Only 33% of Scots enjoy their passion as a career

Scotland benefits from hobby economy boom – yet millions of entrepreneurs are still missing out on pursuing their passions

The Start Up Loans Company (SULCo), in partnership with YouGov, surveyed over 4,000 British adults to uncover Britain’s attitudes and aspirations towards pursuing hobby-based businesses such as arts and crafts enterprises, fitness studios and cake-making companies.
Additionally, SULCo analysed the turnover and profit figures of hobby-based businesses – started up on the back of the passions of the business owner, between 2012 and 2017, to determine their value to the UK economy.
Analysis of SULCo data reveals that Bake Off hopefuls, green-fingered gardeners, fitspo fanatics and ambitious artisans recorded an average turnover of £65,000 and made £15,800 in profit** – a 24% margin – in the last year.
  • A quarter (29%) of Scots have considered turning their hobby into a business
  • Yet only 33% of Scots have made a career out of their passion
  • 78% of those in Scotland who have started a hobby-based business now have greater job satisfaction
The research revealed that over a quarter (28 per cent) of Britons have, at some stage, considered turning their hobby into a business. Yet only three in 10 (29 per cent) of this group have gone on to do so. This equates to a potential 6 million hobby-based business owners that have not started up*.
One in five (29%) in Scotland have considered turning their hobby into a business. Yet only 33% have gone on to do so.
This is despite 22% of Scots believing a hobby-based business would provide a better salary than their current job, and 71% stating they think it would improve their job satisfaction. 78% of those who have actually launched a hobby-based business now reveal they have a better job satisfaction.
The Government-backed Start Up Loans Company, which merged with the British Business Bank earlier this year, provides low-interest finance and support to new businesses and those trading for less than two years.
Joanna Hill, Interim CEO of The Start Up Loans Company, said: “Scotland is home to a booming shared economy where skills exchanges are creating all sorts of opportunities for people who want to start a business.
“We find some of the most successful business ideas are borne out of people’s passions. So many of us have activities we pursue as a sideline to our careers, but nowadays, with the right level of support and encouragement, these hobbies can be transformed into profitable businesses.
“From cookery to yoga, we’ve seen countless examples of successful businesses set up based on hobbies. The fact that billions could be generated shows the potential of the hobby economy too.”
Start Up Loans data also reveals the most lucrative hobby-based businesses in the UK. Bakery businesses inspired by the likes of Bake Off’s Paul Hollywood record sales of £30,000 on average.
Additionally, the analysis revealed that arts and crafts generate average yearly sales of £20,000, while gardening companies generate sales of £27,000 and pet-related firms around £31,000. Some of the most lucrative hobby-based businesses are those set up by fitness and motor fans.
Free guides on how to start a business are available on the SULCo website.