Starting your own business has many satisfactions -- building a legacy, creating wealth, providing a product that makes the world a little bit better. But it's also universally acknowledged that being a business owner is hard. Recent stories here on Inc.com and elsewhere have even delved into the sometimes high psychological costs of starting a business.
Take all this together and it's easy to get the impression that entrepreneurship may be rewarding in the long-term, but can also be pretty misery-inducing day by day. In this view, starting up might give your life meaning, but it's also likely to stress you out.
But the folks at consultancy Emergent Research have good news for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and would-be business owners. As the firm's blog recently laid out, a ton of research belies this common sense understanding. The self-employed actually declare themselves wildly happier at work than those employed at big companies.
A heap of evidence for the entrepreneurship happiness premium
The first piece of evidence cited in the post comes from PwC's Work-life 3.0: Understanding how we'll work next report. "The study covers a lot of ground," Emergent explains, but one factoid jumped out: "Only 27 percent of employees at large companies are happy at work. This is substantially lower than the 43 percent of small business employees who report being happy at work."
That's a pretty grim statistic for big companies, but it's great news for entrepreneurs. And the happy tidings keep coming. "The 2016 MBO Partners State of Independence study reports that 81 percent of independent workers report being happier since they became independent and 60 report report being healthier," the post notes.
What's more, "other studies also consistently report on average the self-employed are more engaged, more satisfied and happier with work than those in traditional jobs,"
Why are entrepreneurs happier?
What's behind this huge gap in happiness between owners and employees? No one who has experienced the two will be shocked by the probable causes: lack of bureaucracy, more autonomy, and greater flexibility among entrepreneurs (i.e,, feeling like an actual adult.)
It's clear many "people are willing to trade off security and a predictable income in exchange for the increased happiness working independent brings," the post concludes.
So if you're worried that the difficulties of doing your own thing will add up to reduced well being, take heart. A stack of studies suggests otherwise. Business ownership is tough, but you're probably happier as an entrepreneur anyway.