The holiday season can be a stressful time for small businesses, but don't forget to take a moment to breathe deep and give thanks for all the perks of being an entrepreneur.
In their first annual Small Business Sentiment Survey, released in August 2013, Yodle found that 91% of small business owners are happy with their decision to become entrepreneurs. Additionally, oDesk recently found that 72% of freelancers still at “regular” jobs want to quit entirely, and 61% say they’re likely to quit within two years. What's with the big push toward self-employment? Well, frankly, it's a wonderful time to be an entrepreneur. Thanks to the power of the internet, small business owners have more opportunity than ever.
We know it can be stressful this time of year, but what better time to take a step back and remind ourselves of everything we have to be grateful for than Thanksgiving? It's hard to narrow it down, but we’ve come up with the top five reasons to be thankful for your entrepreneurship this holiday season.
1. Successful entrepreneurs and the inspiration they provide
From Thomas Edison to Oprah Winfrey, pioneers of entrepreneurship have given inspiration and hope to everyone with a great idea. Without entrepreneurs, we would never have Microsoft, Apple, Dyson, Virgin Airlines, Facebook… this list could go on forever.
It might be easy to feel jealous of their success, but everyone had to start from scratch from some point. All these notable entrepreneurs had to rise above their own individual struggles and setbacks as well. Check out one of our favorite graphics from our Inspiring Entrepreneurs Pinboard; at one point Oprah was deemed "unfit for television" and Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Don't succumb to critics, negativity or temporary failures. Everyone experiences rough patches, even the greats. If they could push through them, so can you.
2. Flexibility and freedom
Entrepreneurs know the true meaning of work hard, play hard. While the self-employed lifestyle can mean lots of late nights, mountains of emails and poring over bank statements, it also means opportunities to get work done on your own time. Anyone running their own business can tell you that a home office often doesn't really look like an office at all – you can update your site from the comfort of your own living room, shoot a quick email while taking the bus or check your latest orders anywhere, anytime on your smartphone.
The flipside of working on your own time? Relaxing on your own time! Being self-employed means you don't have to ask anyone but yourself for the permission to travel or take a weekend off. The aforementioned Yodle study also found that 72% of small business owners take at least two weeks of vacation per year, and 27% take at least four. That's a pretty awesome benefit to balance out all the blood, sweat and tears put into your dream.
3. The abundance of resources available
Speaking of Thomas Edison, that gentleman had a much more challenging entrepreneurial experience than modern inventors and innovators. These days we're practically spoiled by the myriad resources on the internet. Advice, how-tos, design services, social support, business blogs, online storefronts, webinars and more – the sky's the limit with your business thanks to the world wide web. You can sell your product to practically anyone, anywhere, any time. That's a perk beyond Edison's wildest dreams.
4. Support of friends and family
Where would we be without our loyal loved ones? Everyone needs support and human connection regardless of their occupation, but caring companions are especially important to the self-employed. We all know we can hit some rough patches and stressful times, and that's when a hug or word of wisdom from a significant other, dear friend or business mentor can make all the difference in the world.
5. Creating your own sense of accomplishment
Who wants to sit around waiting for their ship to come in? Not you. Entrepreneurs know that they hold the power to make their dreams come true all on their own. While other people are sitting in their cubicles fantasizing about it, you're actually out there in the real world doing it – and it just feels good to get things done yourself. They say that hard work is its own reward, and nobody knows that better than an entrepreneur.
When you're gathered around the dinner table this Thanksgiving, pause for a moment and remember these five points. Entrepreneurs are a very lucky bunch, and it's so exciting to ponder what the future will bring for the small business world – it can only get bigger and better from here. Happy holidays!