These Are the Best Places in the World to Be Your Own Boss

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“Working for yourself is easy!”, said noone ever.

It’s financially risky, you work long hours and a lot of responsibility falls on your shoulders.

What if you could move to a country that would make your life as a digital nomad that bit easier? Would you do it? We’re willing to bet you might at least consider it!

Expert Market has put together a new study that showcases the best countries to base yourself if you want to enjoy the many perks of being your own boss. We compared eight factors that would impact the quality of life for a self-employed boss across 57 countries.

Read on to find out which countries fared the best, and the worst.

Top 10

  1. Hong Kong
  2. USA
  3. South Korea
  4. UAE
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Spain
  7. New Zealand
  8. Estonia
  9. Bulgaria
  10. Czech Republic

Head to Hong Kong

Hong Kong tops our list of the best places to be your own boss. Head to Hong Kong if you want to find more money in your pocket at the end of each month, our research finds. The Asian country has one of the lowest income tax rates (15%) of our study. Business owners in Hong Kong will also find it much easier to get their new venture off the ground – the country has one of the best access to credit scores in the world!

And if that’s not enough to convince you of Hong Kong’s merits, The World Economic forum rate the country’s transport network as the best in the world. For today’s digital nomad, a world-class transport system provides excellent peace of mind. Meeting in 30 mins across the other side of town? Not a problem in Hong Kong!

US outperforms UK

Freelancers looking to set up shop in the UK will be pleased – the country ranks fifth in our list of the best places to be your own boss. The UK is in the top 10 for transport infrastructure, and the top 20 for access to credit and internet connection speed.

However, it is the US that truly lives up to its name as the land of opportunity – it fares better than the UK in all but one of our ranking factors. Placed second overall, the US provides would-be business owners with excellent availability of funding as well as a very high number of free wifi spots.

Go East! Eastern Europe strikes perfect balance

Eastern European countries appear to dominate our top 10 thanks to their ideal combination of low costs of living and strong business opportunities. Estonia, Bulgaria and Czech Republic are eighth, ninth and tenth respectively in our list. Caffeine addicts should consider Bulgaria a hot favourite when it comes to setting up a business – at 94p, the country has the cheapest cappuccino in the world!

Bottom 10

  1. Uruguay
  2. Argentina
  3. Israel
  4. Philippines
  5. Ecuador
  6. Slovenia
  7. Costa Rica
  8. Ireland
  9. Belgium
  10. Peru

Bad news for South America

Freelancers might think twice before jumping ship and moving to South America, our research finds.

Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and Uruguay have poor transport infrastructure and slow internet speeds across the board. All four countries also score poorly in World Bank’s Ease of Starting a Business rank, meaning business owners will face more obstacles in the first few challenging years of their venture.

Our method

To identify our list of the best places to be your own boss, Expert Market compared 57 countries across the globe across eight different factors. In our study we compared:

  • Cost of living
  • Income tax
  • Access to credit
  • Average internet speed
  • Transport networks
  • Free wifi availability
  • Cost of a coffee
  • Ease of starting a business

We calculated each country’s weighted average using data from all the factors above to work out an overall score.

Written by:
Lucy heads up the team on Expert Market, helping to deliver industry-leading expertise on business topics for nearly four years.