By Claire West

They are known for their rags to riches life stories in which they progressed from humble origins to multi-millionaire status within years. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and The Apprentice’s Alan Sugar have topped a list of celebrities who inspire Brits to become their own boss, a survey of freelancers concludes.

Nearly one-fifth of those surveyed voted the Harry Potter author as the top female celebrity inspiring Brits to become their own boss, beating Cheryl Cole and Victoria Beckham.

Over one quarter of Brits voted for The Apprentice star as their most inspirational male celebrity, beating Simon Cowell, David Beckham and Richard Branson.

Top female celebrities inspiring Brits to become their own boss
1. J.K. Rowling
2. Katie Price
3. Karren Brady
4. Cheryl Cole
5. Oprah Winfrey
6. Victoria Beckham
7. Michelle Obama
8. Denise van Outen
9. Dannii Minogue
10. Kylie Minogue

Top male celebrities inspiring Brits to become their own boss
1. Alan Sugar
2. Simon Cowell
3. Richard Branson
4. Peter Jones
5. Jamie Oliver
6. Bill Gates
7. Gordon Ramsay
8. Theo Paphitis
9. Jonathan Ross
10. David Beckham

2,000 men and women were questioned for the research, and over half of them said they were inspired by celebrities to become their own boss.

It is estimated that there are 1.4 million freelancers in the UK (62% male, 38% female) which reflects a 14% growth in this alternative way of working since 1998*.

Andy Turner, Co-Founder of - a new online workplace specifically designed for Freelancers to profile themselves and engage with Project Owners, who commissioned the research said:

‘Brits are clearly inspired by the determination, drive and ambition often found in rags to riches life stories, like those of Alan Sugar and J.K. Rowling.

‘Over half of those surveyed said a celebrity had inspired them to become their own boss so it’s no surprise to find the likes of Cheryl Cole, Katie Price and Simon Cowell make the grade; their vision, drive and business acumen has struck a chord with the British public.

‘And Brits are a nation of entrepreneurs becoming freelancers at a young age. In fact over a third of those questioned were under 25 years of age when they started freelancing and a third overall wished they had started freelancing sooner.

‘We are now providing an opportunity through our new site for people to start on the path of a lifestyle change.

Andy added:

‘Brits prefer to work for themselves because of the lifestyle it affords them. Ninety per cent of those questioned in the survey said they preferred working for themselves because they like what comes from being your own boss; namely more freedom and a better quality of life.

‘People want to go to work knowing that they are in control and have the independence and freedom to make the right decisions.’

‘We believe will help its users to meet these aspirations providing that individuals build a quality résumé, deliver outstanding work and maintain standards that ensure they are constantly in demand.’