While the media frequently paints a picture of the average small business owner as a stressed-out workaholic, slave to the smartphone and run ragged by the never-ending demands of his or her company, the reality is quite different. According to the first annual Yodle Small Business Sentiment Survey, small business owners are enjoying a pretty decent work-life balance, they’re working reasonable hours, taking vacations and generally loving what they do.
The small business owners survey of businesses with 20 or fewer employees found a whopping 91 percent are happy being small business owners, with 55 percent saying they’re “extremely happy.”
It’s No Wonder: More than half (52 percent) of small business owners say they work 40 hours or less per week, and 72 percent take at least two weeks of vacation annually. In fact, 27 percent take four or more weeks of vacation.
Of course, not everyone in the survey is living that large. About four in 10 (39 percent) work 41 to 60 hours per week. Still, the percentage of respondents who are living up to the stereotype of the crazy-busy entrepreneur is very small. Only 9 percent work more than 60 hours a week, and just 11 percent say they never take a vacation.
That doesn’t mean all is sunshine and rainbows in the world of the entrepreneur. In terms of their personal lives, small business owners’ biggest worries are:
- Being able to afford healthcare (48 percent).
- Putting aside enough money for retirement (46 percent).
- Being able to provide an adequate lifestyle for their family (33 percent).
On a professional level, the top three business concerns keeping small business owners up at night are:
- Finding new customers (42 percent).
- Being able to afford healthcare and other employee benefits (39 percent).
- Retaining current customers (33 percent).
Overall, 59 percent of business owners say they definitely wouldn’t or were unlikely to consider selling their companies in the next few years. One-fourth indicated they “might” sell “if they could get a fair price.”
Do these attitudes jibe with yours?
If not, here are a few suggested changes that could make you change your outlook:
Cut Yourself Some Slack
If you’ve been working day and night thinking that’s just what entrepreneurs do, it’s time to stop. Figure out ways to take time off to recharge your batteries. It doesn’t have to be a month-long sabbatical – even taking an afternoon off now and then can be enough to renew your love of your business.
Start small and build up to a real vacation – you deserve it.
Small business owners have to live with uncertainty, that’s the nature of the beast. You’ll never be able to be 100 percent certain of your income. But then, neither will the average corporate employee, right?
The difference is that you have the ability to take matters into your own hands. Take steps to feel more secure by figuring out how to put money away both for short-term needs (like a sales slump) and for your future. Meet with a financial adviser and talk to your accountant if you haven’t already.
Get Ready for Obamacare
Six in 10 respondents believe the Affordable Care Act’s implementation will have a negative effect on small business. While much of the outcome remains unknown, don’t hide your head in the sand. Start now and investigate insurance exchanges in your state. Talk to your insurance provider and accountant about what changes you’ll need to make, what your options are and how this will affect your business.
By being proactive rather than reactive, you’ll feel more positive about you and your business’s future and your ability to handle whatever life hands you.
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