Abbey finds self-employment is hard work

The demands of self-employment are taking their toll on the family life of the UK&#39s 3.7 million small business owners, reveals research by Abbey National business.

The &#39New Entrepreneurs Report&#39 finds that owners of the UK&#39s small businesses are some of the hardest workers in the country. 80% regularly put in more than the average 35-hour week, 58% work more than 45 hours every week and 13% work a staggering 75 hours a week or more.

The report found that two out of five self-employed bosses have trouble balancing the demands of business and family life. Nearly a third of all business owners say it is difficult to have a successful relationship and a successful business.

The hard-working self-employed also have less time for their children. One in ten parents admit they have missed a child&#39s birthday due to work. The same number have been unable to attend their child&#39s school play or sports day, and one in twenty have missed their own wedding anniversary, a partner&#39s birthday and even Christmas or Easter celebrations because of work.

One in five respondents has considered putting off starting a family because of the pressures of being the boss. With 3.7 million small businesses in the UK, there are potentially 700,000 people who will be having children later in life or not at all.

Gary Hockey-Morley, director of Abbey National business, says: “Our entrepreneurs are on the verge of cracking up under the stress and it will be their children and our economy that suffers. They are motivated to work hard so they can be their own boss, but the downside of an excessive workload often means they see less of their loved ones.

“Abbey National business would like to see the burden eased for small businesses &#45 less red tape, help with child care and agencies that understand their needs. The banks should support these entrepreneurs, ensuring they offer value for money products and excellent service.”

Abbey National is using the report to promote its business bank account, which offers small firms free banking forever &#45 saving them up to £600 per year &#45 and 3% interest on in-credit balances. Customers can bank via a dedicated telephone based business service centre, using ATMs, or online at