• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

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Why Brits Love Owning Their Own Businesses

Being your own boss is the ultimate dream for many people across the UK. However, launching a company can cause financial stress and operational worries that you wouldn’t have as an employee. According to business statistics compiled by House of Commons Library, there were 5.5 million private sector businesses in the UK by the end of 2016, up 2% from 2015.

So, why is working for yourself a growing trend in the UK? To find out, check out these survey results and see how gender, age and location can affect how we feel about running our own companies…

Which of the following things do you love the most about being a business owner?

  • 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%


Across the board, male and female business owners agreed on all aspects of entrepreneurship. 76% of both men and women said that being your own boss was the part of business-owning they loved the most, while coming in at a close second was the flexible working hours (65% men and 61% women).

According to these results, men also appear to value having the last word much more highly than women, with having the final say being a major attribute for 49% of men but only 27% of women.  However, leadership is clearly important to both genders, as putting a team together appealed to 25% of men and 24% of women.

If you thought having the freedom of travelling for business and reaping great financial rewards were leading factors of business-owning, this survey suggests you’re mistaken. 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% among the females surveyed.

Despite the difference in getting the final word, it seems that what we love most about running our own workplaces is genderless.


After splitting our survey-takers into genders, we then divided everyone into age brackets: 18-24-year olds, 25-34-year olds and 35-44-year olds. Similar to the gender-based results, 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!

It also appears that 18-24-year-olds aren’t as concerned with their staff as the other age brackets, with only 8% saying it’s what they loved about entrepreneurship 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.

Having the final say ranks third for all ages, too. Although, it appears that that this is more important the younger you are — 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 the factor of running your own business that they liked the most. 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.

While all respondents agreed in the ranking of being you own boss, flexible hours and having the final say, it’s evident that money and flexibility are greater bonuses of the job the younger you are.


Finally, our respondents were separated by country: England and Scotland. Interestingly, it’s within this comparison that we see our first top-place dispute. 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%).

However, a similar number of respondents on both sides of the border rated putting a team together as a great part of business-owning (25% in England and 22% in Scotland), as well as salary benefits (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).

Essentially these results are relatively similar. However, it’s suggestable that Scottish owners value their work-life balance and free-time more than English businesspeople, who evidently much prefer their job for its authority.


If these results are anything to go by, becoming your own employer and starting a new business could be the life-change you’ve been searching for.


This article was created by Cottages in Northumberland, a holiday lettings agency based in the North East of England that provides cottages in Bamburgh and multiple locations across the region. As part of this survey, respondents could select more than one answer and the results were divided by age, gender and location.