SME owners happier now than when employed

Monday 8 February 2016

Although running your own small business can mean a lot of hard work and sacrifices in the early stages to make it a success, new research has suggested that it's worth it in the long run for many SME owners.

The research, commissioned by online print retailer instantprint, found that many self-employed people are happier running their own business than they were when they were employed by someone else.

To get further insight into what business owners in the UK are thinking about, the study asked them about their concerns and what makes them happy.

It found that more than half of business owners had seen their confidence grow since starting their business and over two-thirds (68 per cent) achieved a good work-life balance.

The research found that this was an area that affected many small business owners, with family time named as the biggest sacrifice, with 46 per cent of respondents admitting to struggling to see their family as much because of their job. The research suggests that achieving the right work-life balance is something that small business owners struggle with, with 45 per cent citing problems with being able to take holidays and 40 per cent saying income was an issue.

However, despite the drawbacks, nearly three-quarters of respondents (70 per cent) said they would never return to working for someone else. Although it can be stressful at times, running your own company, 71 per cent of SME owners were still happier in their current job, the research found.

There was also a divide between male and female business owners, with women working around ten hours less every week. Working hours could have an impact on health and stress levels, the study suggests, with more men experiencing problems in this area.

Almost 60 per cent of male business owners said they were stressed, compared to 43 per cent of women. This suggests that reducing the hours you work could improve your health and stress levels, while also boosting your work-life balance.

Of course, running your own business can be stressful at times, as the study highlights, though there are many more positive aspects. Sorting out expenses, tax returns and the finances of a business can be a considerable headache for self-employed people - no matter how big their company is. Seeking professional advice from an experienced accountancy firm can make this much easier, allowing you to dedicate more time to your business and achieve a better work-life balance.

Speaking about the report's findings, James Kinsella, co-founder of instantprint, said starting your own business can be "an emotional rollercoaster".

"What really stood out for me was that despite the challenges, stresses and late nights, the overwhelming majority of small business owners are happier now than when they were when working for someone else," Mr Kinsella added.

By Victoria McDonnell

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