The Great Transition: 40% of Traditionally-Employed Americans Expecting to Make the Jump to Self-Employment in the Next Two Years

Toronto, Canada, Dec. 02, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, FreshBooks, a leading cloud accounting software, launched its Annual Self-Employment Report. The report uncovered that 40% of traditionally-employed American professionals are contemplating a transition to self-employment, with nearly half saying pursuing self-employment is their number one goal in life. 

FreshBooks’ Annual Self-Employment Report analyses data collected online from a representative sample of more than 3,000 self-employed and traditionally-employed professionals from across America. The report provides an insightful comparison between the two audience groups to uncover the motivators and detractors for self-employment, including career satisfaction and financial obstacles. The report’s data can be split by gender, age, ethnicity and region. 

“FreshBooks tracks employment trends annually, and we can confidently say this year’s report points to a significant labour force transformation happening in the mindset of American workers,” said Paul Cowan, Chief Marketing Officer at FreshBooks. “A more entrepreneurial and independent population of workers will profoundly impact many things - from an increased need for digital tools and solutions to shifts in policy frameworks to how companies of all sizes attract and retain talent.”

Other key findings in the study include:

  • Undeterred by the pandemic, 95% of self-employed Americans plan to stay self-employed for the foreseeable future. 
  • Among owners of businesses less than two years old, nearly two-thirds agree that self-employment remains the best career choice in uncertain times such as a pandemic. 
  • Two in five potential entrepreneurs already have an active ‘side hustle,’ with one-third already brand building via social media. 
  • More than half (54%) of people under age 35 plan to be self-employed in the next five years on a full-time basis.
  • The biggest obstacles to self-employment include worries about cash flow and inconsistent income (32%), worries about earning less income (28%), loyalty to employers (27%), and lack of a business plan (25%).
  • 72% of respondents shared that they are happy being self-employed, compared to 68% of traditionally employed.

The Women at Work section of the report uncovered trends and insights specific to traditionally-employed and self-employed women. FreshBooks’ data reveals that women face more barriers and obstacles to self-employment when compared to men. However, once self-employed, the experiences of women entrepreneurs support the notion that self-employment is positive. Almost 80% are happier with their careers, and 70% say they have much more career control vs. when they held traditional jobs. 

Since 2004, FreshBooks has helped more than 30 million people, establishing itself as one of the leading accounting platforms for small businesses. To shed light on the experiences of those who work for themselves, FreshBooks’ produces a series of research reports in its Research and Data Reports Library.  

You can learn more about FreshBooks and read the Annual Self-Employment Report here.

Survey Methodology

FreshBooks conducted research for this report in collaboration with Dynata. More than 3,000 people who work full time—either as traditional employees, independent professionals, or small business owners—were surveyed online in August and September of 2021. Samples have been weighted (as required) to reflect various characteristics of their target populations (e.g., age, gender and industry) leveraging data from the U.S. Census, U.S. Small Business Administration, the NAICS Association and other sources. The study’s margin of error is +/- 2.5% at 95% confidence.

About FreshBooks

FreshBooks is changing the way business owners manage their books. Its owner-first accounting platform, loved by businesses in over 160 countries, takes an easy-to-use approach to managing finances, billing, payments, and client engagement. FreshBooks, known for its 10x Stevie award winning customer support, serves customers of all sizes from offices in Canada, Croatia, Mexico, Germany, Netherlands, and the US.


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