Small business owners share the best and worst parts of becoming their own boss

The average small business owner gave up their weekends for nine months when starting up.

A poll of 500 people who have set up their own company revealed the highs and lows of owning a business with 27 per cent claiming waving goodbye to their free time was the biggest sacrifice they had to make.

Others feel they gave up working a normal 9-5 (30 per cent), financial security (28 per cent) and family time (16 per cent). A quarter claim to have worked more than 12 hours during the average day when first setting up and functioned on six hours sleep a night, while 15 per cent missed out on big family events such as birthdays and anniversaries and 12 per cent of parents weren’t able to attend the likes of parents evening or sports day. 

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The research was commissioned by Smart Energy GB and found almost two thirds (64 per cent) believe they took on too many roles when they started out with their business. 

Almost all respondents (98 per cent) work in the evening and at weekends, with catching up on admin (36 per cent), going through accounts (32 per cent),  posting on social media (30 per cent) and managing utilities bills (22 per cent) regularly on their out of hours to-do lists.

And 43 per cent are still working more than a 40-hour week. Despite this, 83 per cent agreed the hard work was worth it in the end.

Victoria Bacon, director at Smart Energy GB, said: “The research shows just how much time and unseen hours often go in to setting up and then running a small business. Even making small changes, like getting a smart meter,  can help take one thing off a business owner’s to-do list, as it measures energy usage in near real-time, putting an end to manual meter readings and estimated bills.  

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“A smart meter can also help a business owner track their energy usage and costs over time, which can help to control cashflow and budgets.”


Perks of owning your own business

The perks of being their own boss (46 per cent), loving the challenge (28 per cent) and making their family proud (23 per cent) kept them going through the difficult times.  

And more than three quarters (79 per cent) said opening their doors for the first time was their proudest career moment.

The study also found the biggest challenges as a business owner were the increased running costs (28 per cent), customers spending less due to the cost of living crisis (26 per cent) and having to take on numerous roles (20 per cent).

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If they were to do it all again, they’d advise their younger self to stay motivated (35 per cent) and focused (32 per cent), as well as seeking advice from experts (24 per cent) and keeping on top of admin (23 per cent). Upon reflection many would set small, but achievable goals (24 per cent) and limit working excessively long days (20 per cent), with 38 per cent looking to prioritise work-life balance.

It took as little as two years for 27 per cent to consider their new company a ‘success’, according to the OnePoll stats.

The main motivators for starting out were to be their own boss (42 per cent), earn more (35 per cent) and pursue a passion (26 per cent).

Victoria Bacon added: “We can see from our research the number of tasks and responsibilities small business owners have to juggle, which, for many of them, means investing a lot of hours that can spill over into their home lives. It is good to see that our research shows that despite the hard work, most small business owners appreciate the rewards too.”

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