• Being your own boss is best, study finds

    May 10th 2018. Posted in Business Insurance

    • AXA survey contrasts expectations of people who want to go self-employed with the reality
    • 82 per cent of self-employed people agree that life improves after ditching the boss
    • Only 16 per cent say their clients are more stressful to deal with than their old bosses

    Ditching the boss is the top reason people want to become self-employed, according to a survey by AXA Business Insurance*. Seventy-eight per cent of people who aim to go freelance in the next year named ‘being their own boss’ the top motivation: by comparison, just 46 per cent seek more money and 66 per cent – a better work-life balance. AXA estimates almost seven million people are poised to become self-employed in the UK.

    But will quitting the hierarchy make you happier? In a separate survey** by AXA, 82 per cent of self-employed people said life was indeed ‘much improved’ after going it alone. Just seven per cent said they found life harder as their own boss.

    Mental wellbeing was a particular area of improvement: six in ten employees suffer from work-related stress, compared to four in ten people working for themselves. People in office-based occupations noted the biggest reduction in stress after quitting their workplace. The gap was narrower for more hands-on trades, one in five builders said the client is a tougher task-master than the boss.

    Overall, just 16 per cent of self-employed people say their clients are more ‘difficult’ to deal with than their old bosses. They do prove more intrusive though: two thirds of freelancers said their clients show no respect for ‘working hours’, expecting emails and calls answered in the evenings, during holidays and weekends.

    Meanwhile, the happiest age to become self-employed is in the late thirties and early forties. An overwhelming 93 per cent of people in this age group say their life has improved as a result.

    But, the romance does lessen as the business itself ages: people in business longer than five years are twice as likely to miss their old workplaces as recent startups.

    While many dream of starting a business, summoning up sufficient self-belief is the biggest barrier. When people were asked what is stopping them from starting up, half put it down to lack of self-confidence rather than financial or practical considerations.

    Some indicated they are locked in a vicious cycle: 36 per cent said their current employment has damaged their self-confidence, making it harder to leave and start their business. Others – 30 per cent – traced their lower self-esteem back to their school days (either ‘bullies’, ‘teachers’ or ‘classmates’) and 22 per cent quoted poor mental health.

    Best jobs for being your own boss (by those rating life ‘much improved’)  

    1. Architect

    2. Surveyor

    3. Engineer

    4. Chef

    5. IT consultant

    6. Agricultural trades

    7. Graphic designer

    8. Accountant

    9. Joiner

    10. Marketing consultant

    “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 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.” - Gareth Howell, Managing Director, AXA Insurance.

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    Notes for Editors 

    *1000 people who want to go self-employed were surveyed by AXA Business Insurance in March 2018. They were taken from a sample of 8,500 people who were interviewed on their work intentions in the coming year.

    **500 self-employed people were surveyed by AXA Business Insurance in April 2018.

    Legal Notes 

    AXA Business Insurance

    AXA Business Insurance is part of AXA Insurance UK plc, which belongs to the AXA group of companies. With us, you choose the business insurance that's right for you. We offer public liability, employers' liability and professional indemnity insurance online to start ups, sole traders, self-employed people and small businesses. In addition we offer van insurance and landlord insurance. AXA Business Insurance also runs Business Guardian Angel which provides resources to help protect and grow small businesses.

    You can follow AXA Business Insurance on Twitter @AXAbizteam, for business insurance help, and @AXABizAngel, for the latest business news. You'll also find AXA Business Insurance on Google+ and Facebook - and you can watch expert guides and business case studies on the AXA Business Insurance YouTube channel.

    About AXA

    The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with more than 161,000 employees serving 103 million clients in 59 countries. In 2014, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 92.0 billion and IFRS underlying earnings to Euro 5.1 billion. AXA had Euro 1,277 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2014. In 2015 Interbrand ranked AXA the 1st insurance brand worldwide for the 7th consecutive year.

    In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Wealth, AXA Commercial Lines and Personal Intermediary, AXA Personal Direct and Partnerships, AXA PPP healthcare, AXA Ireland and an independent distribution business Bluefin. AXA employs over 12,000 staff in the UK.

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