Older and wiser
The number of older people starting their own freelancing business has almost doubled over the past year, new research shows.
Online freelancing marketplace PeoplePerHour said that the number of people aged 55 or over registering on its website for the first time during 2012 rose 88 per cent – well ahead of any other demographic. Two-thirds of those registering said they were going it alone for the first time in their careers.
Xenios Thrasyvoulou, the founder and chief executive of PeoplePerHour, said he believed that it was now much easier to start a business venture.
“The barriers to starting a business have never been lower,” Mr Thrasyvoulou said. “This could be one of the main reasons we’re seeing such a big rise in the baby boomer generation choosing to take the self employment route later in life.”
PeoplePerHour also asked freelancers of all ages why they had chosen to move to self-employment. A third said they had been looking for a better balance between work and life, while a quarter said they wanted to pursue a hobby or passion. Just 12 per cent said financial freedom had been their primary motivation.
However, while self-employment clearly has lifestyle attractions for many freelancers, PeoplePerHour’s research also suggests that the current economic environment is making life difficult for some.
A third of new freelancers said making their business pay was “challenging” – and that the next six months would be a make or break period.
Nevertheless, nine in 10 freelancers said they were happy being their own boss, while more than two-thirds said they were unlikely to consider working for someone else ever again. And half of those who feared their businesses may not succeed said they would remain self-employed in the event of failure.
“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 help overcome many of the obstacles put in their way,” Mr Thrasyvoulou said. “The dream of being an entrepreneur is no longer just that.”
By David Prosser