Small business owners share their struggles of being their own boss

An average of nine months worth of weekends were given up by small business owners when starting up, according to study.

A poll of 500 people who have their own companies revealed the highs and lows of being their own boss, with 27 percent claiming their free time was a thing of the past when in the building phase at the beginning of their journey.

Three in 10 said their 9-5 was something they had to wave goodbye to, while financial security (28 percent) and family (16 percent) were other things they had to sacrifice.

A quarter say they had to work more than 12 hours during the average day when starting out, and functioned on six hours of sleep a night.

While 15 percent missed out on big occasions with their loved ones, such as birthdays and anniversaries.

And 12 percent of parents had to miss their children’s parents’ evening and sports days.

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

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

And 43 percent are still working more than a forty hour week.

Despite this, 83 percent 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.

“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.”

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

And more than three quarters (79 percent) 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 percent), customers spending less due to the cost of living crisis (26 percent) and having to take on numerous roles (20 percent).

If they were to do it all again, they’d advise their younger self to stay motivated (35 percent) and focused (32 percent), as well as seeking advice from experts (24 percent) and keeping on top of admin (23 percent).

Upon reflection many would set small, but achievable goals (24 percent) and limit working excessively long days (20 percent), with 38 percent looking to prioritise work-life balance.

While it took as little as two years for 27 percent 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 percent), earn more (35 percent) and pursue a passion (26 percent).

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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