Are Entrepreneurs Happier Than Employees?

entrepreneurIt’s 9:30 at night and here I am still working. I was invited to go to a party, but had to turn it down because I still have orders to box up and writing that needs to be finished. That’s been happening a lot lately. Glad that there is work, but when you run a business there is always work to be done. It never ends. It made me wonder “Are entrepreneurs happier than employees?”

The other day I was invited to lunch. I can’t even remember the last time I was able to take a real lunch in the middle of the day that wasn’t eaten at my desk. I’m kind of hoping for a little stability right now, so I can take even an hour off and do something, like watch a movie. It’s times like this that I envy my friends that have real jobs. Okay, I don’t envy them too much because they’re sitting in cubicles all day being told what to do. Just a little stability would be nice.

A recent Gallup poll reveals how Americans feel about their jobs and how happy they are with them. 71% of Americans are not engaged in their work. In other words, they are emotionally disconnected from their jobs. This means they’re also more likely to be more unproductive when they are at work.

That’s a total switch from 1987 when the same percentage of people were happy with their jobs. That’s when the Conference Board Research Group started calculating the data.

These days fewer people find their jobs interesting and are therefore less likely to be creative or innovative at work. Many find that there is no sense of teamwork anymore, and that there is more competition among co-workers. That will kind of suck the fun out of the room when you’re always looking over your shoulder to see who’s going to get the axe and who will get the promotion, if anyone.

Also, the fact that more people are being laid off means that the bulk of their work is divided among the ones left standing and that means longer hours. People who still have a job are now worried that they will lose it, and that they won’t be able to find another one.

Hhmm, suddenly I’m not feeling so envious. I wonder if my friends with “real jobs” are envious about mine?

Overall, studies have shown that entrepreneurs are happier than employees, even when they make far less money and work far more hours. Entrepreneurs don’t have to worry about being fired, though they do have other things to worry about, like making sure they have enough work every month to pay the bills. When they don’t work, they don’t get paid. And health insurance is a big expense for the self employed. But they do have more freedom than someone stuck in a cubicle all day.

The non profit organization The National Federation of Independent Business that tracks start ups found that people are happier when they are working a job that they enjoy. That could be an entrepreneur or it could be an employee. There are plusses and minuses with each one.

The thing is, I love what I do. There are times I’ve been paid almost nothing and times I’ve made incredible money. The day I made a $75,000 sale was amazing. For a start-up that’s a LOT of money. Especially when you’re selling a low-end product.

The bottom line is that you have to do something you enjoy doing, whether it’s a regular job or your own business. I don’t know what the figures are, but I’m sure way too many people are stuck in jobs they hate. Jobs they have to do to pay the bills. So, I’m not going to complain about working until midnight. Okay, maybe a little.


  1. John C. Fusi says

    LOL, Julie –

    Welcome to the world of entrepreneurship! If I had and extra hundred bucks for every 90+ hour week I’ve put in since opening my first company in 1987, I’d have enough to send a kid through 4 years at Harvard.

    Let’s just say that there’s more than one reason (I mean, aside from higher earnings on average) why entrepreneurs retire earlier than employees…

    Be well,


    • John – I hear ya’!If you’re going to work those kind of hours you really have to like what you do. The good thing is, whatever you do earn goes in your pocket and not an employer’s.

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