It’s not surprising the those who run their businesses are happier than full-time employees. It’s been that for years now. Take, for instance, this 2014 survey from Populus that found even though the self-employed work longer hours and earn a fifth less; they’re happier than their full-time counterparts.
More recently, employee engagement company Personal Group found that entrepreneurs in the UK are both happier and more motivated than people who work full-time.
According to the research from the Personal Group, self-employed individuals feel more satisfied with their job. 70% saying that they are happy at work, with more than 80% reporting that they are proud of the work that they do.
Additionally, over 90% of the self-employed respondents stated that they believe they are in a job that is worthwhile, compared to 76% of those who are in a regular 9-to-5 job. Regular employees feel less satisfied with their job, with a measly 48% saying that they are not content
“There is growing evidence of the connection that happy and engaged employees are more productive. Possibly this explains why those who are self-employed seem to be most comfortable.
The UK entrepreneurial and start-up scene is so thriving that these people unsurprisingly tend to feel more invested in the business outcome,” Personal Group Chief Executive, Mark Scanlon.
Why exactly does running your own business drive happiness, motivation, and productivity?
For starters, this happiness seems to be about autonomy. Basically, autonomy is having a job where you at least have some control over your job.
While more businesses are starting to offer this type of independence, running your own business achieves independence. You’re determining when and where you work, as well as are the final decision maker and this helps.
Autonomy, however, is more than just being the head honcho. Studies from all over the world have discovered that independence increases engagement and job satisfaction.
Having control of your circumstances, and your job decreases negative emotions, autonomy even has health benefits. Health benefits have been shown to lead to longevity, like reducing heart disease.
As one freelancer stated in the independent survey sponsored by the Freelancers Union and Upwork;
“I prefer the freedom to choose what sort of work I do without my schedule being controlled and my choices being commanded by someone else. I can express myself and be appreciated for it as well as bring beauty to the world by way of my work. It also is less stressful than an office environment and allows me the time necessary to take care of my farm.”
Besides autonomy and work-life balance, business owners wear multiple hats. Having many different jobs to attend to means that a business owner has a variety of responsibilities which shakes up the daily grind.
One day they’re building their product, the next day they’re pitching it to investors and customers, and another day they’re sending out invoices.
These multi-layered timeframes keep us on how toes and drives us to keep pushing forward. For example, when you just landed a new client, because you sold them on your product or service, you want to do everything you can to make them not regret that decision.
Additionally, since the self-employed have multiple streams of income and have complete control of their future, they have a greater sense of job security. Job security has been a significant concern since the economic meltdown of 2008.
Finally, being self-employed allows you to create an environment that works best for you. At some point, we’ve all had a job where we aren’t motivated because of the drab work environment.
Frequently there’s so much red tape, and you aren’t allowed to spice-up your work area. As a result, most freethinkers and entrepreneurs aren’t happy in these environments. It seems that the most satisfied, motivated, or productive employee. As a business owner, you can create a clutter-free and inspiring workspace.
How Running Your Own Business Drives Happiness, Motivation, And Productivity
Even though business owners are generally more happy, which in turn makes them more productive and motivated. Of course, there will always be days when anyone will struggle with happiness or driving themselves too hard.
You can prevent that from happening to you by:
1. Creating your ideal workplace.
Whether it’s in your kitchen, local coffee shop, home office, or shared cowering workspace, it seems an essential force toward happiness when running your own business is that you can create your ideal workplace.
It may not sound like much, but adding some personal touches, like pictures, plants, embellishments, and being able to do things like listening to music that drives you is a real morale booster.
2. Setting a schedule that works best for you.
Some of us are morning people; others are night owls. And, for parents, we want to be able to spend quality with our family. As the boss, you can set your schedule for when you’re most productive or when it gels with your personal life.
3. Reviewing your goals every morning.
As mentioned in a previous Due post, “Sometimes life gets in the way and distracts us from accomplishing goals or tasks. To stay on track, review your goals when you first wake up in the morning and start working on one of your most important goals and put a plan in place to achieve that one goal.”
4. Being decisive.
Charles Duhigg, author of Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and In Business, says, “Sometimes you need to make a choice. Almost any option that lets you exert control will get you motivated.
“I’m sure you’ve had the experience of opening your inbox and seeing a million emails you need to reply to. How do you trigger the self-motivation to deal with it? Studies show that the best way is just to hit “reply,” “reply,” “reply.”
Fill up your screen with a bunch of replies. Go into each one and make some choice. Type half a sentence in all those emails and then go back and decide if those choices are good. The point is, once you’ve asserted control, it’s a lot easier to fill in the rest of those emails. Getting over that hump is the critical first step.”
5. Being selective with your customers or clients.
The most miserable part of being self-employed is dealing with the customers or clients that make you miserable. The good news is that you can choose who you want to work with and fire the clients that are taking the fun out running your own business.
6. Doing meaningful work.
Ideally, the work that you do is something that you’re passionate about and find meaningful, while also making a living.
7. Developing a support system.
There’s a mentality that just because you run your own business, you have to do everything on your own. That’s not true.
I’ve asked my family to help lend a hand and have hired freelancers to not only lessen my workload. To reduce tasks that I’m not all that crazy about means that I can focus on growing my business. Your support system could also include a mentor who provides advice or a friend who is positive and supportive.
8. Creating systems or workflows.
When a person creates and sticks to an adequate workflow, it saves not only time but also the mental energy required to complete specific jobs. For example, you could develop workflows for onboarding new clients producing quarterly reports and using automation to handle tasks like recurring invoices.
9. Tricking yourself into being happy.
Yes. You can force yourself to be happy by surrounding yourself with happy people, showing gratitude, giving back to the community, celebrating small wins, and smiling – even if you force it.
10. Taking care of your health.
Regular exercise, meditating, healthy eating, and getting quality sleep all to contribute to the energy, endurance, focus, and self-confidence that you’ll need as a business owner. Taking care of your health can also improve your mood and lift your spirits.
11. Saying ‘no.’
Don’t spread yourself too thin. Sometimes you have to say ‘no’ to a new client or taking on a new responsibility.
12. Taking a break.
Give yourself time to enjoy life and recharge your batteries. If not, you’ll run yourself into the ground.
Editor-in-Chief at Calendar. Former Editor-in-Chief and writer at Startup Grind. Freelance editor at Entrepreneur.com. Deanna loves to help build startups, and guide them to discover the business value of their online content and social media marketing.