October 21, 2014

Is Self-Employment Feasible for You?

Not everyone thinks going into business is a viable career option. But people in some countries think it’s a lot less feasible than their counterparts elsewhere.

The Japanese are particularly pessimistic about their chances of becoming becoming entrepreneurs. A Gallup Organization survey of 26,000 people aged 15 and older in 36 countries reveals that 87 percent of Japanese believe that becoming self-employed in the next five years is not practicable. At the other end of the spectrum are Icelanders, only 44 percent of whom think that going into business for themselves in the next five years is not possible.

What about Americans? While people in this country aren’t among the most pessimistic about their chances, they aren’t among the most optimistic either. The Gallup survey showed that Americans were twelfth of 36 nations in how feasible they think self employment is.

I thought that America was the land of opportunity and entrepreneurship was the American dream? So why don’t more Americans think starting a business in the near future is viable?

Percent Who Think Self-Employment in the Next Five Years is not Feasible:

Source: Created from Data in the Flash Eurobarometer

5 Comments ▼

Scott Shane


Scott Shane Scott Shane is A. Malachi Mixon III, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of nine books, including Fool's Gold: The Truth Behind Angel Investing in America ; Illusions of Entrepreneurship: and The Costly Myths that Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By.

5 Reactions

  1. I find it interesting that while Scandinavians (Finland, Norway, Sweden) are some of the most optimistic, people in the Netherlands and Belgium are some of the most pessimistic. I consistently amazes me how different European cultures are despite their proximity and interaction.

  2. America has been auctioned off to corporate america. Constant lobbying in DC by multi-nationals make it more difficult every year for small businesses to make it. Large companies like more regulation, it stomps out their competititors. Most people dont think they can make a living on thier own anymore. No healthcare and lean credit chokes out the majority and the rest just cant stand the risk. Student loan debt is a huge problem as well. Anyone can start a business but most can not grow it and keep it going.

  3. This data somewhat surprises me, because I hear a lot about Americans starting their own businesses. I’ve been a business owner for nine-and-a-half years, constantly, steadily, slowly growing. I’ve never taken out a loan for my business; I started with what I could afford and grew as the business grew. Yet, at the same time, I can see how people would be hesitant. My husband is pretty unhappy working for the company for which he works, and I suggested, given how quickly the boss is running the company into the ground, that he lay the groundwork for creating his own company. He’s got a good partner in mind, the knowledge, the experience and, between the two of them, the start of a strong customer base. However, he hesitates, citing two reasons: One, he’d have to work longer days than he is now, and two, he’d be locked into this area for at least ten years when neither of us had planned to be here that long. There are advantages and disadvantages to being your own boss, and not everyone is able to deal with the disadvantages. Sure beats sitting around whining about what a corporate job doesn’t provide, though!

  4. I think people try self employment when they are really frustrated by the usual options. Self employment can be very close to a normal full time contract, but can cover other opportunities.

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