Do you love being an entrepreneur? Join the crowd. A recent Gallup survey asked 2,700 people, including men and women entrepreneurs and employed adults, to rank themselves on five measures of well-being: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. As a small business owner, you may not be surprised to discover that entrepreneurs in the study were more likely than employees to rate themselves highly on all five elements of well-being. The differences held true even when the results were controlled for age, ethnicity, educational and marital status, income, average hours worked per week and where the respondents lived.
The biggest difference was in purpose well-being. This means liking what you do, feeling that you are using your strengths, doing interesting things every day, believing that you are achieving your goals and feeling enthusiastic about the future. Overall, 51 percent of entrepreneurs have strong purpose well-being, compared to 44 percent of employees. And 56 percent of women entrepreneurs did, compared to just 47 percent of male entrepreneurs.
Women entrepreneurs also led the crowd in community well-being (feeling connected to and involved in their communities) and physical well-being. A whopping 62 percent of female entrepreneurs ranked themselves high for physical well-being, compared to just 46 percent of male business owners.
What’s really interesting, Gallup discovered in a separate survey, is that small business owners are less likely than employees to have health insurance. However, they’re also less likely to suffer from chronic health problems such as diabetes or high cholesterol. Of course, that could be because people with health problems self-select out of entrepreneurship so they can keep their employer-provided health insurance.
Which leads to the question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Are people with a strong sense of well-being more likely to start their own businesses, or does having your own business improve your well-being?
For women, in particular, I think the “glass ceiling” we bump up against as employees, the inflexibility of most workplaces to allow time for family issues and personal lives, and the sense that we need to “have it all” can make it almost impossible to gain well-being when you’re working for someone else. So often, I hear women entrepreneurs say that they started their own companies to gain freedom and be able to control their own lives. When you see that the business you’ve created is thriving, no wonder your well-being soars.
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