Bench Study Highlights How Entrepreneurs Age 30 and Under Are Shifting the Self-Employment Landscape


The Bench Team


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December 11, 2018

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North America’s largest bookkeeping service surveyed 1,005 small business owners across America

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Vancouver, December 11, 2018–Bench, North America’s largest bookkeeping service, announced today the results of a new survey that examines the attitudes and behaviors of small business owners in America. The Age of the Entrepreneur report paints a picture of what it’s like to run a business today and highlights how a new generation of business owners, those age 30 and under, are doing things differently.

Bench CEO Ian Crosby says, “It’s easier than ever to start a business. This generation understands that you don’t need to be an expert in finances to run a successful business—technology can do that for you. Younger entrepreneurs are comfortable outsourcing anything from web development to bookkeeping online, and that allows them to focus on what’s most important which is serving their customers.”

Bench surveyed 1,005 entrepreneurs in America who run businesses ranging from freelance ventures to companies with up to 10 employees. Here’s what they found:

Entrepreneurs 30 and under are finding ways to make self-employment more rewarding—and more successful.

  • 1 in 5 young entrepreneurs go into business to make a difference in the world
  • 17% of young entrepreneurs have ambitions of building a big business—meanwhile, only 4% of entrepreneurs age 45 and over share that goal
  • 18% of small business owners 30 and under run companies with five or more employees, compared to just 8% of those 45 and over
  • 16% of small businesses run by entrepreneurs 30 and under are pulling in over $250k annual revenue, compared to only 12% of small businesses run by those age 45 and over

Business finances are the single biggest stress for young entrepreneurs.

  • Early-career entrepreneurs find financial administration including bookkeeping and taxes the most stressful part of their job—even more so than firing staff
  • 1 in 5 admit they don’t understand their business finances
  • 17% of young entrepreneurs outsource their bookkeeping, compared to only 9% of those age 45 and over

The report also highlights some universal truths about the state of entrepreneurship today.

When it comes to making the leap into entrepreneurship, expectations don’t always match up with reality.

  • Most entrepreneurs choose to go into business because they crave freedom and control in their career, as opposed to being forced into it by circumstance, such as being laid off
  • 60% of business owners agree that entrepreneurship isn’t an easy way to get rich
  • 56% feel that entrepreneurship doesn’t guarantee freedom
  • Less than a third of those who started a business to be their own boss feel they actually get to call the shots

Entrepreneurs really hate bookkeeping, but many are not taking advantage of outsourcing options.

  • 46% of entrepreneurs would rather get stung by a bee than do a month of bookkeeping
  • Only 30% of entrepreneurs feel they have a confident understanding of their business finances
  • Of all the tasks that entrepreneurs are responsible for, bookkeeping is the top activity that entrepreneurs want to get off their plate: 28% would choose to offload bookkeeping over any other to-do, including web development
  • Despite this, 72% of entrepreneurs are still doing their own bookkeeping

This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.
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