Could post-lockdown recession see a UK self-employed boom

Starting a business during an economic downturn may be daunting - but it can be done!

Could post-lockdown recession see a UK self-employed boom

If previous recessions are anything to go by, the post-COVID landscape is likely to see a spike in people starting their own enterprises – be they one-person microbusinesses or something more ambitious. Just ask the likes of General Motors, Burger King, CNN, Uber and Airbnb.

I’m no stranger to the concept. I set up my previous business, Pure360, in the midst of a recession, and funnily enough, I started Crunch 10 years ago during another financial crisis too. 

Starting a business during the Credit Crunch

When the Credit Crunch hit in 2008, great talent was being made redundant left, right, and centre. Many of these folks couldn’t find new employment, were fed up of marching to the beat of someone else’s drum, or wanted to bet on themselves and do something more fulfilling. 

The stats don’t lie: 367,000 more people in the UK were self-employed in 2012 compared with 2008 when the crisis began – a rise of 10%

With self-employment rising so rapidly, I knew this was the perfect time to launch Crunch to help people make a living from doing what they love, minus the burden of navigating the jargon of accounting and filing taxes on their own.

I’d had my share of bad experiences with accountants over the years, and so I wanted to create a completely new model – combining time and money-saving online accountancy software, with the support and expertise of an expert accountant.

Most importantly, I wanted to remove barriers for entry into the world of running a business. Crunch was born with the vision that everyone can start a business, and that the tools and advice to help them do so should be available to everybody.

Now, over a decade later we find ourselves on the cusp of another period of economic hardship. And like before, despite the understandable doom and gloom, the forecast for many aspiring business owners is one of hope and optimism.

The COVID-19 self-employment boom

Knowing that one in twenty Britons have lost a job thanks to COVID-19, and that one in three are fearful for their future – it didn’t come as a surprise to discover many thousands of workers across the UK used the recent lockdown months to investigate the option of switching to self-employment.

During the lockdown period of March-July this year, has seen an astonishing 115% spike in web traffic to our ‘Becoming Self-Employed’ Knowledge section which hosts our popular jargon-free articles, guides and videos, compared to the same period in 2019.

With this influx of people looking to start a business, as well as many existing business owners currently struggling for survival from the pandemic, we wanted to once again help as best we could.

After much discussion, we decided that users can now use our new entry-level accounting software, Crunch Zero for the price of zero pounds.

Now, proudly, we can provide a version of our software for people who don’t yet have a budget for managing their accounting – and it’s upgradeable, meaning that in these challenging times, we’re there for the self-employed every step of the way.

We can’t wait to see what brilliant ideas start to take form from this fresh wave of business owners.

Pro business tips

Looking to start your own business in the near future? Here’s a few words of advice:

Get yourself a solid business plan – ever heard the saying by failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail?

Choose the right business structure – sole trader or limited company. There are pros and cons to both ways – so do your homework!

There’s no point being the world’s best-kept secret – get out there and tell people what you do. The Facebook group of our self-employed community Crunch Chorus is a great place to start connecting with your peers.

Finally, remember that you’re not going to be an expert in everything – so get the right support when you need it. Getting advice from a good accountant and keeping your finances organised will save you time and money – and keep you on the right side of HMRC!

Darren Fell
Darren Fell

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