Starting up in 2017? Expect some highs, plan for the lows

British people look set to start up businesses at a record-breaking pace in 2017 – figures are expected to exceed more than 2,000 per day. AXA’s latest study finds the first year can be an emotional rollercoaster, but also offers reassurance to anyone facing teething problems with a new business.

16 January 2017

Posted in Product

While the financial strains of starting a business are well documented, AXA’s latest survey of entrepreneurs found that the decision can throw up family and emotional difficulties too. Eight in ten of those surveyed said they’d seriously considered quitting at some point in their first year as a result.

Almost a third said the low had come in the form of rows with partners over time or money spent on the business, or finding juggling family and business harder than expected. Women are three times more likely than men to say family pressures discouraged them in the early days.

Thirty seven per cent of entrepreneurs said they’d suffered loneliness or self-doubt so crippling, they’d almost given up. For 14 per cent, a discouraging remark from a contact or loved one had triggered doubts in their ability to run a business.

The good news is that for the vast majority, 87 per cent, these ‘startup blues’ are temporary, with only 13 per cent saying they are still struggling. Seventy-eight per cent of those with businesses over a year old say their family lives have ultimately improved as a result of becoming self-employed, and 83 per cent describe their business as a success.

Three golden rules for startup happiness

When asked how they’d overcome their lowest point, three golden rules emerged from the interviews with entrepreneurs.

Schedule breaks, mealtimes and family time with the same priority as business appointments.

“I had to discipline myself to create a better balance, I now ‘walk to work’ for at least half an hour in the morning, stop for meals religiously and stop circa 18.00 unless there is a real, and I mean real, need to continue.”

Talk to other business owners in your field.

“I joined web communities to get advice from people who run cake businesses too. They weren’t in my area so didn’t see me as a rival, and offered a lot of advice and reassurance”.

Remember you started out because you are good at something

“At 15, I was told I was an academic failure and I’d never amount to anything followed by periods on the streets and moving from one low-skilled job to another. The day I started a business was the day I made a decision: I do have talents, I do have something to offer and the best is yet to come!”

What you can expect in your first year of business?

How long to turn a profit: six to nine months on average

What people live on in the meantime:

  • Savings - 37%
  • Redundancy pay - 11%
  • Day job - 22%
  • Partner’s income - 21%
  • State benefits - 11%

Average take-home pay in first two years: £804 per month.

Average take-home pay by end of fifth year: £1,664 per month.

Darrell Sansom, Managing Director, AXA Business Insurance

The emotional rollercoaster of starting your own business is rarely talked about. But it is very common for you or people close to you to lose faith at some point when your business is in its infancy. Long hours and financial uncertainty affect everyone in the family, so that’s definitely something to plan and prepare for just as much as having a sound business plan. Keep the faith: our research shows that those who persevere do reap the rewards of doing something that truly inspires them every day and getting a good work-life balance too.

Darrell Sansom, Managing Director at AXA Business Insurance