The notion has been repeated by countless news outlets and research studies in the past five years: Entrepreneurs are happier than non-entrepreneurs. Some reasons for this are autonomy and flexibility in their jobs, but one of the biggest reasons is the feeling of having a personal stake in one’s career. Jane Park, founder of Julep, writes, “For me, the most powerful thing about being an entrepreneur is my effort to believe that tomorrow can be better than today. I know for sure that I’m more engaged and connected. And [feeling like I’m making a difference] is what makes it exciting to wake up everyday.”
According to Manta’s Small Business Wellness Index, 94% of small business owners say they are happy they are a business owner, and 93% say they are happy with their personal life. Also, 52% of small business owners work 40 or less hours a week, and 27% take 4 or more weeks of vacation per year.
According to a study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Wharton grads running their own businesses “ranked themselves happier than all other professions, regardless of how much money they made,” and “Grads running their own businesses also rated themselves higher than any other profession when it came to work-life balance.” While some might think that the business graduates comfortably working six-figure jobs would be happier than those dealing with the process of lifting up their own companies from scratch, it appears that money was not, in fact the determining factor of happiness. Most of the entrepreneurial happiness actually stems from people feeling like they are choosing to do what they want to do, instead of being forced to work for a company that they don’t necessarily believe in.
Yet according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2016 Global Report, “On average, 42% of working-age adults in the [researched] economies see good opportunities around them for starting a business, more than half of the working-age population in the 60 economies feel they have the ability to start a business, but a little more than one-third of them would be constrained from starting a business due to fear of failure.”
The fear of failure is a fairly common reason for not starting a business, but entrepreneurs are incredibly important to the U.S. economy. Small businesses employ 57% of the country’s private workforce, and also make up 99.7% of all companies in the U.S. Approximately 68% of revenue from small businesses is reinvested in the community (as opposed to 33% from large corporations). Starting your own business could end up being the best thing you could do for both your community and for your own well-being.