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42% dream of becoming self-employed, research shows

More than two-fifths of people dream of one day becoming their own boss but only one in 20 are planning to make this a reality, a report has found.

Some 42% of people of working age who are not currently self-employed aspire to set up on their own at some point, according to the Centre for the Modern Family, a think tank set up by Scottish Widows.

However, only 5% of those surveyed are planning to become self-employed as soon as they can.

The research found that while many people wanted the flexibility of being self-employed, many also did not want the financial responsibilities, with 39% saying they valued the benefits such as paid time off and a workplace pension too much to go it alone.

However, many would-be entrepreneurs also said that with more practical support, such as online forums, entrepreneur networks and general guidance, they would be encouraged to set up on their own.

The survey also found the desire for more flexibility in their work was a common reason why many people had taken the plunge and become self-employed.

More than half (53%) of people who were self-employed had left their jobs in search of greater control and flexibility, helping them to choose their own hours or fit childcare responsibilities around their work, the survey found.

But one fifth (20%) of those who are related to someone who is self-employed said this career choice had caused more stress in their household.

Anita Frew, chairwoman of the Centre for the Modern Family, said: "To a growing number of people, self-employment offers a chance to structure a rewarding career around family life.

"However, our research suggests that the pressures and stresses of being their own boss may, for some, be too much for a family.

"With more and easier access to practical and financial support, individuals may feel better equipped to make their path in self-employment less stressful for themselves and their families, and bring them more of the benefits which attracted them to self-employment in the first place."

More than 2,000 people were surveyed for the report.

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