Nov. 18, 2004--Women small business owners feel overwhelmingly optimistic about their business and financial situations, according to a study released Wednesday.

Ninety-five percent of women small business owners surveyed said they feel successful, according to the new Wells Fargo/Gallup poll. An additional 85% said that if they had the opportunity to do things over again, they would still want to become a small business owner.

Women business owners were also upbeat about their personal finances. Seventy-two percent of women surveyed said their personal finances were either good or excellent, and 62% described them as "getting better." Seventy-five percent predicted they would be financially better off next year, and another 75% said they were better off financially as a small business owner than they would have been working for another company in the same field.

"As women-owned businesses are a vital component of the U.S. economy, it is very exciting to see how confident they are about the success of their businesses," said Rebecca Macieira-Kaufmann, an executive at Wells Fargo. "Their optimism for continued growth is a very positive sign for the advancement of small businesses and the economy."

Survey respondents remained cautious about hiring. Forty percent of business owners surveyed said they are seeing an increase in revenues this year and 60% expect revenues to increase over the next 12 months, yet only 23% expect to increase the number of jobs at their company next year.

According to a recent study from the Center for Women's Business Research, there are an estimated 10.5 million women-owned firms in the United States, accounting for nearly half of all privately held firms nationwide.

"Women business owners have experienced the ups and downs of the economy firsthand, and yet we continue building and growing our businesses," said Hannah Kain, owner and president of ALOM Technologies. "I think many women business owners feel successful because we have balanced smart risk-taking with running a business during very challenging economic times."

The findings are based on a Gallup survey of more than 1,200 women business owners across the country from August 2003 through June 2004.