Starting a business on the side a popular choice in UK

Would-be entrepreneurs seek to mitigate the risk of going it alone by launching their new company while still in employment, research finds.

Some 21 per cent of start-ups launched in the last 12 months began this way, according to a study of 500 small businesses by alldayPA.

This mirrors a growing trend for UK workers having second jobs to boost income. HMRC reports 1.2 million have official second jobs, up from 1.05 million in 2007.

Of these, 450,000 are self-employed second jobbers running their own business on the side – an increase of 40 per cent from 2006.

Ambitious entrepreneurs use technologies like smartphones with multiple email accounts or cloud hosting to enable them to subtly send emails and carry out basic tasks while at their main job.

Reuben Singh, CEO of alldayPA, says, ‘Many double job start-ups want to ensure customers are dealt with immediately, and are provided with answers to common questions, or emailed basic information.’

The study reveals the most common double job entrepreneurs are men between 25 and 34 years old.

The typical sectors where people launch businesses are digital services such as website design, search engine marketing (18 per cent of double job start-ups), PR and marketing (12 per cent), design (11 per cent) and HR (5 per cent).

Singh adds that ambitious entrepreneurs have been quick to embrace technology and services to help manage the transition from employment to running their own business.

‘This is a trend the government should be reacting to by cutting red tape for second job start-ups and simplifying the tax structure to help balance PAYE with self-employment and dividend payments.

‘Such businesses may start small, but they be major sources of employment and income, for years to come.’

Further reading on setting up a business

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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