According to a new survey from GoDaddy, American small business owners are redefining the American Dream to focus more on personal satisfaction. A comfortable lifestyle, happiness, and the freedom to pursue their interests, rather than traditional markers like home ownership or wealth accumulation, are key success indicators.
The study, which is part of GoDaddy’s ongoing effort to support entrepreneurship, reveals that 74% of U.S. small business owners feel their perception of the American Dream has shifted. The majority of these entrepreneurs equate achievement of the American Dream with living a comfortable lifestyle (56%), feeling happy with their life (54%), and having the freedom to pursue their passions and interests (49%).
While owning a home (45.2%) and being your own boss (38.7%) still hold significant value, these factors have been surpassed by personal and lifestyle considerations. This new vision of the American Dream is markedly different from traditional connotations, which often centered around material wealth and upward mobility.
Being an entrepreneur is still perceived as an important aspect of the American Dream by 39% of small business owners, and this is more common among males (43%) than females (36%). It’s also a sentiment echoed strongly by business owners who identify as Black (46%) and of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (43%). However, entrepreneurship only ranked as a ‘top three’ reason for starting their own business for 6% of respondents.
Despite these shifts in perception, the journey to realize the American Dream is not without its challenges. The survey reveals that a significant 80% of small business owners feel that inflation is currently hindering entrepreneurs striving to achieve their interpretation of the American Dream.
Financial obstacles abound, with 42% of respondents experiencing difficulties in accessing financial capital when starting their business, and 23% being impacted by rising wages and materials costs. Personal wealth, or a lack thereof, is another concern, with 23% of small business owners citing this as a challenge, particularly given that 55% used their personal savings to kickstart their enterprise.
Other barriers to achieving the American Dream include lack of access to technology (33%), affordable healthcare (32%), adequate education (28%), discrimination (28%), and inadequate language or communication skills (24%).
Small Business Deals
The study offers a fresh perspective on small business owners’ evolving expectations and challenges. “This survey data shows that American small business owners are thinking beyond revenue and sales growth when they consider what the American Dream means to them – today it’s more about feeling a sense of belonging, freedom, happiness, and work-life balance,” said GoDaddy Chief Marketing Officer Fara Howard.
Despite the economic obstacles, 62% of American small business owners are confident in achieving their personalized version of the American Dream, with male business owners showing more confidence than females (71% vs. 55%), and Millennials leading the way in terms of generational confidence (66%).
GoDaddy’s study illustrates how the definition of the American Dream is evolving and underlines the company’s commitment to supporting small businesses. As small business owners continue to redefine success, GoDaddy vows to help these entrepreneurs succeed on their own terms. For small business owners, the American Dream is alive but transformed, more closely aligned with personal fulfillment, comfort, and the freedom to pursue a passion.
Image: Envato Elements