Future of Work

The face of the UK business landscape is constantly changing, with increasing amounts of people looking for a freelance lifestyle according to figures released today.

Simply Business, one of the UK’s biggest providers of business insurance, today reports a 31% annual increase in people looking to go freelance. Providing small business insurance to over 500,000 self-employed people, Simply Business’s data says the increase is being driven by industries that traditionally rely on freelance support as well as a range of emerging professions.

The research, released to mark National Freelancers Day 2019 today, in particular revealed a growing trend of individuals looking to turn existing hobbies into businesses as greater numbers of people looking to embrace a freelance way of working.


The data suggests that whilst major trades such as IT support and consultancy remain reliant on freelance support, the real growth in this space is being driven by a wave of new lifestyle businesses.

Simply Business saw a major rise in demand from new freelance dog walkers in 2018 – with a 60% year-on-year increase in those looking to turn this into a business. In fact, in 2018 dog walking was the second most popular industry for potential freelancers after teaching and home tutoring.

Beauticians and home bakers are two industries also seeing phenomenal growth, demonstrating 159% and 68% annual increases respectively.

Similarly, domestic services that can be delivered in a range of different locations have also demonstrated strong growth. There has been a 51% year-on-year increase in mobile beauticians looking to insure their business services.

This new found confidence is also extending into the creative industries. There has been a 24% increase in freelance photographers looking to insure their services, and an incredible 91% growth since 2016.

The research also revealed that the Midlands is the region where people feel most empowered to drive their own destiny. The Midlands saw the highest number of insurance requests from the UK’s leading growth industries, such as mobile hairdressing, dog walking, and photography.

The data also showed that the growth in lifestyle entrepreneurialism is really being driven in the UK’s regions. London’s most popular freelance roles still include traditional private sector roles such as project managers, accountants and consultants.

Compare this to the regional picture and the story is entirely different. The North East of England for example lists its top three freelance growth industries as hairdressers, dog walkers and mobile hairdressers. Similarly, Northern Ireland’s top four industries include booming sectors such as make-up artists, beauticians and photographers.

Bea Montoya, COO of Simply Business commented: “Freelancers contribute so much to our economy – both through their own work, and by empowering other businesses to succeed. On National Freelancers Day 2019, we wanted to take the opportunity to shine the light on this crucial sector, celebrate its continued growth, and dig deeper into the individual professions that are behind the trend.

“Our data highlights the stark increase in the number of people turning their hobbies into their livelihood. It’s truly great to see so many people pursuing their passions, whilst also driving the success of countless other businesses.”

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