GoDaddy has released data from a new UK survey which found one-in-five [20%] people are considering using the lockdown to set up a new business venture or side hustle. This extends to nearly a third [31%], if the Covid-19 lockdown has impacted their job security.
Economic turmoil and a significant change in people’s daily routine has allowed much time for reflection. The survey data found the top reason for people wanting to start their own business was the prospect of being their own boss [24%] and a further 21% wanted a sense of purpose. This is supported more widely, according to the GoDaddy Global Entrepreneurship Survey, which found that the majority [68%] of small -business owners surveyed felt happier being an entrepreneur.
One such person is Andy Walker, founder of local bakery delivery service Gingerbread Bakery. Andy had dreamed of starting his own business for years and did not want to let the pandemic stand in his way.
Andy Walker, owner of Gingerbread Bakery, said: “I’ve been thinking of setting up my own bakery for a long time. It’s always been a passion of mine so after 25 years as a software developer, I decided 2020 was going to be the year I took on a new challenge. I started setting out plans in February but then Covid-19 started to take hold and I thought it wouldn’t happen. My online store is working brilliantly, and one day I would love to complement my website with a bakery in town.”
History has found that businesses started during economic downturns, have actually gone on to be resilient and more successful than firms founded during the boom years [Hiscox, Entrepreneur Report, 2014].
Irana Wasti, GoDaddy Regional President for EMEA said: “We have always known the UK is full of budding entrepreneurs and it is this grit and determination that will be essential for our economic recovery. In fact, it is actually in times of economic hardship where a spirit of entrepreneurism can take hold, paving the way for new, resilient businesses.
“This situation is not going to last forever but it has made us think and question what the new normal will be and where we want to be when we come out of this. We want to support those thinking about taking that step and pursuing their business passion because we are confident that the lockdown will give birth to a new generation of hardy entrepreneurs.”
Starting a side hustle has long been a growing trend in the UK. GoDaddy research [link] in 2018 found that the number of side hustlers – individuals who run their own business on top of their day job – has risen by 32% in the last decade. The UK’s side hustlers make a substantial contribution to the economy, with every 1000 side hustles creating 876 extra jobs, demonstrating how crucial they will be for economic recovery.
One such business which started out as a side hustle and has gone on to be very successful is beer company Toast Ale, which uses surplus bread to create craft beer. As with most successful businesses, Toast Ale was built on a passion – to end food waste. Spotting this opportunity to use discarded bread and thinking of an innovative solution, allowed Toast Ale to produce craft beer that consumers love and supermarkets are stocking up on.
Rob Wilson, CEO of Toast Ale gives his advice to anyone starting out: “Juggling family and work life can be challenging in the best of times and Covid presents even more difficulties. But if you have a passion, it is the most rewarding thing to be your own boss and feel a sense of purpose.
“My advice is to start small in the first instance – just write your idea down on paper. But have the ambition and know where you want to be in the next year and after that. Growing your passion on the side is a great way to test its successfulness before you take the leap to making it your full-time job. Then you won’t look back.”
For those who are considering setting up a new business, it is the creative industries [15%] and the not-for-profit sectors [12%] which would see the most uptick, according to the survey data. Even if it’s not setting up a new business, it is clear the majority of people are using time at home to explore new opportunities with 62% considering using the period to learn a new skill.
Another new business which needed to quickly adapt to the current context is hand-crafted vegan pie company Magpye.
Chris Fryer, Co-Founder of Magpye explains how an online presence saved their business: “We started Magpye after realising vegans wanted traditional British comfort food. With our mobile pie and mash wagon ready, Magpye had an exciting debut summer of food festivals and events planned and were also supplying to a number of pubs and bars across Newcastle. Unfortunately, events and contracts were cancelled due to Covid-19.”
“We adapted quickly by taking our business solely online so we could start delivering our vegan pies locally. Within days of being online we had taken our first order and these have been increasing ever since. Our ambition is to grow to national deliveries and we will look forward to the day when we can get our pie and mash wagon back out.”
Covid-19 has put extraordinary demands on all walks of society. GoDaddy is supporting its micro-business customers and the next generation of entrepreneurs through this challenging time with its #Open We Stand campaign. This is a dedicated website for small businesses and entrepreneurs with a library of resources – including articles, videos, how-to guides – and free product tools to help them adapt to the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.