Small business owners scupper social lives and embrace technology to make way for their business

We looked at the work-life balance of over 2000 small business owners, and the results left us shocked.

We know that small business owners have to sacrifice a lot to get their businesses off the ground and keep them going. Finding time for family and friends can be difficult. We asked our customers how they were faring, and over 2,000 freelancers and business owners answered our work-life balance survey, providing a fascinating picture of entrepreneurial working patterns.

Our survey found that the most popular reason for setting up a business is to be your own boss, with a third of business owners giving this answer. But in terms of the biggest actual advantage of being self-employed, greater flexibility is the clear winner, chosen by 55% of people, and coming in above job satisfaction and being a boss.


The majority of business owners say that they sometimes cancel social plans during the week or that they never make any weekday social plans because they’re too busy. When business owners do find the time to socialise, 60% aren’t really switched off; they’re still checking their work emails.


And when it comes to taking a complete break from work, almost a third of business owners take under 10 days of holiday a year, including 5% who take none at all. Plus for most people, business admin like dealing with tax returns and invoices gets squeezed into non-working hours.


As night falls, it’s not always time to clock off. Many of the nation’s small business owners are lying wide awake. Over 60% say that work sometimes stops them getting a good night’s sleep, although the majority say that this is only when there’s a specific work issue. Entrepreneurs are often dreaming of getting some shut-eye though: we found that a good night’s sleep is the most popular method for combatting work-related stress.

On the plus side for their social lives, only a small number (under 10%) of business owners are working a mega week of more than 60 hours. Business owners also feel that technology has a positive impact, with almost 54% saying it’s helped them because they can always be accessible, and over 22% saying it helps to drive more business. Fewer than 9% of business owners told us that they believe technology is harmful to their work-life balance.

Although our results seem to show that holidays and social plans often have to take a backseat for business owners, most people told us that they’re satisfied with their work-life balance. Only 6% said that they have a complete imbalance, with work taking up way too much time.

In conclusion, the nation’s business owners are hard-working but happy. Technology gives them flexibility and makes them ever-accessible. But a good night’s sleep and a few days of holiday wouldn’t go amiss.

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