Ladies, want to boost your well-being? Start your own business. Entrepreneurs are more likely than other workers to be thriving in dimensions of their lives that indicate their well being such as senses of purpose, community, and physical activity.
Starting a business is hard work but we are a nation of entrepreneurs. There are 28 million small businesses in the U.S. – some 543,000 new businesses start up each month.
Of all small businesses 9.1 million are women-owned. We generate 1.5 trillion in revenue. However, it’s not just the money that drives women into business. We find purpose, fulfillment, challenge, and community.
According to results from Gallup’s Healthways Well-being Index, female business owners are more likely to have strong purpose in their careers than other female workers (56 percent to 48 percent) and more purpose than even male entrepreneurs (47 percent).
In other dimensions, entrepreneurs have many benefits from the risks they take that other workers often miss: liking what you do every day (94 percent to 90 percent), using your strengths to do what you do best (86 percent to 82 percent), and learning or doing something interesting every day (85 percent to 79 percent).
Entrepreneurs are more likely than other workers to be considered thriving in three out of five elements of well-being. In addition to having higher purpose well-being, entrepreneurs also have higher physical and community well-being. They are just as likely as other workers to be thriving in social and financial well-being.
Similar to the pattern seen for purpose well-being, female entrepreneurs (62%) are significantly more likely than male entrepreneurs (46%) and other female workers (48%) to be thriving in physical well-being. Male and female entrepreneurs are similarly likely to be thriving in social, financial, and community well-being.
In terms of community well-being, the thriving gap between male entrepreneurs and male workers (six percentage points) is larger than it is between female entrepreneurs and female workers (four points). This indicates that being an entrepreneur may help males more than females feel engaged with their communities.
Entrepreneurship has been a critical driver in people achieving the American Dream. Whether they are immigrants who land on our shores or homegrown Americans, there is still a strong sense that with determination, hard work, and creative thinking, a person can start from the bottom and work their way to success –even wild success such as those on the Forbes 400 list.
Gallup highlights that the same characteristics which help entrepreneurs start their business may also increase their chances of having high well-being in those three elements of purpose, physical, and community, or it may be the reverse.
However, the emphasis is on the individual. Government plays no role in identifying or developing entrepreneurs and those with entrepreneurial characteristics. When government gets out of the way, these enterprising women and men can pursue their dreams and passions, but when Washington and state houses insert themselves by passing laws and regulations that hamper the efforts of small business owners, they add unnecessary, additional barriers for them to enter the market and hurdles for them to jump over. Our economy and our nation needs more entrepreneurs, not less.
As an example, we have pointed out how government is cracking down on innovation in traditional industries (think of the wars against Uber in transportation and Airbnb in the hotel industry), but there are stories of home bakers and chefs whose operations get shut down because they don’t follow nonsensical government regulations. Food trucks and supper clubs are also ventures, where we find entrepreneurs, especially women, but we also find government torpedoing their efforts.
It’s a wonder that entrepreneurs still enjoy greater well-being despite the (governmental) hurdles they face. We should encourage that resilience not stamp it out.