For the majority of startups, self funding rather than relying on external financial support is the trend, according to an interesting new UK survey by FreeAgent which interviewed 500 micro-businesses. Although this was a UK report, the findings are just as relevant to entrepreneurs here in Africa. It points to the fact that most freelancers and micro-business owners are self-funding rather than relying on external financial support, with 43 per cent using their personal savings to launch their business ventures. Additionally, the research shows that just 4 per cent of micro-businesses say they had used a loan from a friend or family member to get their business idea off the ground, while as little as 2 per cent use their credit card or secured a bank loan, and only 1 per cent used government assistance. While getting started does not seem to be the problem, the research finds that life can be more of a struggle once those businesses actually get off the ground, with 41 per cent of micro-businesses saying they do not make enough money to cover their costs, or ‘only just’ make enough to cover them. Many micro-business owners are also focussing their attention on their business at the expense of taking time off; nearly half of respondents (44 per cent) say that they had not felt in a position to be able to take a week or more of holiday during the last six months. So the challenge seems to be not so much getting started from a finance perspective, rather it’s a case of ensuring operating costs for the first year or two of the business can be covered as part of the early planning stage. Something to think about carefully before launching that dream business.