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Starting a side-hustle leading route to starting a business in the UK, data reveals

Starting a side-hustle is the leading route to starting a business in the UK, according to new data, which found more than a third of small businesses (39%) now start-up this way. 

The research – which recently polled over one thousand small business owners – found that over two thirds (46%) have been so successful in growing their side ventures that they have been able to quit their jobs and run their businesses full time. 

As the country prepares to go to the polls, Small Business Britain and eBay are calling on the next Government to boost support for entrepreneurs, particularly the millions running side-hustles with the potential to power the UK’s future economic growth. 

Both organisations are supporting the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) manifesto call for the next government to double the trading allowance for side hustle, to help a third of small business owners start up this way. 

The research found that concerns around taxation negatively affect a quarter of entrepreneurs, with the biggest challenge rising costs of goods, services, and energy, cited by over half (56%) of business owners, alongside the need to generate more sales and leads (55%).

Michelle Ovens CBE, founder of Small Business Britain added:“Starting a side-hustle has become a significant pathway for many aspiring entrepreneurs in the UK. It is incredibly encouraging that half of these ventures have grown enough for founders to go full-time.

“As we approach a pivotal election, the next Government must recognise the immense potential of side-hustles. By doubling the trading allowance, we can increasingly support these entrepreneurs, who are not only pursuing their passions but also driving our nation’s future economic growth.” 

While one in five business owners (22%) said they started their side hustle to make extra cash, the most popular reason is to pursue a passion (43) or create more work-life balance (43%). 

The freedom of running a business is listed as the top advantage for business owners with 66% benefiting from greater flexibility, 63% enjoying being more creative and innovative and 65% boosting their skills. Yet 40% also underlined that stress and exhaustion is a key challenge. 

For example, Joiner Joseph Holman originally started up his Luton-based restoration business, Green Doors, in 2014 as a side hustle after spotting a door in a skip that he could repair. Since then, he has significantly expanded his business. 

Joseph said: “Having dyslexia and ADHD allows me to see opportunities that others might miss, such as salvaging items that deserve a second chance. I began my entrepreneurial journey at the age of twelve on eBay, which provided me with a great platform to learn the ins and outs of running a business. This experience helped shape my current company, which now employs more than twenty-five people.”

An eBay spokesperson added: “Small businesses are the beating heart of eBay, and the UK economy. Doubling the trading allowance is one such way the next Government can put its faith and support in the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.” 

As part of its ‘Getting Started and Growing’ partnership, Small Business Britain and eBay are also running a series of online and in-person events. This will include an informative networking event at eBay HQ in London on 2 July 2024 that small firms can sign up for here.

Featured Image Credit: Small Business Britain

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