Loneliness and lack of control – report highlights key stresses facing UK entrepreneurs

POSTED: 28th March 2017
IN: Newsroom
  • Loneliness is a real issue amongst those who work for themselves, felt by (39%) almost two-fifths of the country’s self-employed
  • One in six (17%) of the UK’s self-employed say they do not feel in control on their life
  • But most (93%) still love being their own boss

There are over 4.6 million people currently self-employed in the UK*, and according to a new report from Aldermore, the specialist bank, nearly all (93%) enjoy being their own boss. However, whilst predominantly positive, the self-employed in the UK are currently struggling with feelings of loneliness and a loss of control which need to be addressed if more people are to successfully make the transition. 

Emotional impact

The report reveals that loneliness is currently a real problem amongst the self-employed, with over a third (39%) of Brits, saying they have felt lonely since becoming their own boss. This is most common amongst millennials (25 – 34 year olds), with over half (54%) saying they have experienced this feeling.

For many, becoming self-employed has been a positive experience, and 82% believe it has given them a greater sense of control over their own destiny. However, for some this is not the case, almost one in six (17%) say they feel less in control of their lives. Again, this is particularly felt amongst those aged 25 – 34 year olds (34%). Work-life balance is another issue for entrepreneuers, with over a quarter (28%) of self-employed, believing they have no time for themselves.

Pressure of workload

The report also identifies the most common hurdles experienced by business owners. Over half (55%) of those currently self-employed are concerned by the irregular income and irregular work (52%) they receive. In addition, more than four in in 10 (44%) self-employed respondents are concerned by  not being paid by clients on time and almost one in five (19%) have concerns around winning new business:



Concerns before becoming self employed

As actually experienced whilst self employed

Regular source of income



Irregular work



Inconsistent cash flow (i.e. money moving in and out of my business)



Getting new business in



Difficulties in paying bills (e.g. mortgage, utilities, etc.)



Failure of business



Not being paid by clients on time



Ability to secure a mortgage whilst being self-employed



Lack of free time



Difficulty 'keeping ahead' of competitors



Unmanageable volume of work



A lack of support in taking business 'to the next level'



Arranging business insurance



Funding business through the remortgage of personal property



Getting health and safety accreditations



The report*** has shown the key driver for those looking to take the leap is the prospect of earning more money (37%). Being able to improve work-life balance (35%) is also a top reason. Although the majority of self-employed respondents (71%) say being their own boss has improved their work-life balance, making the transition is also fraught with difficulties. This is why the bank hopes to make things easier for those taking the leap by offering flexible financial support.

Following a review of self-employed mortgage criteria, Aldermore has taken the decision to reduce the number of years accounts a self-employed borrower must provide when applying for a residential mortgage – from two years to one – and taking into consideration profit retained within the business when assessing affordability. These changes will provide applicants with additional flexibility and support, helping them to purchase a new home or remortgage their existing one.

Charles McDowell, Aldermore’s Commercial Director, Mortgages, says: “With four million British workers (17%) aspiring to be their own boss at some point during their working life and one in 10 (12%) aiming to make the transition in the next six months, it’s important they understand the realities. While we believe it is a brave and bold decision, and most love being their own boss, it’s apparent from our research being solely accountable can bring about feelings of isolation and stress. 

“The self-employed are integral to our economy and we believe that more needs to be done to support them, as well as to encourage more to make the transition. We want to do our part by trying to ensure some security when it comes to home-buying.

“All too often self-employed borrowers do not fit the  cookie cutter approach of many lenders and it can be a real challenge for the self-employed to receive the financial support they need to buy a home. This is why we are working to simplify the process of applying for a mortgage.”

Duncan Bannatyne Says: “There has to be more done to support entrepreneurial Britain and in particular the self-employed as a crucial growth area for the economy.  I know from experience that  building a business is a massive challenge that at times can be very lonely particularly as you adjust to an irregular income and an uncertain future. However, what cannot be underestimated is the sense of reward and fulfilment that can be achieved from building a business from the ground up and being master of your own destiny. With determination and dedication anyone can do it but the support network needs to be in place to help them achieve it.”

New Requirements:

  • Applications should be accompanied by, one year of accounts prepared by a suitably qualified accountant; accountant’s certificate, or SA302 and accompanying tax overview documents obtained from HMRC.
  • Unlike other lenders Aldermore will usually use the latest year's figures rather than an average of the last two years when making the assessment, if net profit is level or rising.


For further information, journalists can contact:

Rachael Snelling, Aldermore
Phone:          0208 1853 102
Email:           Rachael.Snelling@aldermore.co.uk

Rozie Green, Lansons
Phone:          0207 566 9724
Email:            rozieg@lansons.com

Notes to Editors:


**All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1003 self-employed adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26th - 29th January 2017.  The survey was carried out online.

***All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2088 adults (of which 1079 were employees). Fieldwork was undertaken between 24th - 25th January 2017.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

 For further information about Aldermore, please review our  Notes to Editors page

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