The government has been playing up a rise in disposable income, culled from figures compiled by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), but there is one fact that has been conveniently ignored.
This is that the ONS pay figures do not include earnings by the self-employed.
According to the research organisation the Resolution Foundation, the numbers of self-employed have increased by 26 per cent between 2002 and 2013 while their median reported income had dropped by 28% (approximately £4,000) between 2001 and 2010.
The TUC estimates that 540,000 of the approximately 1 million jobs created since 2008 have been through self-employment.
These are the people who supply the “outsourced” services – from plumbing to IT to Marketing to Consulting – that SMEs rely on. They are also themselves SMEs as far as HMRC is concerned, where they are classified as sole traders.
No matter what their skills, arguably these are micro businesses with potential to grow, and as the economic recovery continues, they will hopefully be able to benefit.
But like any business, even a one-person micro business needs to set goals, have a business plan, understand finance, and have a marketing strategy for advertising and promoting themselves to generate business leads.
Furthermore they need a passion and determination to succeed. Being self-employed can be a lonely existence but need not be with the support of mentors, local networking and business organisations, industry groups or business advisors, any and all of whom can make a huge difference.