77 Percent of Small Business Owners Love What They Do: Do You?

I remember the first “Sex and the City” movie (sorry, guys—it won’t take long) where Jennifer Hudson, who played Carrie Bradshaw’s assistant, said, “Love is the thing you know.” It stuck with me. When it comes to business, I would add that joy is too.

We spend too many hours a day on the job—whether for someone else or for ourselves—to hate it. (Don’t we?) We need to take joy in what we do if we intend to make it for the long term.

How do you feel about doing your own thing? Some 77 percent of small business owners in the Small Business Happiness Index by Vistaprint are either “very” or “extremely” happy about running a business and working for themselves. (The survey focused on 900 U.S. microbusinesses with one to 10 employees and less than $100,000 in annual revenues–primarily home-based businesses.)

Are you still in love with your business or is the feeling fading? And if it is, what can you do about it?

love job

Just because you love it doesn’t mean it’s not hard work.

Almost half (47 percent) of those surveyed for this index indicated that they are working more hours this year than they did in 2010.  Many of us understand the difference between the job and the business. It is easy to double your workload when you start a small business, both out of necessity and passion. When you have a need, a vision and a love for the business, it is easy to slip into long hours.  And if your heart is really in it, it won’t even seem like work.

But it is work. And there has to be some kind of downtime (lesson learned the hard way). The cool thing about having your own business is that choice to balance is yours.

Just because you love it is no excuse to be sloppy with it.

You know the (scary) business model that has the kind of organization that only you can understand?  You may understand it, but it is still a bit of mess, especially if you are talking about future teamwork.   We still need systems and structure that allows people to help us. Because the day will come when you take that long overdue vacation, and you want the business to improve while you are gone, instead of falling apart.

Just because you love it doesn’t mean your children will too.

It’s the documented systems and structure that make it possible to sell your business one day (should you choose).  That same structure makes it easier to pass it on—should you choose a legacy instead of a sale. Why leave a mess, when you could leave a mission and a system that your children could carry on (or sell) without giving up their own dreams?

Are you happy with your business?


Jamillah Warner Jamillah Warner (Ms.J), a poet with a passion for business, is a Georgia-based writer and speaker and the Marketing Coordinator at Nobuko Solutions. She also provides marketing and communication quick tips in her getCLEAR! MicroNewsletter.

11 Reactions
  1. Hey Jamillah,
    It’s really easy to get caught up in something that you love doing. Thanks for the reminder that running a business is more than just doing what you love.

  2. Thanks Jamillah. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking in this arena lately. I have been fortunate to love what I do — helping small biz owners grow via the web. Even through ups and downs in the economy and in my own cashflow, I’ve always loved it. But creating a business that lasts and makes a lasting impact is something I’m focusing on now. To your last point — whether it is something my children will want or could sell — is where I want to put some energy. I’m grateful for all the learning and inspiration I get here as both an editor and a participant. I learn something from nearly every post and try to apply it to my work on a daily basis.

  3. Jamillah Warner

    You’re welcome Ian.

    TJ, to echo you, I am also “grateful for all the learning and inspiration I get here” regardless of the hat I wear. It’s beautiful (business).

  4. I love being an Entrepreneur and small business owner, I can’t say that I love the specific business I’m doing atm, but regardless I’m doing it until I can turn it.

  5. Yes, I do love blogging or should I say online marketing so much. That I wish and hope to set up a successful marketing business one day.

  6. I gotta say I love working for myself. I never worked so many hours or as hard as I do now, but it’s different when you feel like you are accomplishing something, rather than going to the office to do the same thing over and over again. And while yes, it is work, it’s not a JOB. To me a job is something you have to do, but you don’t want to, in order to earn money. I plan on not having a job for the rest of my life 🙂

  7. I love the part where you said , just because i love my business does not mean my children should, as human we have our likes and dislike, we should not force our business on our children, they should grow up to choose who and what they want to be. Freedom of choice.
    Our children should follow their dream, they shouldn’t give it for our business.

  8. Jamillah

    Good stuff. Normally, I never agree with Carrie but that’s a different story.

    Work doesn’t have to suck!

  9. I have owned my company for 24 years but never worked in it. Now, I have taken a bold step and joined my partners. Words cannot express the joy and elation that I feel. I am used to working long hours and I still do but there is balance. Love it and my daughter does. What can I say – it is a winner!

  10. I have found, over the years helping entrepreneurs that their level of satisfaction, enjoyment, is in direct relation to their “expectations” going into it.

    I wrote an eBook; 50 ugly truths of starting your own business. So those thinking about being entrepreneurs clearly understand what they are getting into. The most frequent (wrong) expectation is the amount they will need to work.

    Great post,
    Mark Allen Roberts

  11. Jamillah Warner

    You said “Words cannot express the joy and elation that I feel.” I’m happy for you @Myrtle.

    Building a business is work. I like the way @O. Bachman said it “I gotta say I love working for myself. I never worked so many hours or as hard as I do now, but it’s different when you feel like you are accomplishing something.”

    @Mark – I read your book and I like Ugly Truth #10 – “Your launch will take 2-3 times longer than you forecasted.” So true. It’s like building a house, the finish date keeps moving…

    And Ugly Truth #29 – “Your kids may not want to be involved in your business.” But our long term strategies can change their future for the better (but that’s a different conversation). Thanks for sharing that.