Guiding you to a better future

For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Professionals driving self-employment growth

20 March 2018

Professionals driving self-employment growthA new report reveals that the recent growth in self-employment has been driven by highly skilled freelancers not the gig economy.

The research by freelancer body IPSE and Kingston University has found that the number of highly skilled freelancers has risen by 46% since 2008 to two million. Overall self-employment growth has increased by 34% to 4.8 million since 2008.

In 2017, highly skilled freelancers accounted for 46% of all solo self-employed people (without employees). The contribution of freelancers and the solo self-employed to the UK economy increased in 2017 to £271bn - up from £255bn in 2016. Highly skilled freelancers contributed at least £125bn to the economy in 2017 - up from £119bn in 2016.

The key findings of the report are:

  • 14% of the total UK workforce is now self-employed (4.8 million);
  • 4.4 million of these have no employees;
  • The average age of freelancers is 47;
  • Freelancers are 43% female and 57% male (35% to 65% for the solo self-employed);
  • The number of female freelancers has grown by 67% since 2008, compared to 33% for male freelancers;
  • The highest proportion of freelancers (24%) are in South East England, followed by London (20%) and South West England (10%);
  • The largest number of freelancers (320,000) work in artistic, literary and media occupations, followed by managers and proprietors in other services (236,000), functional managers and directors (135,000) and teaching and education professionals (134,000).

Chris Bryce, IPSE ceo, said: "The report goes a long way to dispelling the myth that activity in the self-employment sector is occurring mainly in the platform or gig economies, when the real growth is in highly skilled freelancer occupations.

"The rise of self-employed working women - especially freelance mothers - demonstrates that self-employment is a viable way to increase workforce participation. People value flexibility, which is one reason why more people than ever before are moving into freelancing and taking the opportunity to fit their work around their lives. And right now, the Government must do all it can to enable and protect freelancers and the self-employed - both in the Brexit negotiations and beyond."

News type:

Stay up-to-date with business advice and news

Sign up to this lively and colourful newsletter for new and more established small businesses.

Contact us

Make an enquiry