Lose The 9-5; Gain the 8-10

The survey, commissioned by tech investment company BGF Ventures and conducted by market research company Streetbees, showed that long hours are a particular problem.Starting Your Own Business

  • 26% of founders said they worked between 50 and 59 hours
  • Another 26% said they worked over 60 hours – including 7% who claimed to work more than 80 hours a week.

70% of respondents said that starting their own business was much more work than being an employee and 53% admitted they never ‘switch off’.

Unsurprisingly, then, stress was a problem for many respondents. 41% said they felt stressed every day and 33% said they were stressed a couple of times a week. Only 7% claimed to never feel stressed.

As to the causes of that stress and worry, 50% said they worried about cash flow, while 49% were concerned about funding their business. 29% admitted they worried about their own management skills, with 25% concerned about recruiting skilled staff for their company and 21% worried about rising costs.

The Personal Cost

The stress and financial costs of founding and running a business, plus the long hours it involves, seem bound to put strain on other areas of founders’ lives – and this was borne out by the survey. When asked what areas of their personal lives had been negatively impacted by founding a business:

  • 40% said personal finances
  • 34% named their social life
  • 31% admitted their relationships and family life had suffered
  • 27% felt it had affected their mental health
  • 23% believed their physical health had suffered
  • 15% admitted it had affected their alcohol consumption
  • 12% said it had affected their sex life.

 Not All Bad News?

Findings like this are perhaps enough to make us question why anyone would choose to start up a business at all, particularly by themselves. However, the survey found that most respondents were surprisingly positive about the experience. 76% even said they would do it again! 23% said they would ‘maybe’ consider starting a business again, and only 1% said never again.

95% felt that running their own business was far more rewarding than working for an employer. Just over half felt that it had made them more fulfilled, while 52% said the move had made them happier. Some respondents felt it had been good for their health, too, with 35% saying that starting a business had a positive effect on their mental health and 20%, on their physical health.

Speaking about the survey results, Harry Briggs, partner at BGF Ventures, said: “Starting your own business is a huge commitment and this survey shows that it can really take a toll on people’s lives, affecting their family life, their financial status and their health, to some extent.

“Entrepreneurs need to be resilient and be able to learn from their experiences, but they also need wiser heads to help guide them if they are to make a success of their business idea. Investors can be as much a part of the problem as the solution and at BGF Ventures we work closely with our founders to make sure that the needs of the business are balanced with their own needs as managers and leaders.”