexible working hours (65% men and 61% women).

However, once we dig deeper, we can see opinions veering away from each other — most notably, when it comes to having the final say. Apparently, men value having the last word much more highly than women (49% men and 27% women). However, leadership is clearly important to both genders, as putting a team together appealed to 25% of men and 24% of women.

What about salary and business travel? Are these major parts of the job that both genders enjoy or care little about? It seems so. For men, only 16% said they loved the salary benefits, while an even lower 10% claimed to value business travel. Similarly, salary and travel achieved only 17% and 7% respectively among the women who were surveyed.

Remarkably, why we love business ownership is genderless — despite the difference in getting the final word.

Results by: location

Here, we have separated our respondents by country: England and Scotland — and it’s here that we see our first major difference of opinion. English business owners said that being your own boss was the aspect of running a company they liked the most (76%), while flexible working hours claimed the winning spot among Scottish survey-takers by quite a difference (89%). In fact, these two factors swapped places in the England and Scotland lists, with flexible hours taking second place in England (64%) and being your own boss claiming the silver medal in Scotland (67%).

What both nations agreed on, however, was the idea of selecting staff; with 25% of business owners in England stating that they enjoyed this aspect and 22% in Scotland. Salary benefits was another borderless bonus (18% in England and 11% in Scotland). Evidently, getting the last word in is more important for Scottish entrepreneurs than English (56% and 42%, respectively), while business travel trailed in low on both lists (9% in England and 11% in Scotland).

Clearly, work-life balance and free-time is important to Scottish owners, while the English prefer the position for its authority.

This article was researched and created by Cottages in Northumberland — a holiday lettings company based in England’s North East that provides cottages in Bamburgh and other locations across the region.

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