The pros and cons of being self-employed were analysed by NatWest's Nick Howe at today's Kick Start Summer Business Academy event, hosted by B Consultancy in London.
Howe opened his talk with a warning - the UK can be a relatively easy place to set up a new business but, at current rates, it can be difficult to stay afloat for even five years.
616k new businesses launched in 2015. At current rates, 1 in 5 will survive until 2020, says Nick Howe of NatWest #learnhelpgrow— SME_Reporter (@LetitiaBooty) July 20, 2016
The first thing to do when thinking of starting a business is to ensure that the lifestyle is right for you.
Number 1 reason people choose to be employed rather than self employed is a stable income #jobsecurity— SME_Reporter (@LetitiaBooty) July 20, 2016
Of course, there are plenty of reasons SME owners and the self-employed turn their backs on working for other people or organisations:
Working for an organisation can make some frustrated when they think they know a better way of running the show! #learn helpless— SME_Reporter (@LetitiaBooty) July 20, 2016
There are of course downsides to being self-emplyed as well:
Are you ready to be self-employed?
So with this in mind, you have to make sure that you have the support you need before you get started.One example Howe gave was of a florist whose husband's birthday falls on 13 February.
Naturally, this is prime time for flowers, and any florist who isn't up until midnight the day before Valentine's Day is not making the most of their business. This particular florist's husband was prepared to celebrate his birthday every year a week later than his birthday, because he supported his wife's passion.
Years down the line, the business is still going strong. It may sound obvious, but especially when your new business is starting out you may be forced to work unsociable hours, and the backing of your nearest and dearest is key.
Nick Howe: an SME florist's husband celebrates his bday on 13 Feb..prime flower season! Get support from nearest and dearest #learnhelpgrow— SME_Reporter (@LetitiaBooty) July 20, 2016
You also need to be prepared to step outside your comfort zone...
"You need to be comfortable being uncomfortable...go out and talk to strangers" - Nick Howe, NatWest to SMEs. #learnhelpgrow— SME_Reporter (@LetitiaBooty) July 20, 2016
In the end, it could all be worth it...
Upsides to being #selfemployed - passion for your job, freedom, flexibility, being your own boss and implementing your own ideas— SME_Reporter (@LetitiaBooty) July 20, 2016