Self-Employment Is Growing Among The UK Millennials

by Tanya July 14, 2023

More and more Millennials are taking the plunge to work for themselves with self-employment levels reaching the highest point since 2008 recession.

Around 15% of the UK workforce is now self-employed, and the figure doesn’t look like it’s dropping.

Traditionally, freelancers have been seen as experienced professionals of a certain creative trade, who have built up a client base over the years, but this is now changing.

Millennials are now coming straight out of education and into high demand in the digital sector.

Britain’s digital economy is currently one of the stronger global markets, with the UK creative industries generating £71 billion in revenue each year. And freelancers are benefiting both financially and personally.


A recent survey by Elance, a freelance jobs platform, showed that for a vast majority (87%) of UK graduates freelancing (including going for web development and qa testing freelance) was an attractive and lucrative career option.

Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority (94%) of freelancers would rather be self-employed than a waged employee. They feel that their ability to be creative flourishes under flexible and autonomous conditions.

The work mindset is shifting from input to output, which means that it doesn’t matter how and where you do your work, as long as it is done.

But most importantly, Millennials don’t see work as the opposite of play, but the single greatest opportunity for satisfaction and fulfilment.

There have been a lot of success stories from people setting up and running their own small businesses, from cupcakes to tea companies. This has provided a lot of hope for would-be entrepreneurs, along with the rise of the internet making it a lot easier to source everything you need to set-up a new company.

Benefits of working for yourself

So, aside from the typical – freedom and flexibility – what are the other lesser-known benefits of self-employment?

I’ve asked some of the UK Millennials and here’s what they said:

“I used to feel sick about not being the final decision-maker.”

“Self-employment has the same career benefits but without office politics.”

“I’ve always had a disdain for authority. I just don’t have time for outmoded conventions.”

“Total job security. Self-employment means never having to be unemployed ever again.”

“I have greater job security as a freelancer than I do as an employee. To me, job security is about being able to land the next job.”

“Some people only rise to the top by holding other people down. I decided to break free of all that, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done.”

“Diversity keeps your skills sharp – freelance really accelerates your learning curve.”

“Added benefit is that you are instantly part of the entrepreneurs’ society and meet awesome like-minded people in the process.”

“Benefit directly from your hard work.“

Better pay!

“I love not having to ask someone else if I can have some time off.“

“I can work with people when it makes sense and work alone when that makes sense.“

“If there is something that doesn’t interest me then I don’t have to do it.“

“Being able to focus on smart people, whilst ignoring any office politics, is hugely beneficial to someone who wants to grow.“

“I’m a bit of a night owl, and I tend to be most productive between 4 pm – 3 am – which doesn’t really work when you’re employed full time.

“I’ve never been a 9 to 5 person and I couldn’t live life the way I want to in a staff job.“

How to slowly break away from 9-5 office life?

For everyone, who is scared of failure, my suggestion is to start small, enjoy the journey and keep your full-time job or go part-time.

You don’t have to have a long-term plan. You just need to start and see where it takes you.

There are so many ways to profit from your passions and generate income.

I believe what you do on the side will create your next job opportunity.

Here’s what you can start with:

Start a blog or a website


Your personal website or blog is the most important asset in your professional life. The web is often the only place people can find out about you and buy from you.

Don’t sweat the small things, if I’d waited to know who I was or what I was about before I started Lucky Attitude, well, I’d still be sitting around waiting instead of doing things. 

I believe what you do on the side will create your next job opportunity.

There are many ways how to monetise your website: sponsorship/ads, affiliate sales, freelance writing, digital product sales, consultancy, book sales, online shops etc.

If you offer freelance monthly services or have regular clients, try to work on a retainer basis

ProBlogger has the most comprehensive toolkit for all the different ways you can monetise your blog: The Full Blog Monetization Menu – 60+ Ways to Make Money With Your Blog.

Become a photographer

There is a real need for photographers, from wedding photographers, to special events, journalism, fashion, and commercial photographers.

Building a successful photography portfolio requires not only technical skills but also marketing, networking, and consistently delivering high-quality work. It may take time to establish yourself, so stay focused, continue to learn, and adapt to the evolving photography industry.

Offer your services online


Are you good at writing, social media management, web development, graphic design or video production? There are plenty of marketplaces at your disposal.

You can join platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, YunoJuno, The Work Crowd, 90 seconds, ICUC, eModeration, LiveWorld, 99Social, etc.

You can easily make extra money working as a courier. Online courier companies like shiply.com have been hiring part-time delivery drivers at an alarming rate in 2020.

This is to keep up with the even more alarming rate at which people are ordering goods online. As long as you have a car and a driver’s license, you can pretty much secure a job making deliveries. There’s plenty lots of delivery driver work online, which you can easily find on Shiply’s site.

Shiply is visited by thousands of freelancers and companies worldwide.

Sell the use of your photos, videos, and other media


You can turn your love for photography into an income and start licensing your images on Getty through Flickr.

Some sites allow you to sell your prized photos, video b-roll, original music or illustrations while giving you the option of licensing resale rights for free. This will give you royalties for each use of your photos, videos or music, resulting in longer-term residual income.

There are tons of websites and businesses that are willing to pay you for your stock photos.

NB! You can sell prints of your Instagram photos for a profit on Instaprints.com and similar sites.

Start dog-walking and house-sitting


This one is a treat for anyone who adores animals but doesn’t own one.

You can get paid by spending time with your favourite pets.

Pet-sitters and dog-walkers help pet owners in their area care for their furry friends while their owners are busy or on holidays.

You can find pet-sitting jobs on halodogs.co.uk, tailster.com, holidog.com, care.com and pawshake.co.uk.

Become a virtual assistant


If you’re great at getting things done, you can use your skills to help others get things done when you work from home as a virtual assistant.

There are dozens of busy individuals who need assistance in researching for materials, entering data, document labeling, filling in sheets, or even phone support outsourcing, etc.

You can create accounts on Fancy Hands, Time Etc, eaHelp, Amazon and Shorttask.

Complete consumer surveys online


Earn some pocket money by filling out surveys.

You will not get rich just by answering questions; however, you can get paid small sums of cash for this task.

Have a look into Pollfish, Inbox Dollars, MySurvey, Panelbase, OnePoll, YouGov and more.

Trade currencies from home


Many people start trading currencies part-time before making it full-time.

A lot will depend on your interests, desires and experience.

In forex trading, you sell one currency to purchase another. Trading shouldn’t be taken lightly, you have to be able to make predictions about the economy.

Read more about it here.

Finally …

People have realised that going it alone can be a reality.

As self-employed, you are your business and your brand: your mission can be a comfy life or world domination. You decide.


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The first Millennial blogger in the UK. Twitter @_luckyattitude

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