Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hobby entrepreneurs contribute £8bn to the British economy

A growing number of UK adults are capitalising on technology and turning their passion for hobbies into part-time businesses, with the average hobby entrepreneur making £1,815 a year from their venture, says a new report. In total, 9% of UK adults say they already make money from a hobby, suggesting an economic contribution of around £8 billion to the UK economy.

According to Visa Europe’s Everyone in Business report, which looks at the growth of micro-entrepreneurship, 56% of UK adults have a hobby or business idea that they believe could or do earn them extra income. Around half this group would like to pursue their hobby as a money-making venture in the future [Shedblog has an excellent post about people making amazing things in their sheds including Nicola from In The Shed, pictured above].

For the 9% who are already making money from their hobby, two key reasons stand out for their success: creative passion and freedom; and the role of technology which has made it easier to start a micro-business. A quarter state that they want to do something they are passionate about and that they like being their own boss.

For 31% the development of technology, particularly the internet, e-commerce and online payments, is allowing potential entrepreneurs to set-up and run their business with more ease. In fact, more than half of people say that the use of Twitter or Facebook is as key to their sales as word of mouth.

Kevin Jenkins, Managing Director at Visa UK & Ireland said: “Hobbies have always provided the first step to starting a micro-business. Now, the breadth of opportunity is accelerating. Hobby entrepreneurs are no longer limited to their neighbourhood audience or word-of-mouth marketing. Selling and marketing via the internet opens up the market to everyone. This is a chance for anyone and everyone to be in business with an idea or craft they are passionate about.”

Everyone in Business reveals that the economic value of hobbies varies across the UK and between different activities. Hobby entrepreneurs in the design (£3,700 per year), photography (£2,400) and building and decorating (£2,300) fields are among those earning the most income from their micro-businesses. Scottish hobby-entrepreneurs are particularly adept at making money from their micro-business, claiming to earn over £3,800 a year on average. 

However would-be hobby entrepreneurs do identify a number of barriers to starting or building their business. Over 1 in 10 (12%) fear that they won’t understand the technology to make their business profitable, while 11% are unsure of how to handle setting up payments for their business.

Kevin Jenkins added: “Accepting payments can be seen as a pain point for micro-businesses but it’s important to look at it in context. Accepting electronic payments opens up whole new markets for sellers, especially online. It’s a way to quickly scale and grow a business.

“New technologies in the payments space are also challenging the perception that payments are expensive and complex and acting as a catalyst for change. Innovations like mobile point of sale (mPOS) give micro-merchants an easy in-person way to accept payments wherever they are. And for those selling predominantly online, payment security is constantly updating and evolving, offering customers a safe, easy route to buy from hobby entrepreneurs.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tuesday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

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