New research from Barclays has revealed the rollercoaster of emotions Britain’s army of homepreneurs experience while running their business and the support they need to grow.
Two in five (38 per cent*) of UK businesses are now home-based, with the number steadily increasing by three per cent over the last five years.
The new study explores the way home-based business owners feel when they work from home, and reveals the perks of the trend, with 68 per cent surveyed saying they feel happy and a further three in five (62 per cent) experiencing excitement while running their business at home. Over half (59 per cent) said they are more efficient working alone without distractions from others, and two in ten (20 per cent) admitted to sometimes wearing their pyjamas while working.
However, over a third (37 per cent*) of homepreneurs surveyed also admitted to experiencing feelings of loneliness while working from home for their business. Almost two-thirds (64%) attributed these emotions to not having colleagues around to discuss ideas with, and around half (49%) said these emotions were a consequence of not having people around for support when things get stressful. Almost a fifth of respondents (17 per cent) said they actively phoned their friends and family during the day to combat isolation.
When homepreneurs were asked about the support needed to grow their business, three in ten (30 per cent) said they want to work alongside more like-minded businesses, and over a quarter (27 per cent) said they would like to collaborate with more people who can help grow their business.
Matthew Addison is the CEO of fintech start-up, StepLadder, which helps first-time buyers get on the housing ladder. He said: “I set up StepLadder in November 2015 on my own to help first time buyers save for their deposits faster and more easily. In the early days, I found that I could be more productive when working in different physical spaces. For example, visiting cafes to get work done got me out the house, and helped me fend off feelings of loneliness as I was interacting with people.
“It wasn’t long before Peter Rushton, my co-founder, joined me in setting up the business. Ideas are realised quicker when challenges are shared and results celebrated, and Peter’s support was crucial in helping to get StepLadder officially off the ground.
“Together we moved into Barclays Rise in 2017, which gave us a space away from home to meet clients and work in a different environment. Our productivity shot through the roof as we were in a professional working environment that enabled us to meet more people and expand our network.”
Barclays has a UK-wide network of small business managers dedicated to helping entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey. In addition, Barclays has a number of start-up hubs, known as Eagle Labs, situated across the UK for entrepreneurs to work collaboratively, network and access advice from experts. Those in the fintech space can also join Rise, the Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars, which offers co-working space in central London.
Darren Farnell, Head of Small Business, Barclays Business Banking, said: “It’s great news for the UK economy that the number of home-based businesses is rising steadily. There are clear benefits to working from home, with entrepreneurs saying that alongside the joy of being their own boss, they’re happy and productive.
“However, running a business from home does not come without its challenges. Having a support network is key, with over a quarter saying they want to work alongside more like-minded businesses and collaborate with people who can help them grow their business.
“A supportive shoulder, whether that’s a friend who they can run ideas past, or a business manager dedicated to helping them at every point on their journey, from start-up through to scale, is crucial to business growth.”
Matthew Addison’s top tips for homepreneurs looking to grow their business:
Consider different spaces:
You’re most productive when using multiple spaces, from the kitchen table to a coffee shop. Firstly, you’re more motivated to finish the job in hand when you’ve made the effort to go somewhere specifically to do it. Secondly, changing your environment can shift your mindset, offering a more positive outlook when you’re around different people.
Make the most of the connections you have. Of course, this could involve speaking with a marketing or banking expert, but sometimes it can be just as useful to sit down with a friend over a pint or coffee. Words of encouragement can be just as important as practical advice.
Consider partnering with a co-founder:
Making the decision to look for a co-founder was critical to the success of StepLadder. They offer another perspective, and it means the workload is shared, while company is essential when brainstorming and coming up with creative ideas. In some cases, a partnership can be very beneficial when you have different skill sets.
Move into a co-working space:
Once you are up and running, consider joining a co-working space. These provide a collaborative environment for fast-growing start-ups and offer a creative environment that’ll greatly expand entrepreneurs’ professional networks.