”There’s nothing like being your own boss” is a common explanation for why Americans abandon the comforts of a guaranteed paycheck and 9-to-5 hours to start their own enterprises. Nothing makes us cling to security like necessity, especially in difficult financial times.

Despite the tremendous risks involved, there are factors that incentivize people to start a side hustle or leave their jobs to pursue their own dreams. Those include access to capital, tax incentives, and lower fuel costs.

According to business experts, those factors are driving stronger levels of optimism among small business owners. The largest association for small businesses surveyed its members as part of its Optimism Index and found that in December optimism among small business owners increased to 98.1, the highest reading since February of 2007. If the factors above continue, it could lead to a boost in new small businesses this year, which is a stimulator for our economy and the biggest driver of job creation in our nation.

Right now entrepreneurs and small business owners are enjoying greater ease with accessing money to start or grow their business. And thanks to technology, the avenues for funding aren’t just traditional banks and investment firms but micro-lending or crowdsourcing funds from regular people.

Cheaper gas puts more cash in all of our pockets, but for small business energy costs can be a big, fluctuating expense. With the U.S. average for regular gas at $2.19 a gallon, that reduces the cost of starting and operating business from bakeries which deliver to ride-sharing.

Tax incentives for small business may lure potential entrepreneurs out into the unknown, but ObamaCare’s employer mandate may swallow up any savings that tax incentives provide and skyrocket the cost of production or operation on small business.

CNBC reports the experience of one young entrepreneur who took the plunge because the business environment was finally favorable for him to do so:

Nigel Thomas, 38, left his career as a software engineer to soft launch his New York City-based business in November 2014. This year, Thomas plans to expand his company, GoLocker, which allows consumers who don't live in buildings with doormen to use lockers to intercept packages, so they don't have to wait around for delivery.

Access to capital

Thomas so far has two sets of lockers in bodegas in Brooklyn, and plans to open three more locations in the first quarter of this year. Tax credits were a key part of why Thomas decided to take the entrepreneurial plunge.

Despite an improved employment outlook, some entrepreneurs including Thomas can't resist the allure of incentives and the chance to be their own bosses.

"It's difficult to sit behind a desk and not be able to use your creative side," Thomas said. "But if you're a real entrepreneur, you will never be truly happy working for someone else."

Personal stories like this remind us that government plays an extremely important role in whether people are willing and able to take the risks involved with entrepreneurship and protecting innovation.

Tax incentives and lower taxes create a (small) business-friendly environment that helps to mitigate some of the financial risks involved with starting your own endeavor.

Scaling back regulations –though not mentioned here – also plays a role. Too often government is on the wrong side of innovation, looking to control and stifle it rather than encourage it. When small businesses (online or offline) present new choice of products or services for customers, we should allow competition in the marketplace. Those generating the most value will win out. However, as we’ve seen government can be short-sighted, non-sensical, and slow to adapt to change. An eight-year-old girl's he cupcake business was shut down last year because of silly regulations. More egregiously, we've seen affronts to ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber as entrenched taxicab interests use government as a pawn to secure their market dominance.

GoLocker featured in the article above is a novel idea that fills a need in New York and other areas. Let’s hope it doesn’t get some local or federal regulator knocking on its door to shut them door with a cease and desist letter.

Finally, let’s not forget that one of the biggest determents or terminating factors is rising labor costs. ObamaCare’s employer mandate and increased minimum wages make workers more expensive and less valuable. They also cause companies to shut down. Charlotte blogged on a very sad case recently.

2015 can be the year of the entrepreneur as long as government does what it can to encourage small business ownership and not stifle innovation or price it out of viability because of increased regulations and higher costs (think ObamaCare's employer mandate and increased minimum wages).