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Businesses born from hobbies contribute £39 billion to UK economy

The Business Magazine article image for: Businesses born from hobbies contribute £39 billion to UK economy
18 March 2022

Sole traders who have pursued their passion and turned their hobby into a successful business idea are contributing a staggering £39.6 billion to UK business turnover.

New research, by specialist insurer Hiscox and the Centre for Economics and Business Research reveals that almost one in four sole traders fulfilled their dream of turning a hobby into a business 

Looking at the whole UK sole trader community, the majority are still enthusiastic about their work even if it did not start from a hobby, with 90 per cent of all sole traders stating they have a passion for their business. This passion is helping them to achieve a turnover which is on average 55 per cent higher than those who don’t share quite the same enthusiasm.  

The research also reveals that more than half of all sole traders who took the start-up plunge were motivated by work life balance and a desire to be their own boss. Flexibility of working hours and location and the freedom to define their own business  also featured high on the list of self-assessed advantages to becoming a sole trader 

More than 2 in 5 sole traders have their idea and turn it into a business within just a year, showing that when it comes to something you care about, many are quick to make the leap. In fact, the UK has seen a significant rise in the number of sole traders in recent years; with more than 3.5 million sole traders at the start of 2020, up 28% from 2.8 million at the start of 2010.  

Isha Patel, small business insurance expert at Hiscox, said: The career advice to ‘do what you love’ is front and centre among the impressive number of sole traders who are now making a living from their hobby. Our findings show that those business owners with a passion for their work have a 55% higher turnover on average than other sole traders, which just goes to show the impressive economic impact that passion for the day job can have when it comes to running a successful small business.” 

J.LUXE.FIT is a Gloucestershire fitness-wear start-up brand founded by Jordan Tuck at the age of just 22 during the first lockdown in 2020.

“I started the brand to solve my own problem. As a curvaceous woman on my weight loss journey, my issue was always, why couldn’t I find a matching sports bra and leggings that held my bust in place and made me feel supported and confident enough to wear to the gym?

“Everything I found was either too flimsy, fell down or looked like something I had borrowed from my Nan. It never matched, and I never felt confident to wear it out. This meant I was further away from achieving my weight loss goals.”

So Jordan launched her own brand start my own brand. “I spent about six months researching and testing the best fabrics, designs and samples and last August I launched J.LUXE.FIT.”

She’s also two stone lighter, because creating sportswear made her feel confident enough to exercise and go to the gym.

And the business is flying. “We have had more than one thousand orders worldwide and J.LUXE.FIT has created an empowering Instagram community of women who support each other on their fitness journeys.”

Jordan’s ambition is to take J.LUXE.Fit global.

“I’d like it to be known as the go to sportswear brand for inclusivity and realism, for activewear that empowers and makes you feel confident. In addition, I’d like to create a global community of supportive, body positive people bringing them together through events, social media, and our clothing."


Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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