Coming out of the pandemic, we have all developed a different perspective on what life is about and what makes us “happy.” As we delve into the ways that COVID has forever altered our vision of mental health and what makes us feel fulfilled, a lot of focus has turned to the issue of entrepreneurship and mental health. It would be intuitive to expect that starting a business comes with a whole lot of risk and stress.
The first couple of years can be grueling and intense, which you might think could be the road to misery. But the research about entrepreneurship and positive mental health shows the exact opposite. Although there will always be some people who suffer from mental illness regardless of their career path or chosen work position, according to research, entrepreneurs enjoy more health and happiness on average than employees.
Business Owners Tend to Be Healthier
What you do daily has a significant bearing on your overall health. And since the average worker will spend as much as one-third of their lives at work, what you do for a living dramatically affects your life. A study from Louisiana State University and Baylor University looked at data from the US Census and the Centers for Disease Control and found that when the number of small businesses starts to increase in a community, the health of everyone in that community is enhanced.
Communities with a high concentration of independently owned small businesses enjoyed lower mortality, diabetes, and obesity rates than other communities in the nation. Another study undertaken to mimic the benefits of health to small-business owners also found that, although there is a lot of stress involved, entrepreneurs have an overall lower incidence of mental and physical illnesses than employees. They also report a higher level of life satisfaction and frequent the hospital less.
Business Owners Tend to Be Happier
It would make sense that those who are healthier also find more happiness in life. Studies conclude that entrepreneurs tend to report better mental health overall when self-reported than those in a secure paying position.
A study of 11,000 graduates of Wharton found that money might be able to buy happiness to some extent. But it wasn’t just about making more money: the most significant predictor of those reporting happiness was business ownership, not a high-paying job. When analyzing the data, money alone was not the most important predictor of happiness and health; being your own boss was.
Why Are Business Owners Happier?
Business ownership comes with various stressful issues like long hours, financial strains, and the heavy responsibility of being in charge. But when you put it all together, even with all of the stressors and hard work, business owners consistently report higher job satisfaction and more happiness than employees. So what is the underlying factor - or factors - that increase a small-business owner’s fulfillment?
According to a Gallup poll, one key factor is positive feelings about a person's financial future; in general, optimism about their future was higher for small-business owners. Nearly 35% of business owners revealed that it is easier for them to get credit, which is up 7% from last year. And aside from the financial situation, business owners tend to enjoy more freedom and have a better work/life balance than their employee counterparts.
They also enjoy more positivity, which is becoming more reduced in the workforce as a whole. Entrepreneurs tend to be able to spend more time with family, work fewer hours, and vacation more. Small-business owners also enjoy year-end perks like vacation time, flexibility, and bonuses. And while 76% of employees in American report feeling mildly or wholly disengaged from their job, over 50% of small-business owners report a high degree of satisfaction.
Entrepreneurs also enjoy more job security than the average worker. Being the boss can be stressful, but there are a lot of mental health benefits to having some feeling of control over your future and your financial situation, rather than feeling out of control over your career advancement. Small-business owners see the fruits of their labor and how they directly affect the community and world around them, which gives them a greater sense of purpose and meaning.
Employees Versus Entrepreneurs
As we recover post-pandemic, many people’s perspectives about what is important in life have shifted. Where once people were beholden to the nine-to-five office job, many have been able to experience the freedom of doing something other than working for someone else. That has many people thinking about the potential of owning their own business. The World Happiness Report, which ranks countries according to reported happiness, identified a few key factors that significantly affect an individual, regardless of where they reside.
- Social support
- GDP per capita
- Freedom to make life choices
- Freedom from corruption
Coinciding with an individual’s overall happiness in their daily lives was their job or career satisfaction. The World Happiness Report revealed clues about whether those who own their own company or employees within an organization experience more happiness.
The researchers found a trend: on average, those who own their business tend to experience the greatest sense of positivity compared to their cohorts. Those findings mimicked a study released by the Pew Research Center that found that you are likely to be happier than someone who is an employee for a company when you are your own boss.
83% of bosses reported that they were “very satisfied” with most aspects of their work/family life, which is considerably higher than those not in charge. 78% of bosses think of their job as a career, while only 44% of employees do. And only 12% of bosses keep their options open for another job, while 23% of employees are actively looking for something else.
"Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action." –William James
What Makes Us Happy?
As we emerge into a post-pandemic world, people are going back to work with a heightened sense of awareness of their priorities and the lessons they’ve learned about health and happiness.
People experience fulfillment and satisfaction when they feel in control of their work/life balance and financial situation. For these reasons, business ownership continues to be a major factor in happiness across countries and walks of life.
If you are considering becoming your own boss and enjoying more freedom and control, Frannexus can help. We help you find an alternative to the traditional career path to set you on a course for happiness, health, and financial security. Contact us today to discuss the many available opportunities.