Are Entrepreneurs Happier Than Employees?

Are Entrepreneurs Happier Than Employees?

Ever wondered if the stress of being an entrepreneur or a freelancer ultimately equated to being happier by being your own boss? Are entrepreneurs happier than salaried employees?

Research says the answer is a unanimous YES.

Even if working for yourself comes with an enormous amount of unpredictability, it ultimately does impact your satisfaction levels resulting in a generally happier work life.

Why is it that entrepreneurs and self-employed people are indeed notably happier than most wage-earning employees?

We’ll take a look at some of the reasons why.

It’s Hard Work, But The Outcomes Are Worth It

According to the Journal of Business Venturing, entrepreneurship is a “roller coaster ride with valleys of adversity, unforeseen challenges and even failure. Entrepreneurs face extreme working conditions, with higher uncertainty, job insecurity, and extended work hours. Not to mention role ambiguity and intense time-pressure.”

Sounds difficult on the surface. However, the positives still outweigh the negatives overall because of three psychological outcomes that attributes to the higher perception of well-being.

Purposeful Engagement

When you make a purposeful engagement with your work life, the satisfaction of having no constraints, rules, or procedures dictated by someone else is freeing. It allows you to pursue objectives meaningful to you. And that has a high impact on your happiness. It allows the individual to follow their bliss. Improving their work/life balance even if it means longer hours. The purpose strengthens the resolve to work harder when necessary so you can enjoy the rewards in full in good time.

Greater Use of Talent

When you choose to work for yourself you play to your personal strengths. Whatever sector, business or industry you decide to get involved with as a start-up or freelancer it will be something you know you are good at and enjoy doing. 

This is a powerful, cognisant choice to do something you love. And we all know what that means. “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Pursuing a calling feels less like work or a mundane job. It feels more a part of your everyday life for the greater good.


When a business lives and dies by your input, your contributions, your efforts, blood, sweat and tears as you cultivate it, you become highly resilient. The roller coaster that coexists alongside your ambition is one that you are highly attuned to. And you do everything to protect and nurture it. 

Wages Aren’t Everything

Most people think that it’s all about the money. And to some degree, it is – most of us don’t work or start a business to lose it! It can often be the case that as entrepreneurs we earn less than we could with a set salary as an employee.

Broadly speaking, entrepreneurs measure success by earnings, happiness, and the autonomy that comes with being your own boss. They are in control but know when to seek help and outsource once they reach a certain point that they can’t do it all as a Jack-of-All-Trades. 

The benefit of working for yourself lies in autonomy and decision making. Being totally up to you and what works best for you. Your working hours, location, and deciding how, when, and with whom to work are in your hands. 

What is also really important is ensuring that you make time to be off. And truly off the radar in a work sense. Downtime and recovery from intense work periods are essential for staying creative and reducing mental strain. Being ‘on’ 24/7 is a surefire way to burn out even if initially, you burn brightly. Being your own boss allows you the flexibility of scheduling that time in a frame that works for you.

Final Thoughts

Entrepreneurs and freelancers still have some menial tasks that might be repetitive or boring. Especially at the start of the journey. But the overall feeling is that these tasks are less laborious because we attribute more meaning to them and the final outcome.

Even though entrepreneurs may be happier with their work lives statistically it doesn’t mean that we are all suited to becoming one either. You can be a salaried employee and have job satisfaction if you find ways to incorporate meaningfulness in your workplace. Or find a workplace that is better suited to your purpose and flow.

Since the pandemic started there has been a huge rise in the number of people leaving the traditional workforce and working for themselves. And people are now working more autonomously from home at hours that improve their work/life balance.

Getting these components of our work-life is key to our happiness. Whether we choose to work for ourselves with an entrepreneurial spirit or earn a wage as an employee. 

Today, the options have never been so broadly attainable.