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According to new data from online jobs marketplace, PeoplePerHour, more than 227,000 individuals applied to use its platform in 2020 to offer services as start-up businesses and sole traders.

It marked a substantial year-on-year rise after the platform recorded 136,000 registrations in 2019. The data also suggests it is a global trend too, with PeoplePerHour experiencing a 61% year-on-year rise in freelancer registrations worldwide.

PeoplePerHour conducted a survey of freelancers that signed up to the platform in the last 12 months during the coronavirus crisis, in a bid to understand the common motives of individuals opting to work for themselves.

A quarter of those surveyed said they went freelance after losing their full-time employment. Meanwhile a fifth of freelancers surveyed said that they freelance alongside a full-time role.

A third of women surveyed cited the benefit of flexible working as their primary motivation for turning freelance last year. While 44% of men viewed freelancing as a way to increase their income.

A further 17% of all respondents said that freelancing was an opportunity to take their career in a different direction, perhaps to invest more of their time and energy in making a living from their passions or hobbies after the pandemic.

Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder, PeoplePerHour, said: “There’s no doubt that 2020 has seen a marked shift change in how we all work.

“The flexibility that freelancing affords is undoubtedly why, at a time when our lives have been stretched in all directions, people find both success and security in working this way.

“Many have clearly seen the financial and life-changing benefits that this workstyle brings and plan to either switch permanently or incorporate it as part of the full-time work where possible.”

If you are thinking of working for yourself in 2021, we can work with you to get your venture off to the right start. We can help you to decide the right structure for your business, locate the right sources of funding and pinpoint any available tax opportunities for your start-up.

Arrange your free, no-obligation consultation by calling our friendly and experienced team today on 0800 0523 555 or complete our online enquiry form to get the ball rolling.

Date published 19 Mar 2021 | Last updated 28 Nov 2023

Fraser McKay, MCIPR (Accredited)

Fraser is a highly experienced journalist and Accredited PR Professional and joined TaxAssist in 2016. He writes articles covering a wide range of topics relating to small businesses and accounting. In addition, Fraser provides communications training to the network, as well as looking after TaxAssist Accountants' national and local social media channels.

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