Yesterday, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor published their annual snapshot on entrepreneurialism around the world. And this year, they had a special focus on the ‘subjective wellbeing’ of entrepreneurs – in other words, how happy they are in comparison to everyone else!
Here are five things we learned about happiness and entrepreneurialism that you could apply in 2014…
1. Be your own boss
Yes that’s right, entrepreneurs are happier than the rest of us. They experience higher levels of job satisfaction than those who are employed, and are happier with their work-life balance.
So if you have a great business idea, but were worried that being self-employed would turn you into a stressed-out workaholic, don’t be. (Well, you’ll be a happy workaholic, anyway.)
2. …especially if you are female….
Female entrepreneurs have relatively higher levels of ‘subjective wellbeing’ than male entrepreneurs. Women are even more likely to have a smile on their face during the early stages of setting up their businesses.
However, there are still fewer women becoming entrepreneurs than men, especially in the Middle East, North Africa and some European countries - where as few as 6% of women are opting to become entrepreneurs. So be bold, ladies, your route to happiness could lie in starting up your own venture.
3. But being an entrepreneur will only make you happy if you want to be one
The report makes the distinction between entrepreneurs who started their own business because they wanted to, and those who had no other option in order to earn an income.
Not surprisingly, the latter were less happy. And of course this also depends on what type of economy you are living in –entrepreneurs in developing economies are less happy than those in developed ones.
But in our experience here at Virgin, the more passionate you are about your idea or business, the more likely you are to succeed – whatever your starting place.
4. …and if you live in a society where entrepreneurs are valued…
The stories your country’s media tells have a big impact on whether you’ll seriously consider taking the leap to becoming an entrepreneur. In Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean for example, running your own business is thought of as being a step in the right direction.
In the European Union however, it is not thought of quite so favourably (we were surprised by this here at Virgin HQ in London!). The GEM surveyed attitudes to entrepreneurs globally, and found that 90% of adult Colombians felt that being an entrepreneur was a good career choice, as compared with just 40% of the Swiss population.
So, help yourself by surrounding yourself with inspiring people and by signing up to sources of positive stories for entrepreneurs.
5. You don’t have to run your own business to be an entrepreneur
Employees acting in entrepreneurial ways within their jobs is increasingly being seen as entrepreneurship because they lead to the development of new ideas, products and services. In other words, you might be an entrepreneur (or intrapreneur) without even realising it!
The UK has the highest reported rates of intrapreneurship in the world.
So if you want to get happy, start being an entrepreneur right now
– think about how you might innovate or pursue an exciting new opportunity in your day job. Think about how you might make a product better, improve customer experience, or make changes in the way that you work to do business better – you will be grinning like a Cheshire cat before you know it!
- Lindsey Crouch