The age that most self-employed workers start their business

With work satisfaction at a record low, many young professionals are looking toward unconventional methods of obtaining economic stability.

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Freshbooks’ Third Annual Self-Employment in America report has officially been made public. This year’s data yields some promising indications for the future of aspiring entrepreneurs.

With work satisfaction at a record low, many young professionals are looking toward unconventional methods of obtaining economic stability.  Even if some ventures prove to be more successful than others, 63% of the 4,000 respondents reviewed in Freshbook’s survey said that money is much less important than the quality of life. Moreover, 59% of that same pool of self-employed Americans, predict they will continue to work after the age of 65 merely because they enjoy the work they’re doing so much.


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As far as the reason is concerned, time management seems to be the most consistently cited factor.  Thirty-nine percent of respondents claimed that they work considerably fewer hours since becoming self-employed even though they feel much more productive.

Twenty-nine percent said their career independence caused them to travel more frequently with 42% saying self-employment forced them out of their comfort zones by making them rely more on their creative instincts to make decisions.

“Transitioning from traditional to self-employment has given millions of Americans the opportunity to not only do different work but also to work differently. The analysis shows that working differently—including working irregular or odd hours, traveling more, and spending more time outdoors— is linked with higher career satisfaction,” explain the authors of the recent survey.

What does the average industrialist look like in 2019?

Freshbooks reports that Americans are starting their own businesses younger and younger.  In their first yearly self-employment review, the average Ameican was found to be about 38 when starting their own business. Two years later professionals are opting for independence in their careers at about 34.  The report states, “Where two years ago the ‘typical’ self-employed professional was a tail-end Baby Boomer, we’re fast approaching the point where Millennials become the dominant generation.”

Unfortunately, experience seems to have a direct impact on mean revenue. As the average age of American business owners has decreased so has net earnings for said businesses. It should be noted that this has not established any clear foil to owner satisfaction.

As previously stated, many self-employed workers aren’t primarily incentivized by money. Independence and time management benefits associated with owning a business means aspiring moguls are at ease even though they’re not making as much as they perhaps could be if they were employed by a frim.

Maybe degrees don’t matter all that much

A decline in prior experience has taken many forms. Not only are Americans diving into self-employment earlier in life, more and more also doing so without degrees. Back in 2017, 64% of respondents reported having degrees before the inception of their business venture. This statistic decreased to 60% in 2018. This year Freshbook’s annual survey reports that only 56% of participants had degrees before considering self-employment seriously.

The self-employed Americans that found some success in their enterprises cited the qualities they believed helped them the most along the way in Freshbook’s recent study. Communication was occasioned the most frequently (54%) with problem-solving skills following close behind. Check out the full list of factors mentioned in the report, below:

  1. Communication (54%)
  2. Problem Solving (53%)
  3. Time Management (48%)
  4. Adaptability (39%)
  5. Creativity (26%)
  6. Technology Acumen (18%)
  7. Managing People  (14%)
  8. Analytic Skills (12%)
  9. Negotiation (11%
  10. Persuasion (6%)

The report additionally identifies the factors that keep so many Americans from taking that first step toward self-employment.  The authors demarcate these explanations with two terms: soft Barriers and hard barriers.


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CW Headley|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com.