New research has busted some big myths about what it’s like to be self-employed in Britain, including how stressed they are compared to company workers.

It’s hard to compare being self-employed with being employed by a company.

The difficulties, conveniences, downsides and upsides can be completely different for each group. A company worker could look at a self-employed worker and see a free agent who answers to no one.

At the same time, a self-employed worker could look at a company worker and see a huge safety net with benefits galore. Or they could look at each other and see their own nightmare scenario – it’s a toss up!

Despite being incomparable it’s been a common held truth that people who work for themselves are far more stressed than their company worker counterparts.

Makes sense right? When you work for yourself you’re running the show, paying the bills and taking the bullet when anything goes wrong. However, it looks like we got it completely wrong – along with quite a few other misconceptions.

AXA Business has published survey that turns the tables on a lot of notions about being self-employed in Britain. Five big myths have been busted, including the belief that it’s more stressful to work for yourself. Check out the myths below:

FICTION 1: It’s more stressful being your own boss

78% of self-employed workers describe themselves as being stressed. Sounds high right? Not when you compare it to 9/10 company workers saying the same thing! 61% of company workers say their stress comes from work life, which is also much higher than the self-employed (42%).

The numbers for mental health concerns are even more worrying. While 11% of ‘own bosses’ said they had concerns about their own mental health, the rate for company workers was nearly a third at 30%.

FICTION 2: Self-employment is always more precarious

What about long-term job security? Just under half of self-employed workers said they worry about business stability. Compare that to the two thirds of company employees who worry about job security.

In the same vein, 83% of ‘own bosses’ felt their jobs were safe from automation – double that of surveyed company workers.

FICTION 3: You have to be a workaholic to run a business

This one is a mixed bag. While only 22% of self-employed people said they worked overly long hours (half that of company workers), two thirds also said they always take calls and emails from customers outside normal working hours.

FICTIONS 4 and 5: Self-employment is a poverty trap / a road to riches

It’s always tempting to go for either extreme in this case. But like most myths, the truth is in the middle of the road.

A full-time self-employed person earns £33k£6k more than the average employee. But that doesn’t mean that extremes don’t exist. 1/10 of surveyed self-employed people earn below £11k per year from their business, while 4% hit the £100,000 mark!

 

So there you have it. Are there any other myths about being self-employed you think need to be debunked?

 

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