The number of people between 18 and 24 either starting a small business or freelancing almost doubled in the past 12 months, according to our survey of micro and small business owners.
The figures revealed that the 18-24 year old demographic was the fastest growing age group on PeoplePerHour , with a 97% rise in new micro and small business owners registering on the website in the past year. The range of businesses they were running was wide and varied, but the top three sectors in terms of numbers were internet-based businesses, apps and retail.
As part of the survey, we asked small business owners across all age demographics how they felt about running a business, especially in the current climate. More than two thirds (70%) said it was not easy and that the next six months would be make or break. When asked what they would do if the business failed, almost half had the 'if at first you don't succeed' attitude, and said they would start another business.
It seems that being your own boss really does lift the spirit, however hard it gets or stressful it can be. Because, when business owners were asked how they felt about being their own boss, almost nine out of ten (87%), said they were happy or very happy with being in control of their own destiny. And more than half (54%) of those surveyed said they were never or unlikely to consider working for someone else again.
Asked why they started a business in the first place, a third (33%) of those business owners questioned said they started working for themselves for a better work life balance, more than a quarter (26%) wanted to pursue a hobby or passion, while 14% said it was because they were unable to find full-time employment.
On growing the business, when business owners were asked if they were looking to grow or consolidate over the next 12 months, the majority (78%) said they were keen to grow despite the adverse economic conditions.
The barriers to starting a business have never been lower, and this could be one of the main reasons we're seeing such a big rise in the younger generation choosing to take the self employment route earlier on in their careers.
The key to this growing trend of new small business owners, not just amongst 18-24 year olds, but across generations, is how easy and cheap it is now to set up a business and build a client base from scratch. The emergence of online platforms like PeoplePerHour that provide access to a global pool of potential customers, just a mouse click away, as well as providing easy access to experts, means starting your own business is not as daunting as it once was.
Research shows that despite the stresses and money worries that are often associated with starting and growing a business, the rewards and overall satisfaction that people get from being their own boss, clearly helps overcome many of the obstacles standing in their way. The dream of being an entrepreneur is no longer just that.